Welcome to the ninteenth installment of  -


(Winner of 31 UKE Awards)

Please send all comments to PepeK62@gmail.com  or  looneyk@earthlink.net

The following story concerns the Toonsters' freshman year of Acme Looniversity at college level. This tale of mystery and adventure is best read from the beginning - the other parts are available at HKUriah's TTA Fanfic site, among others. I suggest you read it from the start or youll not know what is transpiring.

All characters portrayed that are not based on those owned by Warner Brothers, Amblin, MGM, Tezuka, Mitsuteru Yokoyama, Disney are created and owned by the author. Andy Fox is courtesy of his player.

This tale is rated PG-13. This story contains many references to music, some of which you may be familiar with. It contains and was inspired by the music of Danny Elfman's film soundtracks. In order to enhance this experience, I've made notations as to where each specific piece of music fits into the story. If it's available to you, I'd  *strongly* suggest getting the CD or cassette tape, so that you'll not only read the story, but hear it happen as well. All the music is available on CD. Most is from Danny Elfman's Original Motion Picture Soundtracks:



THE HULK (B0000633-02), “PLANET OF THE APES” (SK 89666),

William Stromberg's original motion picture soundtrack of
"TRINITY AND BEYOND" (The Atomic Bomb Movie)

http://www.vce.com/trinity.html,The Planets” by Gustav Holst, (Telarc.CD.80133) and the film soundtrack of the original “KING KONG” by Max Steiner (R2 75597)

I'd like to thank HKUriah, Thorne, Peter Bunny, Dennis Smith and Danny Elfman.

            This story is dedicated to my Beloved Wife.

For the late great Jerry Orbach and the one and only Johnny Carson
                        - and James Dohann

For my late two dear friends from my production of “The Dresser and many other shows....Peter Potter  and Jane Monseratte...both actors are gone now…
                        ...and for John Breen (1924 – 2005)

All historical data of the years 1861-1862 contained herein is based on authenticated facts.

And now - Part 19 of -


                        A Time for War

Chapter CVIII


Acme Acres was bathed in blue and violet as the last rays of the sun reached over the horizon. Gentle puffs of wind blew the green grass in waves across the lawn behind Doctor Lord’s mansion. Two tiny brown sparrows hopped and pecked about on the ground at the foot of the great black obsidian dragon - the evil-looking statute seeming to glare balefully down at them. Their heads popped up as they nervously ceased their movements – then they were flying away as fast as their wings could carry them…as the sky suddenly darkened – then turned pitch black.

The wind blew icy cold as the white time tunnel exploded out of the darkness, bathing the surroundings with a momentary blindness. Fourteen figures were deposited onto the grass that was blustered about by the maelstrom.

During the trip back, Fifi and Doctor Lord had wisely relinquished their embrace and now stood apart from each other, but the damage had been done.

Hamton hung his head sadly and stood still as a stone. He sniffed his tears back hard and ate his pain. It was a bitter pill to swallow. He remained silent with his eyes shut tight, fighting not to sob out loud. He was sure he’d heard Fifi tell Lord that she loved him and that they might have kissed each other. Everyone else had reappeared in front of him and stood listening to Lord, so no one saw his anguished look of defeat.

Some of the Toonsters flopped down into the cool grass to relax as the time tunnel whirled away into the heavens like a white tornado.  With a sudden look of tearful relief, Fowlmouth ran to Mary Melody’s side and the two embraced each other. In a rare silent moment of shyness, Babs Bunny cautiously reached for Buster’s hand, unsure if he’d accept it. Buster raised a sly eyebrow, but he took her hand and wrapped her in his arms.

“Phew! I never thought I’d be so glad be on dry land again! I never wanna

go through another storm at sea in my life ever again!” said Plucky as he kissed the ground.

Doctor Lord’s silver and black fur reflected the indigo-colored twilight as he stood stock-still in thought. His mind seemed distant as he spoke.

“I’m sorry Plucky, but I’m afraid you’ll have to… he said slowly, his soft unidentifiable accent making him sound almost Germanic.

“Ach! You mean ve’ll haf to go through all dat again?!” Arnold exclaimed.

Everyone but Hamton looked up at Lord with worry. He nodded reluctantly and continued, his serious baritone voice seeming even deeper than usual with stress.

“On the night the ship is supposed to go down, there will be a storm that’s even worse. But I promise that it won’t last for days like this last time.”

As the Toonsters looked at each other, the tall skunk turned away to face the fading rays of the sun and looked at the horizon, his hands clasped behind him.  The others watched uncertainly as the tall skunk became a black silhouette against the sky, with only the jagged triple silver stripes of his tail showing against the deepening blue of the night. The silence was deafening.

Was he about to reveal something, wondered Fifi?

“…You all did well today”, said Lord, “ You saved the ship by fighting the elements…Tomorrow we shall fight men…perhaps even each other. I don’t need to tell you that it will be even more difficult.  Rest assured that I will *make certain* -that everyone comes back alive. Tomorrow morning we’ll have another debriefing and… a long day, so get as much rest as you can and leave the worrying to me. Now I’m sure you’re all very hungry, so I’ve made reservations at Taz’s Diner just around the corner for you all. Have anything you like – it’s on me. Good night.”

With that, the Doctor slowly walked off, seemingly disconnected from the presence of his students.

As the Toonsters’ confusion grew, Shirley’s eyes shifted and she abruptly announced:” Yay! Like free food! I’m starved! Let’s go!”

Some of the group shrugged and began to follow her toward the streets, but Buster and Babs lagged behind, uncertain what to make of Lord’s dismissal.

“Comes back alive?” muttered the blue bunny with trepidation.

Shirley thought quickly and seized an opportunity. “Hey lookit!  Isn’t that Julie Bruin over there?”

The distraction paid off as Babs tugged her fiancée away to meet the bouncy bear who happened to be pulling up outside their appointed eatery just across the street at the corner.

Arnold watched the others bound away happily to eat with Julie and sighed to himself, resigned to the fact that he wasn’t fully “in” with the Toonsters

…until he felt a tug at his elbow.

Furball stood there looking up at him with a smile on his face and a sign in his paw: “You coming?” The blue cat simply flipped the sign around to show the side that said: “Pal?”  Furball’s inviting grin was met by a friendly paw on his shoulder as Arnold smiled under his sunglasses and the two walked off the field together to follow the others as they scattered.

 (Trinity & Beyond) #14 “Boosting with Tritium”

The three remaining figures stood like statues. Fifi was watching Lord, who was listening with his back turned till the others were gone. Hamton remained silently shadowing them, his mind boiling between blind rage and suicidal defeat. The silence was terrible as the skunks waited, unaware of him.

            At length, the ancient being’s head sagged as he put his hand to his forehead and closed his eyes in pain and exhaustion and began to lean to one side. Fifi reached up to help him as he began to lurch toward his front door.

As they slowly walked away without looking back, Hamton fought his bitter impulses to go after them. His hands balled up into white-knuckled, trembling fists of fury, his lips curled in rage. His chest was tight as he took a step toward them –  then a look of desperate confusion overtook his tear-filled eyes - and the utter futility of it all stopped him. As Lord placed a hand on Fifi’s shoulder to steady himself, Hamton turned and walked away. As they went toward the mansion, the jealous pig went in the opposite direction, widening the distance between himself and them.  He stomped through the junkyard and was suddenly faced with Fifi’s pink Cadillac. Through the windows he saw the red back seat and drew back an enraged fist to smash their love nest! His mind was suddenly flooded with images and feelings of all the joys they had known there – and again he stopped himself. In defeat, Hamton gently collapsed against it - his fist weakly hitting the window in a half-hearted gesture. Sobbing silently through gritted teeth, he ran away toward home.

“Thank you for saving me again, Petite” said Lord quietly as Fifi took him home.

Zank you pour saveeng us *both* again, Grande`” she replied.

Her grandfather smiled at the joke and nodded, “We’ll always take care of each other – that’s what families do.”

