02:09:28 Mystery of the Hooded Oolwooloolians
"No, I don't mind, and no I'm not complaining" Roger said as he stepped from the back of the van, "It just seems a bit routine. Quite refreshing, really"
"So what's going on here?" Carla asked.
"A couple of Oolwooloolians set up shop in this abandoned amusement park." Rhino stated. "They're running an unlicensed scale polish plant. The stuff is strictly low quality and apparently gives Zarpazi a heck of a rash."
"Ah, so in other words, the Jelvans don't get their cheese rush." Phil added as she checked her backup equipment. "Nothing like making sure that the funding stays in the black."
Rhino looked a bit uncomfortable. The Galactic Customs were funded by all of the allied races, and a few unallied as well, but the Jelvans were the number one financier. "In a nutshell, but we just need to shut them down anyway. Last thing we need is for some wino to spot them and have this place crawling with reporters. Oh, and Phil? Leave the heavy artillery until we determine we need it? Oolwooloolians aren't the violently aggressive type."
Phil stood her ground and cocked an eyebrow. "You've never been to one of their 'Once-In-A-Lifetime Super Sales Events' have you?"
"Phil?" In something vaguely resembling a question, Rhino conveyed a great deal of meaning. Phil simply turned and stored most of the larger guns into the van. She returned unarmed. Well, she still wore her sidearms and a few micro stun grenades a bandolier containing a host of munitions, a garrote and three pairs of brass knuckles clipped to her belt, but that was probably the closest Phil would ever get to being 'unarmed'.
"Right, let's go ruin some Oolwooloolians' day, shall we?" Rhino stated. "Roger, call Jack and let him know we're at the site. Carla and I will scout ahead."
A few moments later, Roger and Phil headed toward the old Funhouse, where the Oolwooloolian operation was supposedly.
About half way across the parking lot, another garishly painted van pulled up next to Roger. The window cranked down and the driver, a blond teenager with far too many perfect teeth leaned out and asked, "Excuse me, sir?"
Roger stopped and looked at the teen in an annoyed fashion. "Yes?"
A few moments later, the two groups were back together.
"Sorry we're late, we had to run a bit of interference with some kids in a van." Phil said in a semi annoyed manner.
"So, what did they want?" Carla asked.
"Hm? Oh, the brats in the van? Apparently there's some sort of post adolescent mating ritual going on nearby and they were looking for directions to the debauchery. I told them that it was past their bedtimes and that their parents would be upset to know that they were driving around looking to party on a school night."
Carla winced a bit. "That was a bit harsh, don't you think?"
"Hmm, you're right, I should have been rude as well. Less chance of them poking about looking for anyone more helpful."
"Well, you're just in time. Roger." Rhino waved to the door. "If you'd be so kind."
Phil continued to monitor a scanner looking for anything that might be explosive or otherwise overly harmful to Roger. She nodded, "It's clear."
Roger simply crossed his arms and scowled at Phil.
"What?" Phil asked. "Oh fer' Maker's.. " turned the display around to let Roger inspect it for himself. "See? It really, honestly, is clear this time. The two Oolwooloolians' are in the back working on the mixing vat, there, see?"
Roger continued to carefully study the read out until he was satisfied that it was safe to enter.
"Besides your body took most of the weight of the falling safe, and you grew back to your normal height the next day" Phil mumbled under her breath.
Roger shot her an icy glare conveying that the experience, although survivable, was not entirely pleasant.
Well, for Roger at least.
Roger knocked twice, and then politely waited. The door creaked open slightly and inside peeked a rather rodent like pair of eyes.
Roger smiled broadly. "Good evening!"
"Good evening." The occupant squeaked. "Can I help you?"
"Well, yes I suppose you may. I'd ask that you and your associate place your appendages in a visible location while we seize and dismantle your equipment. " Roger then mimicked pressing a button, "Ding dong, Galactic Customs Calling." He smiled again, in a rather brutal manner.
