"What do we have Kowalski." The three penguins stood at attention as they faced the fourth. Kowalski, as he was apparently called, was a tall penguin with a rounded head. Like the other penguins, his back and flippers were pure black while his front was pure white except a widow's peak on his forehead. He waddled to his place before pointing to a machine in the middle of the underground cement bunker room that hid their own anti-matter-fusion-reactor-core... and their TV.
"Gentleman, I give you my latest invention, THE DIMENSIONATER!" This was apparently old hat for the other three, they didn't even blink.
"And what does it do...." asked the first penguin who spoke. He was the second shortest of the four, with a flat topped head that was reminiscent of a buzz cut. He sipped his coffee which had a fish tail in it.
"It lets us travel to other dimensions! Admittedly, I am lacking some control over which dimension we go to, but so far it hasn't blown up!" He looked eagerly at the other three penguins. No response.
"When can we start jumping?" the first one started to ask, but stopped as the youngest, shortest penguin with a round head and a British accent interrupted him.
"Excuse me, Skipper, but shouldn't we make sure we can control it before we start asking which dimensions there are? What if, we found a dimension of killer whales! That wouldn't be very good, would it?"
"Good point, Private. Kowalski! What do you need to operate it?" Skipper took a sip of his coffee. "More McGuffium?"
"No, no... after the last time travel incident-"
"You mean the one where you sent yourself back to the past to stop a paradox you created?" Private asked.
"Yes, that one" Kowalski groaned. "I have since stayed away from McGuffium... and all time related inventions after the Stopwatch Incident that you don't remember since you were frozen in time."
"Anything that I'm not aware of didn't happen." Skipper said assuredly. The last penguin, very tall and unusual with the scars running across his face and over his beak, a mowak hairstyle, and a slightly crazed smile was getting bored. He hacked, and then a newspaper came out of his throat. He immediately sat down and began to fold it into a wrench. "Rico, give Kowalski your attention. You know he gets sensitive about people ignoring him."
"Yes, well, we need a few items that should be easy to find around the zoo: dials, a feather, a power source."
"Kowalski, you don't have a power source? You're usually more on the ball then that." Skipper reprimanded Kowalski, who sighed.
"I know, I know, but I've been so worried lately about Alice catching us so I haven't thought of a good powersource yet! As stated previously, I'm not using McGuffium but that does limit the options"
"Solar power?" Private offered.
"No, then the dimensionator would have to be out in broad daylight. The people can't see it." Kowalski pondered.
"I leave it up to you." Skipper waddled off. "We're training in five boys!" And he went up the ladder to the more visible part of their habitat in the Central Park Zoo.
Once all four took their places in the above ground part of their habitat, Skipper began to give the orders for training: "Turn, dodge, bob, weave, duck, plie, jump kick, roll..." He set Private and Rico to attack each other, then stepped back to officiate.
"Skipper, can I talk to you for a second?" An otter's head broke the surface of the water. She quietly gestured to Skipper who waddled over to the otter and gestured that Kowalski should referee.
"Of course, Marlene. What is going on?"
"Honestly, I think the rats are planning on taking over the lemurs' habitat-"
"Fine by me."
"Yeah... but that's not why I came here. I just over heard the people talking". Her voice dropped to a whisper. "And I found out The Lunacorns have been cancelled." Skipper quickly glanced over at Private who was busy defending himself against Rico's attempts to put him in a chokehold. Considering the size difference, he was doing fairly well.
"Are you SURE Marlene?" he hissed.
"Reasonably. We should talk to Phil and Mason but-"
"GET OUT OF MY BOUNCY!" King Julien's voice reverberated from the lemur habitat. "You rats are very much common! And not lemurs! So get out!" Skipper sighed and rubbed his beak with his flipper.
"You get back to your habitat, we'll take care of this."
"But, Ski-" But Skipper had dived from his perch in his habitat and began to swim around to build up speed. Rico, Private, and Kowalski followed him. The penguins used their speeds to get out of the water, to vault over the fence and then they landed on their stomachs and immediately began sliding towards the lemur's habitat. Marlene just sighed and used the inter-zoo water system to get back to her own habitat.
"Massive rodent, state your objective." The penguins easily got into their defensive mode, which meant Skipper taking the lead while the three backed him up and prepared to fight.
"Yo, we was just takin' this habitat... I mean askin' to share it, right?" the rat tried to explain, while he held the lemurs upside down.
"They are NOT asking to share my wonderous domain! They took MY stuff! It is MINE! Oh, and they also wish to control our food. And they took Mort." King Julien scrambled to hold on to his crown while Maurice just sighed.
"YAY! I'M A HOSTAGE!" Mort's muffled cry came from somewhere in the bag over the rat's shoulder.
"And you are not acting innocent. Men, Operation: Jane Goodall!" Skipper threw Rico who vomited a smokebomb at the rats' feet. Private jumped onto Kowalski who threw him at the large rat. Private hit the rat and the rat fell so the rat struck his head on the stone dais in the habitat.
"Give up. Rodent, and we might let you live." Skipper ordered as his team jumped back into formation.