As the little skunk and the big one turned at the door, they noticed one Toonster still remaining – Wakko Warner stood over by the front gate. Waiting quietly outside it were his brother and sister, strangely quiescent and looking somber.

“Doc? Can we talk tuh you?” asked Wakko longingly.

Lord and the Warners looked uneasily at each other a moment before Dot spoke up.

“…We want to apologize” she said softly, her black eyes shining.

The tall skunk stood still looking at the trio. He cocked his head slightly to one side, sighed and rubbed his eye.

“No foolin’?” he asked doubtfully.

“No foolin’”, said Yakko thoughtfully, “We …uuuuuhI’m sorry.”

Lord looked at them with the trace of a smile and asked again, “No crossies count?”

The Warners all showed him their open hands and looked up at him. Fifi could hardly believe it, but the notoriously wild threesome were as meek as lambs.

“C’mon in” the Doctor said kindly and Fifi and the Warners followed him into the mansion though the gates.

The front doors of the house were suddenly thrown open as an alarmed Andy Fox burst out, startling all but Lord.

“What happened? You almost missed getting back!”, demanded the fox, ”What went wrong?”

 (Edward Scissorhands #2 “Storytime”)

Feeling somewhat guilty, Fifi almost spoke up, but the Doctor squeezed her paw.

“I did”, Lord admitted, looking into the fox’s green eyes, “I went wrong.”

The others stood in astonishment as he continued, “I’ve made a number of mistakes… and it’s time I did something about them. Please follow me.”

Quietly, they entered and followed their subdued host down the long dark hallway, the flickering flames from the gas lamps reflecting on the ancient black oak paneling.  Without looking, Lord reached out a long arm, his black clawed hand gesturing. His silken cape flew into his hand and he pulled it around his shoulders as he continued. The others paused a moment, but he walked onward.

As their footsteps echoed on the polished hardwood floors, Fifi noticed the ancient oil paintings and began to see glimpses of Lord’s past. There was Alexander the Great’s victory over the Persian Army, Julius Caesar’s triumphal march into Rome, returning from the defeat of Gaul. There were masterful paintings of Viking long ships and the Knights Templars, but the picture that struck her most was that of a ancient primitive village with a family of five eating supper inside a thatched hut. She noticed the parents and children were talking and laughing as they ate – but the oldest son just sat, smiling in silence at the others. His was the face of Kirrik.

The toons followed Lord to a blank space between the portraits. The Warners stood solemnly as he raised his hands and folded them before the entrance. This time everyone bowed their heads, as they knew they were entering the tomb of a lost loved one. Lord’s reflective eyes closed and the heavy stone door slid aside, revealing the chapel that had once been a Victorian parlor. The gas lamps within slowly flared to life, their soft hiss becoming the only sound in the dark green chamber.

Before a beautifully carved wooden cross that hung on the wall, stood the exquisite statue of Red Hot. Lord kissed the figure’s hand and spoke to it.

“We’ve been busy today, my sweet. Here are some friends who’ve come to see you.”

The Warner trio looked quietly at the painted face of the statue. Uneasily, they approached the white marble pedestal with lowered eyes. Dot and Yakko knelt down, but Wakko stood with misty eyes, looking up at Red. He leaned in and put his arms around her waist and hugged the monument.  As a sniffle escaped him, Lord put a comforting hand on his shoulder. Wakko turned and hugged him, his eyes shut tight.

They all regarded him with a look of need. Lord understood and walked to one of the many framed pictures on the wall. He swung it aside, revealing an old wall safe. From inside it, he withdrew a dusty yellowed  envelope, sealed with antique wax. His black claws slit it open and produced a tiny jeweled key. He held the minute sliver of metal between two fingers and looked at them again questioningly, but their faces remained unchanged. The old being sighed and placed the key into a tiny keyhole on one side of the statute’s back.  The others moved in curiously as the statute’s seal was broken and a nearly seamless door in the figurine’s back was slightly opened. Then Lord withdrew and walked to a gilded green chaise lounge on the other side. There he sat, facing away, his cape draping to the floor.

“Go ahead”, he said, “…look.”

Fifi and the Warners looked at each other nervously, so the Fox reached out – and slowly drew the door open. Dot almost hid her eyes.

Within the statute was a layer of clear crystal and filling the inside was a translucent liquid that looked like vegetable oil. Yakko fearfully stepped away backward  and his awkward thump of a footstep made the statue shift, causing a slight trace of red paint to waft briefly in the oil before settling back into the depths of Red Hot’s entombing statue.

The toons looked in silence. Dot lowered her eyes and sat sadly down where she was. Yakko’s face was ashen. His mouth agape, he stared, not wanting to believe his eyes. Wakko hesitantly reached out a hand – and touched the crystalline surface, then he turned and walked away to the wall.

“The ink and paint have separated”, thought the Fox to himself,” The pigments have settled.”

“So zat’s what happenz to real toons if zey die” thought Fifi, remembering that her parents had not melted away when they had perished.

Yakko slowly reached out a gloved hand and gently closed the little door.

The lock clicked and he sat down with Dot in silent shock.

After swallowing uncomfortably in thought, Yakko shook his head and said “…I…can’t think of anything to say…I’m sorry.”

“Don’t blame yourself,” the Doctor told him, still facing away, “You weren’t the first to ask… I knew that when we returned there’d have to be explanations. I’d only told Daffy that morning…the only others who knew… are dead now.”

Dot looked towards Lord, her usual cute pout turned to genuine sorrow.

“We shouldn’t have pushed you…Everybody knows you don’t talk about
… things.”

“You couldn’t have known. I took great steps to make sure that no one would find out…She wanted it that way”, said Lord, turning to face them, “She wanted to be remembered as she was – not as an icon of tragedy. If anyone should apologize, it should be me…I should have foreseen…”

“I remember this,” Wakko said from the other side of the room, “This was hers, wasn’t it?” indicating the grand piano he now stood next to, “Red gave me piano lessons on it.”

As reverently as an acolyte lighting candles on a church’s alter, Wakko opened the piano’s keyboard cover and sat on the polished hardwood piano bench before the black and white ivory keys. He opened the old song book on the piano’s cherry music rack and tested the pedals, the old felt dampers making a soft ‘foomp’ on the strings.

“I still dunno what to say…” his brother sighed.

“There’s only one way to talk directly to the soul Wakko replied, looking to the Doctor for permission.

Lord looked up briefly and nodded, then his eyes turned away, unfocused.

Wakko closed his eyes in a silent moment of somber reflection as he always did before playing, then his gloves touched the keys. Softly, he began to play a beautiful old familiar melody. Everyone recognized it as they listened to Wakko make the piano sing, the house ringing with delicate elegant solace.  

Fifi went to stand behind Wakko as Lord arose and walked towards the door.

 “That was the last song Stephen Foster ever wrote, before he died in penury”, the Doctor whispered in an odd way, “ I’ll be back in a second.”

Lord quietly slipped out of the door and the fox followed as Fifi looked closely at the lyrics to the song. Dropping her accent, she began to sing soulfully as Wakko played.

“Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me.

Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;

Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,

Lull'd by the moonlight, have all pass'd away!

Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,

List while I woo thee with soft melody;

Gone are the cares of life's busy throng.

Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!”

As the haunting song filled the air, Yakko could only look at the statute’s frozen painted smile as great tears welled up in his shining eyes.

Dot put a sympathetic arm around her brother’s shoulder as they stood together, listening.

“Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea.

Mermaids are chanting the wild loreliee;

Over the streamlet vapors are borne,

Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn,

Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,

E'en as the morn' on the streamlet and sea;

Then will all clouds of sorrow depart,

Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me…”

Doctor Lord walked swiftly down the hall with a purpose, his great strides making the shorter Fox scamper after him.

“What’s wrong? What are you doing?!” Andy called after him urgently.

“Stay here!” Lord told him firmly as he marched out the front door without looking back.

The red fox was stopped by this in a moment of indecision, but then he continued to follow.