The beady eyes stopped being quite as beady, as the door slammed shut. Rhino kicked it open a millisecond later and the GC Agents stormed inside. Within seconds they had detained the two Oolwooloolians and began to survey the operations.
"Uhm, Roger? Remember those kids you talked to earlier?" Carla said as she looked out the door.
"You should have been ruder."
"I'll handle it this time." Rhino said as he headed out the door.
"Ok, that was weird." Rhino mumbled as he walked through the back door.
"What was weird" Phil asked as she disconnected the power couplings.
"I caught up to Roger's friends and told them that I was an official and that we were investigating some activities here. Turns out that the old groundskeeper must have seen the Oolwooloolians and told the kids about them. Next thing you know the blonde guy and his girlfriend are talking about solving a mystery while the stoner kid keeps looking for food." He stood thinking about what he just said and shook his head. "Phil? How much longer before we can wrap up here?"
"Probably about thirty minutes or so."
"Hmm, well better go put the Oolwooloolians into the truck so that there's less chance of them being.."
"Carla? What do you mean, 'Uh-oh?'"
"The Oolwooloolians aren't in the closet we put them in."
"Perfect. Fan out and find them!" Rhino barked.
Roger picked a few items up off the floor. "Well, they're not going to get very far without their translators. I wonder if they noticed they dropped them?"
Well, I'd say that was certainly a bit of good luck, what, oOOolOollloo?
I dare say so, OOOooollooloooo-old bean. Finding that loose board in the wall was most fortunate.
Quite, yet I can only presume that the GC agents will soon notice our departure.
I fear we must be most expedious. Hello? Look, some of the indigenous have some form of ground transport! Do you think that they would be inclined to offer us a lift?
Well, possibly, however I'd remind you that this is a primative world, and quite the far cry from UWUlluwooUuwuooLLwUllOOuuw, we should take some precautions not to frighten them off with our appearance.
How do you suppose we do that?
I'm not quite certain, myself, but perhaps these sheets might be of use.
And what do you suppose we do with them?
Simply drape ourselves my dear OOOooollooloooo, and tell the locals that we are merely wandering religious seeking our temple.
Splendid idea oOOolOollloo! How do I look?
Suitably, sanctimonious, I presume.
Ah here comes one of them now. I say, excuse me, but we're two religious How rude! She simply ran off.
And what was that odd chattering? I could barely understand what she said.
I'm not quite certain oOOolOolloo, but I believe that religious figures must be called 'jinkies' on this planet.
What a strange term, OOOooollooloooo. Perhaps we'll have better luck with this other group.
"Any luck spotting them?" Roger grumbled to Phil.
"No" Phil sniped back. "The only thing I saw was one of the kids and his big dog eating some hotdogs they found in one of the old restaurants."
Roger glanced at the state of the decrepit buildings that surrounded them. "Those have got to be what, ten years old?"
Phil tried to put that thought out of her mind, "I'd say closer to twenty, but yes. I'm guessing that chemically induced munchies probably helped in the flavor department. I told them to get out of the park. They ran away."
"You.. you didn't shoot them did you?"
Phil looked away somewhat innocently, "No.. I didn't shoot *them*.. "
Roger didn't want to ask. He figured the less he knew, the less likely he'd be called in by the prosecution.
"So, what are our options then? Continue to storm about the place looking for two aliens on the lamb? Are we even certain that they're still in the park?"
"The good thing is that Oolwooloolians don't wander too far from their base. Plus, I'm sure they're trying to figure out some way to get back their equipment."
"Well, tromping about here isn't going to flush them out. If we were a couple of Oolwooloolians trying to get away from the GC, what would we do?"
"We'd need something to haul out the equipment, for one."
"True, but we've got the only truck."
"But not the only van." Phil reminded.
Roger scowled. "Fantastic. And here I've been yelling at those lousy kids the entire time. For all I know the Oolwooloolians have been playing nice and they're hiding them"
"We don't know that for sure, and Jack wouldn't let me just go beat it out of them, we need some other plan." Phil simply scowled at the rack of dusty stuffed toys. She just knew that the large bear would be perfect as a fulcrum to pop out a kneecap. Maybe two if the stuffing was still firm enough
Roger didn't answer. Instead a smile slowly spread across his face as an idea took shape.