“I will not stay here!” he shouted defiantly as he pursued Lord out the door,

“I want to know - …where you’ve …gone…?”

His voice died in his throat – for there was no trace of the giant skunk anywhere. The street lamps shone on an empty road in total silence. It was as if he had disappeared. Puzzled, the fox walked cautiously out onto the stone walkway, looking. All he heard was the sound of crickets chirping their nightly song. With a sigh of resignation, he turned back towards the mansion.

Seventy feet directly above him, Doctor Lord hovered in silence in mid-air, his tremendous cape flaring behind him in the wind.

“He’s intelligent – but not experienced”, thought Lord looking down,” Patterns indicate… two-dimensional thinking.”

Turning, the dark figure glided stealthily off into the night sky.

(Trinity & Beyond, #15, “The George Device”

Below on the ground, the vulpine scientist sighed and was about to return inside when he heard a rumble of thunder.  A cold wind ruffled his fur and a very peculiar feeling shivered through him.  Strange sustained music reached his mind and the Fox spun around in realization and shock – the next moment he was running at top speed across the lawn around the mansion!  The heavy smell of the grassy field pumped through his lungs as he ran into the darkness – but he was too late!

Barely discernable in the night sky was the figure of Lord, hanging in mid-air at a hundred feet above the field. His cape blew and billowed as the thunderstorm and the ominous music grew around him.  His arms were outstretched and his silver-striped tail hung straight down below his cape.  Lightning struck the ground near the black dragon statute with a terrible crash and the shock jolted the Fox to his knees! Lord seemed to be attracting the electrical charges to himself.

“Lord! Stop it!” Andy yelled frantically up at him through the gathering wind.

As the music mounted from magical to menacing, Lord slowly rotated to face the Fox. White-hot balls of sizzling energy surrounded his outstretched claws and the tip of his frizzed-out tail, glowing like miniature suns. Another blue sphere of power hovered inches above his head. Lord’s large eyes burned a brilliant white, glowing brighter and brighter as the energy’s intensity grew. His body was trembling as the electrical charge built up towards release.

“I’m sorry Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that” he said trying to make light of the situation.

Below on the ground, the fox was wide-eyed with the shock of realization!

“Do you know what you’re doing? Have you lost your mind??!

Lord looked him straight in the eye and warned “ Andy – Please! Don’t stop me! Don’t let him stop me! …Rules are made to be broken!”

The music built up to a magnificently terrifying climax as bolts of lightning ripped the sky around Lord’s floating body! Andy shouted again up to him, but the cracks of thunder overpowered his volume. The fireballs of blistering energy that Lord held arced their own lightning between each other, surrounding him with a blinding halo and began arching to ground themselves, hitting the dragon statuette and the earth where the Fox stood!

Using the only line of communication left, the fox thought desperately:


In the midst of the power storm, Lord raised his arms and tail out straight, the energy spheres now creating a triangular pyramid of blue lightning around him!

The thunderhead clouds above him began to part, forming a towering ring thousands of feet high! A hurricane of wind blew Andy to the ground!

[“The only Limits that truly exist – are those we put upon ourselves!”] Lord thought back.

The maelstrom of wind, lightning and terrifying music climaxed as the sky opened and blinding white light came down, filling everything. Andy could see only Lord high overhead as everything else was lost in a total white-out. The Doctor raised his fists and tail, smashing the four power globes into each other, forming a powerful energy beam that fired up into the blinding whiteness!

Lord’s music came to a crescendo of wordless voices as a great black hole appeared above him. The funnel of darkness opened!       

Wakko closed his eyes in a silent moment of somber reflection as he always did before playing, then his gloves touched the keys. Softly, he began to play a beautiful old familiar melody. Everyone recognized it as they listened to him make the piano sing, the house ringing with delicate elegant solace.  

Fifi went to stand behind Wakko as Lord arose and walked towards the door.
         “That was the last song Stephen Foster ever wrote, before he died in

penury”, the Doctor whispered in an odd way, “ I’ll be back in a second.”

            Lord quietly slipped out of the door and the fox took a step after him before Lord stepped back inside. Andy blinked and looked back as Fifi looked closely at the lyrics to the song. Dropping her accent, she began to sing soulfully as

Wakko played for the statue of Red Hot.

“Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me.

Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;

Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,

Lull'd by the moonlight, have all pass'd away!

Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,

List while I woo thee with soft melody;

Gone are the cares of life's busy throng.

Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!”

As the haunting song filled the air, Yakko could only look at the statute’s frozen painted smile as great tears welled up in his shining eyes. Dot put a sympathetic arm around her brother’s shoulder as they stood together, listening.

The Doctor stood watching and listening to the enchanting song, his silver eyes shining as his mysterious smile returned. His eyes shifted to stare at the fox.

“Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea.

Mermaids are chanting the wild loreliee;

Over the streamlet vapors are borne,

Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn,

Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,

E'en as the morn' on the streamlet and sea;

Then will all clouds of sorrow depart,

Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me…”

Chapter CIX

Hamton sat on his bed in his room with his chin in his hands. He’d stopped crying and looked up mournfully as there was a soft knock at the door.

“Come in” he sighed, wiping away the tears and sniffing them back as his father came in quietly.

Wade took off his hat with a look of understanding and sat down beside his son. He could tell that Hamton didn’t feel like talking, so the two sat next to each other in silence a moment.

“Girl trouble, Son?” he asked gently.

Hamton was surprised, but then realized he shouldn’t be.

“Yes, Dad… How’d you know?”

Rather than answering, Wade reached out and wiped Hamton’s forehead clean with his thick bare forearm and showed it to him. The words “Girl Trouble” showed in reverse on his father’s hairy arm. Hamton looked down in embarrassment, but his father’s kindly smile took away the bad feelings.

“Actually, when ya ate everything in the refrigerator in less than five seconds, it kinda tipped us off”, Wade admitted, “Yer Mother’s gone out to the grocery store.”

“Gee, I’m sorry, Dad”.

“Oh don’t worry, Son – we’d run out of mayonnaise anyway!” his father said lightly with a nod.

Hamton smiled but shook his head sadly. His Dad put an arm warmly around his shoulders, took his handkerchief and wiped the tears off his son’s wet snout. He gave him a little squeeze and Hamton’s piggy ears hung down as his resistance broke. He put his head down and cried a little, and hugged his father.  Wade put his head against him and hugged him back, placing his hand on his son’s head in a moment of quiet.

“Also, when you’ve been married for twenty years, ya learn a thing er two”, his father told him softly, “Yer Mom and I are concerned about you. …
Do you wanna talk about it?” 

Hamton shut his eyes and shook his head. 

“That’s all right, Son”, his father said, ”Just don’t keep it to yourself for too long. … Holding powerful feelings inside can just make it hurt even worse.  Remember – even when things seem to be bad - they always work out for the best.  I’m sure you’ll do the right thing. You always have. …Just make sure you know what you’re doing before you do it.”

The two looked into each other’s eyes and Wade hugged his son again before standing up. Hamton looked at the floor as his Dad walked to the door,“Dad?”

Wade turned as Hamton crossed to him and hugged him again.

“Thank you, Dad”, he said,” I love you.”

His father held him tight in a heartfelt moment and kissed his forehead.

“I love you, Son,” he smiled,” Now you get some sleep, okay?”

“Okay. Goodnight Dad.”

“Goodnight, Son.”

Hamton rubbed his snout as the door closed in a moment of reflection when there was suddenly a familiar Yiddish voice in the room.

“Oy, dat vas von heart-varmink scene. I vish *my* fadder vas dat nice.”

Hamton’s eyes went wide with fear causing his head to expand like a balloon until Boris the spider crawled down into the light from the far corner of the ceiling on a web. The pig rolled his huge eyes in exasperation and let his head deflate through his ears, sounding like a double whoopee cushion.

Art by Pepe K.

“Sorry keedo”, the old bearded spider explained, “Between the eating all de food, slamming doors, cryink and de fatherly talk, I guess your mother never got a chance to tell you she’d moved me in here…I hope you don’t mind?”


Vell, before you throw me out, maybe I can help,” Boris shrugged, talking with his four hands alot, “You could maybe tell me tings dat you couldn’t tell your fadder, huh?”

Hamton considered this as he slumped back onto his bed and the toon spider lowered himself on a thread into a nearby chair.

“Look, I’ve been married three times so I know plenty about vimen,” said the Polish arachnid, “I’m an old poysen – you gotta listen to your elders!…Besides …Vat’s de use ov being a sulky teenager if you got no von to talk at?”

Hamton still really didn’t feel like it, but he shrugged and asked:” You were married three times? What happened?”

Meh! Lady schpiders,” humphed Boris, “All they do is bite yer head off! …They don’t call ‘em Black Widows fer nuthin, ya know. C’mon! Tell Boris yer troubles.”

Hamton interlocked his fingers behind his head and lay back on his pillow like a patient on a psychiatrist’s couch.  As Boris stroked his beard, he listened as the young boar told him everything that had happened concerning Fifi and Dr. Lord since the morning they’d started college. The old spider took note of how angry Hamton grew as he spoke of seeing Lord and Fifi embrace on the shores of Lake Champlain, of hearing the two address each other in such familiar terms and of how devastated he was when he’d heard her cry out that she loved the big skunk. When Hamton was finished, Boris re-adjusted his hearing aid and sat thoughtfully awhile.

Vell… before reaching any conclusions, I have a few qvestions”, the old toon said, rubbing his front two hands together while scratching his head with the other two, “ Foist, you say you think dis Doctor vas tryink to destroy himselv in de race? And Fifi stopped him?”

“Well… yes.”

“And dis afternoon? Don’t you teenk maybe she vas doing eet again?”

“…I dunno…she said.. she loved him” Hamton sighed, not wanting to say the words.

“And vat did he say to her?”

“I don’t know. I couldn’t hear him through the storm…”

Hamton swallowed and thought. Boris raised a quizzical eyebrow at him.

“…She was .. trying to get him to come back” the pig admitted finally with a deep sigh, “I guess .. she was trying to keep him from jumping.”

Vell, there you go!” Boris told him, throwing up his four hands.

“*But* - she said she loves him!” Hamton exclaimed tearfully as he buried his face in his hands.

Vell…maybe she does” shrugged the comical spider, before starting to crawl vertically up the side of his chair, grumbling about his lumbago. Once there, he revolved upside down and hung there sideways and looked down at Hamton.

“Look. Dere’s three possible answers to vat’s goink on”, he said holding up a hand, “Von:  Fifi iz in love with the de richest, most powerful rival you could never hope to face up to een a million years! – Two -” (he said holding up a second hand) “He’s a very old friend ov her family like she said he is and she just doesn’t vant the poor lonely guy to make himselv kaput. And three-“

Boris fell off the side of the chair and bounced upside down on the seat after he took his third hand off of it. Hamton sat up as the spider righted himself and swore.

Raskayekov!!… And three”, he said finally, re-adjusting his bifocals,” Eetz none ov the above.”

“What do you mean, Mister Chachka?”

The old toon looked at him with a sniff and a grunt,” The truth eez alvays some teeng you don’t suspect. Eetz never vat you tink it is. De only way to find out for sure is - to ask. Personally… I don’t really tink he’s really interested in Fifi that way. From vat you say, he’s much too old for her.”

“Why do you think so?”

Eef he really taught de Merrie Melodies vay back when – den he’d be older than I am. “ Boris concluded. “Ah’m not sayink eetz eempossible, but she’s only eighteen – an he must be four or five times dat age. Would you date somvon who vas only three yearz old? Ov course not!”

“No”, Hamton agreed,” But how can I find out for sure? He’s too tough for me! How can I ask him a thing like that?”

Feh, all you need eez de right leverage” remarked Boris, rolling his four eyes knowingly.

“Yeah, but we’re talking about Doctor Lord! Now what could I possibly think of …that…would…scare him?”

As the spider smiled at him, Hamton thought…Then he got an idea.

An awful idea! Hamton got a wonderful Awful idea!

“Thanks for dinner, Doc!” said Dot cheerily at Lord’s front door.

Yeah, thanks for everything, Doc” agreed Yakko as the Warners bade their goodbyes.

Wakko just stood there with a mischievous smirk on his face.

“I’d better be going too,” said Andy, “Tomorrow I start on that public relations problem for Bugs, Honey and Lola.”

“Good luck, Andrew”, Lord replied, “Your colleague will take over.”

Fifi stood beside her tall grandfather as the others started down the front walk, but Wakko just stood there smirking.

“What do you say, Wakko?” his brother chided with false impatience.


The resounding gale of a belch made a slate shingle fall off the roof right over Fifi’s head. Without looking, the Doctor caught it with one hand as the skunkette cringed. The Warners smiled and so did he.

“Does this mean we can be normal again?” asked Dot, “Being mundane gives me a headache.”

“That depends on what your definition of ‘normal’ is” remarked the fox.

“I want a pony ride!” shouted Wakko, jumping onto Andy’s shoulders. 

“I want foxy-ride!”, his sister said, doing the same and pinching Andy’s cheek ruffs, “Yer so cute! I’ll hafta add you to my stable!”

“AAGH-!” ,yelped the Fox in terror as the Warners all jumped on his back, then he stopped himself with an odd look on his face, “On second thought…”

Goooodnight Everybody!” grinned Yakko as the trio happily rode the fox out of sight.

Fifi laughed as she watched them leave, but Lord was already moving onto something else as he pulled out a cell phone and hit a single digit.

“Hallo, Doctor “ said a British voice from the other end of the line.

“Good evening, Commander. I have a dual assignment for you”, said the tall skunk in serious tones, “Prepare to receive instructions.”

There was a pause and Fifi stepped around his towering figure to look up at him.  His eerie stillness was unsettling.

“Ready, Sir”  said the voice.

As Fifi watched in puzzlement, Lord’s silver eyes glowed with pure white light as his colorless pupils expanded completely, dimly lighting up their surroundings.

A chill ran down Fifi’s spine, turning her tail into a clunking block of ice. After a moment, Lord’s alien telepathy passed, his eyes returning to their usual mercury-like state.

“Understood, Sir. I’ll meet you at 0700… and thank you, Sir” said the voice.

“I thought you might appreciate it. See you then” Lord replied.

Before Fifi could inquire what he was doing, the Doctor made another call.

“Yes, Sir?” said a deep male voice.

“X…this is the Captain speaking”, Lord said deliberately, “Rig for silent running.”

“Understood, Sir”.

“Go to periscope depth and proceed on course to the primary target. Take no action without my orders.”

“Acknowledged, Captain.”

As her Grandfather hung up, Fifi was now completely puzzled. Lord looked out at nothing, then as he sighed deeply, he changed to his human form of Kirrik. They looked at each other as she waited to hear an explanation.

“I’m hungry. Are you hungry?” the man said abruptly as he walked quickly back into the mansion.

“But you just gave us all deenerFifi said in confusion as she followed.

“Yes, and I had to sit there and watch you all eat and pretend to eat toon food while I was starving” , Kirrik replied as he rushed to the huge kitchen.  “I think I’ll spoil myself a bit,” he said getting a tin from the refrigerator.

After getting a box of real crackers and a knife, the human opened the small can and concentrated on it. As Fifi watched, strange blue flames sprang from his hand and enveloped the metal container.

“I refuse to eat cold pate`de fois gras” he said nonchalantly.

The skunkette stared in amazement as Kirrik heated the goose liver until its’ dark smell arose. He then put the can on a plate and picked up the knife, but the flames still surrounded his hand.

Aheh. Pyro-kenisis”, he said lightly, trying to wave out the fire, “Haven’t quite got it perfected yet.”

Fifi giggled as her grandfather kept trying to shake and blow the fire off his hand.