"And if you two behave, we'll stop for oxygen on the way." Carla said to the two rather cramped Oolwooloolians that now shared a well checked holding cabinet inside of the GC van. Two sets of eyes looked rather pathetically at her as she quickly closed the door with a satisfying klunk. She smirked, then caught herself.
She had been hanging around Roger too long.
Still, she checked the handle and the lock before she stepped out of the van.
"They all set in there?" Rhino asked.
"Yeah, that should keep them. They'll be ok in there, mostly. Now if we can find the other two we can get out of here." Rhino keyed his radio. "Roger? Phil? We got 'em. Stop playing Whack-a-mole, it's time to go."
The response from the radio was not what Rhino or Carla really expected.
It was Phil and Roger screaming.
"Rollercoaster?" Carla asked, hopefully.
"That or the Whack-a-mole decided to fight back. Let's go."
Rhino and Carla ran back into the park.
Jack sat staring at the collected reports. He massaged the bridge of his nose trying to piece together all of the details. "Ok, so what happened next?"
Roger and Phil exchanged somewhat embarrassed glances. "Well," Roger started, "once the rollercoaster car started moving, we couldn't raise the bar again, Phil tried, but.."
"But I couldn't get a decent angle on it" Phil quickly countered.
"And that's when the netting fell on you two?" Jack asked.
"No, that was after the paint." Roger clarified. "Fortunately, the sheets we had on caught most of that."
"It was really unnecessary." Phil added.
"So where did the tires come from?"
"I'm not sure, but they were dropped onto us right near the end."
"And that's when the four kids showed up?"
"Yes sir." Roger and Phil echoed.
Jack flicked both of them a withering glance. "So, then what happened?"
"That's when Rhino and Carla showed up asking what was going on." Phil reported. "The blonde child assumed Rhino was an officer and reported what he believed to be happening."
"And that would be?.."
Rhino filled in the details, "They assumed that what was going on in the park was being sold off for it's real estate and that the two ghosts that were in the park were simply trying to scare off potential investors."
Roger shifted in his seat a bit, "Apparently the Oolwooloolians had the same idea I did about impersonating religious figures."
"I see." Jack said flatly, "go on."
Rhino did. "Once they finished their guesswork, they unmasked the 'ghosts'. Honestly the funniest thing was the fact that they had no idea who either Phil or Roger were, but they acted like they did that sort of thing all the time."
"What did they say?"
Carla grimaced and said, "Well, it was sort of 'It's the Angry Guy from the Parking Lot and the Woman Who Threatened to Stuff us into a Hotdog Steamer'. I think the red-headed girl added 'sort-of' but that was the gist of it."
"I see." Jack repeated the tone as well.
"I congratulated them on doing a fine job," Rhino concluded, "and then they said they were going out for milk and crackers."
"Milk and crackers?"
"Yep. I think the dog said 'Ro-boy!' or something. But it might have just been barking."
Jack stared at the reports again for several long, painfully quiet minutes before he looked up. "What about the Oolwooloolians?"
"They're in the holding cell until the Zarpazi police show up."
"And none of their operations were spotted?"
"No sir, I'm pretty sure that the kids would have figured some way to bring that in too if they had."
Jack shuffled the reports together and slid them into a large envelope. "I'll write up the official report later. I'm not going to mention anything other than the mission was successful."
A collective sigh filled the room. Jack quickly held up a finger, " but, you all are going to run ops drills for the next two weeks, understand?"
A collective groan replaced the sigh. Jack held his ground.
The collected members of Galactic Customs filed out of Jack's office. As the door closed, Jack leaned back into his chair and smiled. His group had it easier. He had to suffer through a girl group that dressed like cats and kept singing bubblegum pop tunes as they chased after one of his nemeses.