“Nuts!” he said as he finally stuck it under the kitchen faucet and doused it with water.

Fifi snickered as he spread some of the pate` on a cracker and ate it with great relish.  Kirrik smiled with a mouthful, making her laugh.

“Now”, he asked, “What would you like in a new house?”

Buster rolled over for the fifth time and finally sat up on his bed. His burrow was dark until he opened his cell phone and dialed a number. The glow of the phone’s display lit only his frowning face as he leaned on his elbows on his pillow.

“Hello, Babs?”

There was a bump and muffled noises as someone dropped the phone at the other end of the line, then his fiancee’s haggard voice answered.

“Buster, what the heck are you doing calling me?? I had just fallen asleep!”

Buster  patiently held the phone away at arm’s length for a count of ten seconds while Babs’ voice went into high-speed overdrive in yelling at him, then he immediately apologized.

“I’m sorry Babsie, but… well…”

With her ears in curlers, Babs stopped cursing him and sighed. She could tell when he was upset.

“Okay Buster… what’s wrong?” she asked softly.

“Well, it’s about the battle tomorrow –“

“You mean today’s battle. It’s after midnight, ya know!”

“Yeah, I know, I’m sorry to wake ya up, but…did ya read what’s gonna happen?”

“I read it. One ship gets sunk an’ another surrenders.”

“There’s more to it than that! It was the single worse day for the U.S. Navy until the attack on Pearl Harbour!”

“So? So we’ll see a lil action. It’s not like that summer when you caused a tidal wave and I pulled the plug on the Acme dam and flooded Acme Acres - or like when Fifi stomped the city flat as a giant skunk or like when Plucky ate that monster “El Reeko” microwave burrito!” Babs exclaimed.

Heh, that was a gasser!”, laughed Buster, “Plucky got sued by the environmentalists for adding to the greenhouse effect!…But that’s beside the point.

I’m just worried that somebody’ll get hurt.”

“Doctor Lord said to let him do all the worrying, so relax!”, the pink bunny said as she laid back in bed, “Besides, who can get hurt? I can pull my own head off if the joke is funny enough and it never bothers me.”

“You’ve been hangin’ around with Gogo too much”, Buster remarked, “ The point is – all that happens here in the Tooniverse - and we’re gonna be in Reality.”

“Okay, point taken”, she agreed, “Just don’t worry about it. After all, we’re toons! We can take anything!”

“I just hope yer right…” Buster shrugged.

Chapter CX

“Good morning, Soldiers! Are you ready for de-briefing?” Lord called down the hallway from his mansion’s office, “I have something for each of you – and I’d like to talk to Hamton first.”

Everyone looked at each other. Hamton wasn’t there.

Mais non! Qu’es que je fais?!

It was then that Fifi realized that she’d completely forgotten about him last night! 

“He ain’t here yet,” observed Fowlmouth.

“He didn’t come to dinner with us last night” said Buster.

“Like, he must have gone home”, Shirley commented casually,” Cuz he didn’t come back to Plucky’s room all – I mean –uh – like, he must have stayed at his parents’ house again.”

Everyone snickered as Plucky glared at Shirley. The Loon blushed and made an innocent halo appear over her head. Babs popped it with a pin and giggled.

Just outside the mansion’s doorway, Hamton was giving some last minute secret instructions. 

“Okay Boris – now you don’t do anything until you hear me say the word “Hear”. When you hear me say the word “Hear” - you come out and scare Doctor Lord.”

“Vaitaminute!…Vat do I do? Vat do I say?” asked the old arachnid.

“I dunno”, Hamton said hurriedly, “Just scare him! Now let’s try it –“, he said turning to an imaginary audience, “Hi everybody! It’s good to be here-“

The aged spider jumped up and down waving his many arms and said, “Blah! Blah! I vant to suck your blood!”

The pig stared at him, unimpressed. “That’s the best you can do? It’s not very scary.”

“Vat do you vant from me?” said the spider, “You give me two seconds and expect originality? Vat chu teenk I am – Boris Karloff?”

“Sounds more like a bad Bela Lugosi to me, but never mind, we’re wasting time”, Hamton replied, “Let’s try again. Okay – “Hi everyone! It’s a pleasure to be here-“

“Blah! Blah! I vant to suck your blood!”

“Not yet!”

“But chu just said “here”!”

“That was the wrong “hear”!

Vich is the right “here”??

“The other “Hear”!!

Boris grumbled as Hamton started again.

“Say guys, this is a story you’re gonna love to hear-“

“Blah! Blah! I vant to suck your blood!”

“No no no!!

“But chu just said “here”?! Vich is the right here??!

“The OTHERhear”!!

“How am I gonna know??!


“Blah! Blah! I vant to suck your blood!!”

Both Hamton and Boris were now fuming at each other, but calmed down when they realized their yelling at each other might be heard.

Hamton then whispered, “Alright… you will know - when I point to you!”

Shushing each other back and forth, Boris hid inside Hamton’s backpack as they entered the mansion.

Buster was just coming out of Doctor Lord’s office as Hamton came into the hallway. Boldly, he walked right past Fifi and up to the skunk who was nearly twice his size. Without looking at anyone else, the determined pig marched straight into the doctor’s de-briefing room and sat down. Lord raised an eyebrow at this and returned inside to speak to Hamton. Fifi desperately rushed to the door as it closed, shutting her off from a scene that she now had no power to control. Everyone else watched her as she leaned against the doorframe, fearful of what was about to happen within.

Hamton sat in the chair surrounded by the memory machine and held his backpack in front on him on his lap. He felt Boris jiggle slightly inside the bag as he stared in front of him, avoiding Lord’s gaze. He suddenly remembered that he hadn’t thought of how to conceal the spider from the Doctor’s telepathy. Lord stared at him with inscrutable silver eyes.

“I’m glad you could make it,” Lord said, sounding slightly formal, “ I have something to ask of you.”

“I have some things to ask you too” Hamton replied coolly, though his stomach trembled inside him.

“I have time for one question,” the Doctor told him, “I still have to de-brief most everyone before we leave, so please proceed.”

Hamton had been thinking all morning of what he should say – the question that would answer most of what he really needed to know without getting him into trouble. Using Boris would be his last resort.

Carefully, he asked, “How long have you known Fifi …and her family?”

The tall old skunk sighed and sat at his desk thoughtfully.

“I introduced her grandparents…” he began.

“To whom?”

“To each other,” the Doctor said with his mysterious smile,” I was there at their wedding.  I delivered their daughter Josephine with my own hands”, he said re-living it, “Those days went by so quickly! She had such a serious little face when she played with her blocks…  I watched her grow up…then one day she met Francois La Fume… I gave her away when they married. Her father was so proud of her!” he said, his silver laugh-lines smiling, “and when the time came, I delivered both Moufette and Fifi. Those were such happy times…”

Lord sighed again and cast his eyes down as he reached out and absently picked up a strange cane from an umbrella stand. It was an old heavy wooden stick that was carved like a drum major’s baton and tightly wrapped with aged black leather. The odd thing was - it was real.

As Lord was looking down, a couple of Boris’s spidery arms opened the backpack he was hiding in and his small head popped briefly up before Hamton clapped down the cover to quickly stop him. Hamton’s wide eyes tried not to betray anything, but a bead of sweat ran off the top of his head and down the back of his neck. He grinned sheepishly and pretended to laugh along with the Doctor’s mirth.

“Then the troubles began”, Lord said sadly as he twiddled the cane up and down in his hand, using only his fingers, “Honerine grew ill - and then Francois. They aged before our very eyes…Grandpere Putuois and I worked for years to keep them alive… It was very hard for Fifi to say goodbye. She loved her father so…”

Hamton’s anger left him as he listened. Lord was evidently a very very, very old friend of the family. Some things still didn’t add up, but if Lord was even older than Fifi’s grandfather, then…  Hamton suddenly became fascinated by the Doctor’s strange cane. Where had he seen that before?

“I helped Putois to bury them,” Lord continued, “ Their doom affected everyone differently…Fifi and the others grew closer, while Moufette drifted apart…When Fifi decided to come to America to go to school, I recommended her to the Looniversity.”

Lord noticed the object of Hamton’s interest and put his cane down on his desk for the boar to inspect. Hamton’s eyes switched cautiously back and forth between the dark wooden stick and the Doctor’s face.

Das ist mein Geschwaderstock” Lord told him with a smile.

Hamton looked at the cane closely, reading a faint inscription carved in the blackened wood: “R.M. v R. JG1, 1917”.

“…You mean like in the Luftwaffe?”

“Yah.  Speaking of aeroplanes, I wanted to ask you if you’d care to be part of a mission this morning?” asked the Doctor casually.

“A flight? But I thought we were going back-“

“Of course we are. This is to ensure that we don’t encounter any problems,”

Lord said leaning back in his chair, “I need someone for air traffic control. Someone I can trust.”

Hamton looked from the skunk’s kindly smile down to the jack-in-the-box full of his own mistrust in his lap. Staring into Lord’s eerie reflective eyes, he wondered if he should trust this strange being again so quickly…and weather his thoughts had already betrayed him.


“Good. Now please sit back and remember for me”, the Doctor said as he activated the memory machine and the twin pylons moved in towards Hamton’s temples, “Remember your yesterdays on board the MONITOR…”

Hamton shivered off his misgivings, lest they betray him and - in a moment it was done. The machine moved away making it’s usual alien sound and Lord reached into his desk and handed him a package.

“Here’s something for you to wear today.”

“A Civil war uniform?” Hamton asked, looking at the woolen coat.

“Yes. Size “Large”, right?”

“…Uh, yeah” the pig sighed self-consciously.

“Consider yourself lucky, Hamton,” Lord smiled, “ I have to wear a Monster size one.”

Hammy chuckled at this as a door opened on the other side of the room. He stood up uncertainly, as this wasn’t the door he had entered from. A tall wide-eyed figure stood there wearing a dark uniform.

“Commander, here’s your assistant for this morning. Take him in hand, won’t you? Hamton – this is Commander Winters. You go with him and he’ll show you what needs to be done.”

“Good morning,” the snowy owl said cheerfully as he beckoned the surprised pig to follow him.

Hamton stood, clutched his backpack tightly to his chest and followed nervously through the door.

The Doctor went and opened the door – and Fifi fell right through it, her nose squeaking on the floor. She had been leaning her ear against the door, waiting for it to open.

“Oh, please do come in” Lord quipped as he looked down at her.

“Where eez Hamtone? What deed ee say? What deed you say?…Waz ee angry?” Fifi demanded breathlessly as she stood up and shut the door.

“In the hanger, he asked about us, I told him what he wanted to know – and I’m not sure. In that order “ the tall skunk said calmly as he sat back at his desk.

Ee moost be furiouz avec moi – Ah forgot about heem completely last night!” Fifi said slumping into the chair, “Ee moost be jealous!”

“He was keeping something to himself, but he seemed satisfied to learn that I’m older than your entire family” the Doctor said, interlacing his claws.

“But you are mah familee” the skunkette retorted, “Vous deedn’t tell heem zat – deed you?”

“And put his life in danger as well? No”, Lord replied, shaking his head. “You and I would survive if my enemies caught us, but Hamton would not.  I already have to worry about your loose cannon of a sister. …Intervention, Petite` - I’ve known it – I will not risk it.”

“But ah love heem!” she pleaded.

“If you love him – you must protect him”, he told her, leaning in,” Can you imagine how you’d feel if it had been him that had been kidnapped by ‘Them’?”      

Fifi shut her eyes and looked away, cringing at the thought, and shook her head. Then she looked back at him and spoke with determination.

Eef you’re asking moi to leave heem – ah weell not. Ee eez mah true love. Hamtone eez too beeg a part ov mah life. Ah weell nevaire geeve heem up!”

Lord sat back and said thoughtfully “If this were a hundred years ago, I would have the right to make the choice for you – but I wouldn’t. This is your decision.”

The tall being stood and put a kindly hand on her shoulder.

“Don’t worry. You’ll make the right decision,” he told her, ”My council is to wait. Everything will turn out right, I promise.”

“How do you know it will?” she asked him.

Doctor Lord gave her his quiet secretive smile and said” …I know.” 

Just then, a knock at the door interrupted them and Shirley stuck her beak in.

“Um, like sorry to interrupt Sensei, but yer uh, Geek Squad is here.

“Thank you, Shirley. Tell them I’ll be out in a moment” the Doctor responded.

Patiently, Fifi sat back as her memory of the maiden voyage of the MONITOR was scanned and recorded. Her Grandfather handed her a uniform and walked out Into the hallway.

There stood an interesting trio. Silent and staring as usual was Egghead Jr., reading a book on “The Membrane Theory”. Towering over the tiny chicken stood a lanky pair of near-mirror images; Wile E. Coyote and Ralph Wolf.

“Morning, Doc” said the red-nosed wolf.

“Morning, Ralph”, answered Lord, “Do you all understand the mechanisms?”

“*Of course*! It’s so simple  - a child could do it!” claimed Wile.

“I’m glad you agree. That’s why Junior will be in charge,” the Doctor declared.

“What? You mean to say that I shall be taking orders from this diminutive squab?  I?!?” exclaimed the outraged Coyote.

“Pre-cisely.  You will be receiving, relaying and transmitting the telepathic communications - Ralph will be implementing the required operations – and Junior will be overseeing everything”, Lord told them firmly, “ I shouldn’t have to remind you that the lives of these students will be in your paws as well as the Space-Time continuum of both universes.”

Taken aback, the tall coyote looked in silence at the hallway full of his students. They all suddenly made sad puppy-dog faced pouts at him with huge wet anime-ish eyes. Babs even went into her Shirley Temple begging act.

“Grandfather! Grandfather! Please put away your tremendous ego and help us!!” she cried on her knees with crocodille’s tears, “PLEASE DON’T SEND US TO THE ORPHANAGE! PLEASE!!”

Buster did a spin change into Sergeant Joe Friday, complete with a grey suit and hat. Thoroughly deadpan, he picked Babs off the floor by the shoulder.

“All right sister, yer under arrest. Let’s head down to the station” he said flatly.

Babs spun right back at him – into the thuggish Slug McSlug.

Ya got nuthin’ on me, copper!!” she bellowed, “I’ll beat the rap!”

“Think so? I got ya on a four - twelve” the unflappable Buster said.

“A FOUR - TWELVE!! WHAT’S A FOUR – TWELVE?!?!!” she screamed.

“Overacting. Let’s go.” He told her, dragging her back to her seat.

“It’s a fair copBabs admitted as Buster left her in her seat and ducked into another room.

“Very well… you have my full support… to say nothing of my annoyance,” sniffed Wile E., “Just please refrain from doing that “big sad, soulful eyes routine.”

At that, Egghead Jr. took his tiny beak out of his book, revealing a satisfied smile. Ralph put a paw on his cousin’s shoulder and lead him to the elevator.

“Let’s get to work, Wile” he said, businesslike.

“Shirley, you’re next” Lord announced to the group,” Come along, we’ve much to do today.”

The loon looked uncertainly at Fifi and followed the Doctor into his office.

“Check out the new threads!” said Buster as he stepped out of the adjoining room, proudly showing off his new uniform. 

Indeed, his brass-buttoned Civil War coat looked smart on him and the slouched cap on his head even had holes for his ears, but there was something odd about it.

“Hey, which side are you on?” asked Mary.

“I dunno” the blue bunny shrugged, looking at himself.

Fifi looked at her own and couldn’t recognize the color either. It was somewhere between navy blue and gray.

Lookz gray to me” said Arnold.

“How would you’s know?” mocked Fowlmouth, “Dogs are color-blind!”

“How vood you like to be black undt blue, Girly-Hen?” threatened the pitbulll.

As Furball interposed himself between the two, Wakko scrutinized Fifi’s uniform.

“It’s not blue or gray, rilly. Sort of neutral-like” he observed.

Eetz heavy too”, Fifi noticed, putting on her cap.

Shirley returned from Lord’s office with her new uniform on but halfway-unbuttoned. Plucky walked over immediately and casually helped her finish buttoning her jacket on. The loon smiled at him but then saw that everyone else had noticed. With a nervous glance, she smacked his hands away!

“Oh! Like…uh – You dirty duck! Keep yer pervy paws to yerself!” Shirley shouted with false indignance.

Fowlmouth laughed in disbelief as he walked into the office. Everyone else turned away to hide their mirth.

“Methinks she doth protest too much” giggled Babs.

“Denial is always the first stage” agreed Buster.  

Chapter CXI

After everyone had finished giving their information to Dr. Lord and was dressed in their uniforms, they all met outside by the back of the mansion.  There was a loud rumbling sound that grew louder and louder as they drew closer to the Doctor’s airplane hangars.

Everyone looked sharp in their matching caps and brass-buttoned jackets.

Babs was tempted to lead the military-looking group in a silly parade like a zealous drill sergeant, but everything bespoke of serious business, so she satisfied herself by doing an exaggerated march.

“Like, cut it out Babs, Shirley said elbowing her.

“Would you prefer ‘goose-stepping’?” quipped the bunny.

“Quiet in the ranks or I’ll goose ya myself!” said Buster shushing them.

As the group reached the hangars, Lord stopped them short of going around the corner. Everyone noticed that the usual green lawn had been replaced by a very long concrete runway.

“Herr Docktor? Dis vasn’t here before” Arnold called.

“Stand clear of the doors!” cautioned the Doctor as he walked out in front of the hangers alone.

  “The Ventures, #14, James Bond Theme”

The resounding electric beat of the familiar ‘James Bond Theme’ began to ring in everyone’s minds as Lord played it in his own. The air was heavy with expectancy as the giant corrugated hangar doors slid aside and the roaring became even louder.

“Clear the decks!” shouted Lord over the din.

He walked backwards away from the open mouth of the cave-like hangar, directing someone out of the way and Hamton appeared with a lap top computer in his hands. Wearing his own uniform and a smile, the pig joined the others and watched as Lord waved on whatever was coming out of the hangar.

Art by Pepe K.

As the roar became the whine of jet engines and the cool dangerous Bond theme’s snazzy electric bass line sang out, the spear-like nose of Lord’s most deadly-looking aircraft slowly glided out of the cavernous hangar. Fowlmouth tried to ask what the alien-looking craft was, but even his loud voice was drowned out by the deafening howl of the giant jet engines housed within the sleek black shape. As Lord walked backwards onto the tarmac, the lethal SR71 Blackbird followed him, it’s fuel tanks dripping dark spots onto the cement and the crowd of Toonsters staring in amazement. The rocket-like, delta-winged, supersonic jet’s twin tails came into view, bearing the tiny skunk emblem of the Lockeed Skunkworks followed by the monstrous jet exhaust cones which spewed such a high temperature that everything behind them was distorted by heat waves.

The airplane stopped and it’s forward cockpit opened electrically. Below the gold-plated windows, surrounded by the ship’s controls, sat a space-suited figure.

Reaching to his golden-mirrored helmet visor, the figure slid it up to reveal the white face and large yellow eyes of Commander Johnny Winters. Looking like an Apollo astronaut, the snowy owl presented Lord with a gloved salute, which the skunk returned. Turning around as much as he could in the cockpit, the pilot also waved back to Hamton, surprising everyone else.

As the second stanza of the spy theme began, Lord came over to confer with the smiling pig and pressed a key on the laptop computer he held. A revolving silver radar dome arose from the top of the hangar .

“Give me a reading of the airspace over Acme Acres, please?” the Doctor requested over the noise of the whine of the jet’s turbines.

“There are two small objects overhead at two hundred and fifty feet”, Hamton told him, looking at the spinning display on his laptop, “ One is larger than the other.. they are on a collision course… We have a mid-air collision! … They should be coming down … There!”

As he predicted, two bright-colored objects fell just then into the remnants of Fifi’s junk yard. Pink feathers flew everywhere as Sweetie Bird fell into a bottle of “Scratchy Cola”, forcing her into an exaggerated wasp-waisted silhouette.

Concorde Condor caught himself falling towards the sharp points of the top of the junkyard’s chain-link fence! The Toonsters cringed! But at the last second, the purple condor stopped himself in mid-air – slid himself a few feet to one side – and then pancaked into the ground harmlessly.  

“I ain’t so dumb” Concorde smirked before collapsing.

“The airspace is clear of all traffic, Doctor” Hamton grinned as he put away the laptop.

“Very well!” Lord acknowledged, returning to the side of the stealthplane.

As the third stanza of the 007 theme played, the Doctor thought to Commander Winters, [“ Blackbird, you are cleared for takeoff,”] as he spun his finger in a “rev it up” gesture.


Giving him a “thumbs up” signal, the owl closed his canopy and opened the throttle. Lord held his ears as the roar of the monstrous jet engines became an ear-splitting blast and the black dagger of an aircraft taxied down the runway. The twin tail cones widened, shooting long jets of flame and deafening everyone as the sleek black delta-wing raced away down the long stretch of runway. Slowly the Blackbird rose into the azure sky, retracting its triple-wheeled landing gear and streaked away out of sight.

As Lord returned to the group, he smiled at everyone’s puzzled expressions.

Enthralled by what he’d just seen, Calamity held up several different signs all at once, asking: “Who? What? Why? Where can I get one of those?!” 

“He’s part of our backup”, the Doctor told him as he looked off to where the plane had disappeared, “You better hold your ears when the ramjets fire!”

Art by Pepe K.

Everyone heard the distant noise change and suddenly they saw the Blackbird zipping back silently toward them, it’s engines spouting flame. Faster than the speed of the sound of its own deafening roar, the black demon flew past them and flew out of sight like a bat out of Hell! The ear drum-ripping explosion and the powerful double sonic booms assaulted everyone and the sheer power of the blast waves of air pressure blew the Toonsters and Lord head over heels backwards onto the runway!

As the sound of the jet diminished and it’s exhaust fumes dissipated, everyone dusted themselves off and got up.

Gogo spun into wearing a white tuxedo and sunglasses.

"Shaken...but not stirred", he said imitating Sean Connery's voice.

The Dodo then spun into a grey neru suit and baldly said: "Goodbye - Mister Bond!"

“Well, that was fun” the Doctor said cheerfully walking back towards the hangar.  “And now we’ll have another ground-breaking event. Jimmy?”

Now that the Toonsters could seen inside the hangar, they slowly backed up in awe as a giant ducked out from under the hangar door to stand gleaming in the sunlight. Two human two-tones joined the metallic behemoth and Buster recognized one of them as Jimmy Sparks and the giant robot as the mighty GigantorFifi recognized Jimmy’s anime` companion as Dick Strong, one of Lord’s team of agents who had saved her from being kidnapped.

“You all recall Jimmy Sparks and Gigantor from the party, I trust?” Lord said introducing them. “And this is Detective Strong of the Japanese NSA.”

“Hello” the tall dark spy said in a business-like way, “Shall we get to work?”

Jimmy’s control box issued forth ray signals as he manipulated the joysticks and the immense Gigantor clanked forward, walking into Fifi’s empty junkyard. The Toonsters swept hurriedly out of his way as the gigantic robot stepped easily over the fence and stood next to Fifi’s pink Cadillac.

Fifi has told me of how, now that she owns her own property, that she plans to build a proper home on it”, the Doctor announced, “ and since we have the best man to do the job – I figure we might as well give Gigantor a little exercise. Shall we proceed, Fifi?”

Fifi nodded and with a signal from Jimmy’s control box, Gigantor bent and began to dig with his tremendous metal hands like a steam shovel, scooping out a big hole in the ground alongside the pink car. The giant robot worked tirelessly while Jimmy and Dick Strong directed him.

Taken aback by this, Hamton took Fifi aside and both faced each other uncomfortably. Out of earshot, they spoke privately in hushed tones as the others watched the titanic man of metal digging.

Fifi – what’s this? What’s going on?” Hamton demanded.

“I – I…Ah’m so sorry, ‘Amtone! Ah forgot about tu last night. Ah-“

“I mean this! “, he said, pointing at the large hole being dug, “I thought we were going to plan to build the house together!”

Oui! And we deed. Zey are only deeging out zee foundation so we can beeld what we want. We ave to start somewhere, yes?”

“But – but – we … didn’t plan on starting so quickly!”, he stammered,” And why’s the Doctor doing this for you?!”

“Because ah… because…”, Fifi’s mind raced, “- Because ah saved heem last night! ‘Ee waz goeeng to throw heemself overboard and ave us leave weethout heem! Ah couldn’t let heem try to kill himself again!”

Hamton’s brows knitted with anger. His words were bitter.

“Yes… I know…I heard you last night –  You never told me how well you know him.”

Open-mouthed, Fifi had never imagined that Hamton could be so furious with her – but he was right and her guilt began to crush her.

“Ah joost couldn’t let him jump!” she exclaimed tearfully, “Eef you were zere – why deedn’t you help me?!

“Cause – cause you said you love him!”

Fifi began to cry. He’d heard exactly the wrong thing to hear.

Eetz not what tu theenk!” she cried, “Eetz not how ah love you!”

“Then what is it?” he growled.

She shook her head and looked down as her tears ran down her nose.

“Ah… Ah cannot tell you!” the skunkette wept, “*Please! * Tu must trust moi, Hamtone!”            

Hamton’s eyes closed tight as if to shut off the world, his face burned red and his hands became balled-up fists. With an angry snort, he marched away towards the hangar doors. It was all too much. Blinded with fury, he sought his trump card.

By this time, the other Toonsters and Lord, having satisfied themselves that

Fifi’s new home was well underway, were arriving out by their point of departure, the great statute of the black stone dragon.

“Well crew, today we are heading into battle”, the Doctor began,” I just want to remind you –“

“Hold it Doc – we’re not all together yet” Babs called out, as she pointed to Fifi who still stood crying by the fence.

“Aw, c’mon Babs”, Buster said as he set off to bring Fifi back.

As his fiancée hopped along with Buster, Plucky caught sight of Hamton at the hangar, looking inside and he scampered off to try and grab his wayward pal.

At the hangar, an enraged Hamton was determined to take his revenge.

The pig snorted and snarled his way to the corner of the building where he’d left his backpack.  Behind a box, he found it.

But his Pig Scout pack was open and empty!  Boris was gone! In his shock, Hamton scanned his surroundings but the spider was nowhere to be seen!

He held the hollow canvas bag … and saw all the Scouting merit badge patches on it - the merit badges his mother had sewn on by hand … the ones that said:” Duty”, “Honor”, “Country” and “Honesty”.

As Hamton reached an epiphany, his teeth clenched as he saw the wrong he had intended to commit. In the midst of a heavy sigh – he suddenly realized that his problem wasn’t over. Where was Boris? What might happen if his mistake came to light? He had to find him. Suddenly a hand grabbed his shoulder!

Startled, Hamton spun around in panic as Plucky looked at him.

“What’re ya doin’ over here? The bus is leaving!” the duck said impatiently.

Hamton’s eyes were darting everywhere as he ran haphazardly back towards the group. Where could the old spider have gone?

“What’s wrong Feef?” Babs asked as the bunnies reached the sobbing skunkette.

“Let’s get going, crew!” called Doctor Lord.

In the underground laboratory, Wile E. watched the seconds tick down to zero and heard the Doctor’s call – and signaled for Ralph to set the machinery in motion. The wolf hit the main switch that said “ MAIN SEQUENCE START” and the giant machines around him began to flood with power!

Unable to tell Buster and Babs what was wrong, Fifi was torn and ran away from them back towards her Grandfather. Hamton was almost there as well, still looking for the lost spider. He walked past the dragon statue to stand nervously beside Shirley, who looked down at the grass uncomfortably.

Plucky stood confused at his friend’s actions, but then caught sight of Hamton’s empty backpack. Puzzled, he started waddling back to the others, as dark clouds gathered overhead and the thunder rumbled as the time storm began.

“”What was that all about? They’re fighting at a time like this?” Buster said to Babs.

As his pink fiancée shrugged – the vast time blackout caught them in it’s blanket of darkness! The Time travel was beginning! They had to return to the group! Plucky was also caught alone in the blackness and ran quacking in panic back the way he’d come as fast as his webbed feet could carry him!

“Hold on!” shouted Lord, “It’s too fast! We’re not ready! We’ve got to be together! Stop the time storm! Turn it off!!”

Hamton realized that his three dear friends were about to be left behind and called out to them:” Hurry guys! Get over here!”

“We can’t see you! Where are you?!?” cried the faint voices of Buster and Babs.

There was the sound of a collision as Plucky ran blindly into the bunnies and all three fell to the ground!  Underground, Ralph and Wile strained to stop the terrible forces that were already in motion. Egghead Junior looked wildly for the “Off” switch, and tripped over the power cables on the floor. He watched helplessly as the to canids furry fingers flew over the computer keyboards, but saw the look of desperation in their eyes turn to desolation.

“…We can’t stop it” Wile gulped as his pupils became pinpoints.

The Toonsters stood together fearfully as Lord reached out into the blackness with his mind, searching for the three missing comrades.

“Where are you?!?” he cried out to them.

“We’re here!! Help us!” yelled Plucky!

The Doctor’s mind found them. Buster, Plucky and Babs felt their bodies lifted by an unseen force and were suddenly pulled sideways! Over their heads, the blinding white tornado of the time vortex appears in the sky, racing towards them!

“HURRY! OVER HERE!!” shouted Hamton, trying to help.

‘BLAH! BLAH! I VANT TO SUCK YOUR BLOOD!!” Boris yelled in a blood-curdling scream as he suddenly leaped to the top of the statue of the dragon!

“*AAAAHHHHGH!!!*” screamed Lord as he recoiled in horror from the spider!

Plucky, Babs and Buster were dropped roughly to the ground as Lord’s telekinetic power abruptly released them within sight of the others, but the blinding white time tunnel was right over the heads of the main group! It was almost upon them! The winds sucked at the terrified toons as they clung to each other and clawed at the grass desperately to hang on! Hamton saw his three friends as they pulled themselves up and ran with all their might and mane to make it! But it was too late – the white tornado pulled up the group into it!

Boris hung on with his spindly legs to the heavy statue and watched helplessly as Doctor Lord and the others were pulled into the monstrous blinding white whirlpool! The tornado’s funnel shifted sideways to the ground and then sucked up Buster, Babs and Plucky into the bright abyss as well!  The time tunnel retreated into the skies, taking them all with it!

In the terrible silence that followed, the old spider stared helplessly at the spot where everyone had disappeared. Uselessly, he swung down on spider-thread to the grass, looking for some sign that they might return.

In the junkyard, Jimmy Sparks and Dick Strong stood stock still in shock, having witnessed the last few moments of terror. Concorde’s oversized beak fell off as he gaped at the tragedy. He didn’t pick it up for some time. The force of even Sweetie Bird’s loud scream wasn’t enough to break the tempered glass of the soda bottle she was still trapped in. Her exclamations went unheard.

Below in Lord’s laboratory, the three geniuses looked at each other vacantly.

All three gulped aloud at the gravity of the situation – then they scrambled over each in the next moment, to get to the machine’s telemetry screens. 

“IN TRANSITION” was all the machines told them.

            Alone at the ominous black statute, Boris began to realize what had happened and whispered to himself.


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