"I don't think so, especially since the chubby one should be out crying"
"This is pure muscle, perfect for a living weapon." Skipper threatened.
"No, not you, the young one. I thought he would be out since The Lunacorns were cancelled."
"What?" Private asked as he broke formation, but the rat turned around so his tail could attempt to knock out the crew before escaping. All but Private dodged.
"Well, we're off to save Sad Eyes." Skipper waddled over to Private who had curled himself up in a ball. "You can NOT get weepy, Soldier. We have work to do."
The penguins attempted to plan their next move. Private's sobbing while he held his Princess Self-Respectia unicorn style Lunacorn doll had long since moved from "annoying subordination" to "possibly treason".
"As we know, the rats' sewer base and close ties make it hard for us penguns to sneak into the base. " Kowalski shouted over Private's din. "And due to Officer X being fired due to... possibly us, we can not trick animal control into taking the rats out."
"And they could take out Sa- Private! At attention!" Private's sobbing slowed down until he only hiccupped. He slowly stood up. "You have solo training to accomplish. I want you to RUN around the zoo ten times, then wake up the chimps to confirm what the rats said about The Lunacorns, have I made myself clear?" Skipper was only inches away from Private's beak, who nodded frantically.
"Yes, Skipper! I understand Skipper!" Private fled from the room to begin his exercises.
"As I was saying, we may want to just try the direct approach."
"That is the best one! Rico, we'll even let you make things kaboom." Skipper slapped Rico on the back, and he vomited up a bomb.
"Couldn't this have waited until morning?" Mason, the speaking chimp, blearily moved along in the moonlight. His companion, Phil-aka the one who could read but not talk- nodded beside him.
"I .suppose but Skipper ordered it to be done now."
"That penguin needs to unders-" But the three hid as soon as they approached a ranger station, a light was on.
"Yes, I understand. But we don't have any transfer records. I'm looking at the computer now. Coney island is not supposed to transfer animals over here." Alice, the human zookeeper could be heard behind the window. No one in the zoo understood how she could keep her job, she openly hated the animals and children. "Look, all I can tell you is that if we were supposed to get that menagerie, it would have showed up on the shipping lists." She listened "No, we don't have the space for-" But her voice grew faint and a door slammed.
"Sorry, Private, it looks like the rats told the truth. " Mason translated for Phil's sign language. "Lagging sales of merchandise and a lowered viewership caused the Nickbro company to cancel The Lunacorns. The remaining episodes will be aired, but after that..." Private didn't even notice Phil and Mason dragging him out the window as Alice suddenly returned.
"Ah, Private, you're back! We're going to attempt to use my-" a visibly blackened Kowalski trailed off as Private slowly slid down the stairs to their base. "I take it-"
"Yes, but the chimps and I overheard something else." Private said dejectedly. "Where's Skipper?"
"Over here!" Skipper waddled over from a corner where he had spread out a map of the New York sewer station. "What is it, Private?" Rico appeared and vomited up a pen which he handed over to Skipper.
"We're getting an unexpected transfer from Coney Island" Private mumbled. "And The Lunacorns were cancelled."
"An unexpected transfer... that IS strange." Skipper began to pace and stroked the bottom of his beak with his flipper. " And Alice knew nothing about this? Was it one or many?" Skipper turned on his heel to see Private quietly hugging his Lunacorn doll. "Oh, it was cancelled, wasn't it?" Private nodded.
"Not enough people watching and buying things, Skipper. It's a good show!"
"Er, yes, of course it is." Skipper flubbed. "I still need you on the ball for this mission though! We need information from the humans and we need to rescue Mort."
"Aye, aye, Skipper." Private sighed. Skipper waddled over.
"And, when this is over, you get to watch a Lunacorn episode. IF you do well."
"Yes. But we have a job to do first!" Skipper placed his flippers behind his back, Private snapped to the "Attention" position.
"SIR! YES! SIR!" Kowalski hefted his shrink-ray, and Rico grinned that barely sane grin.
The penguins slid on the ground until they reached the manhole. Rico vomited up a stick of TNT and they slipped into the hole, then used the walls of the sewer to jump and propel themselves forward above the ground so they could avoid any booby traps the rats or they themselves set up.
"What the deuce?" Unfortunately, the rats had thought of that and strung floss across the sewer walls to trip up the penguins.
"Ha ha! Gotcha this time." The lead rodent (who was easily three times the penguins size and so muscular that it would make any body builder jealous). "I see you're back for your tiny compadre"
"A. penguin never leaves an animal behind. Give us back Sad Eyes." Skipper, as always, took point. Rico vomited up scissors and began to cut through the floss.
"Nope, a hostage is good. We keep him, we get that lemur's food."
"But Ringtail hates Sad Eyes. They only reason he keeps him around is to kick him, to have someone to worship Ringtail, and to have a menial servant." Rico cut through his floss and began to work on Kowalski and Private. "Plus, he wouldn't give up his food anyway. That lemur defines the word greedy."
"So, no fresh food?"
"Nope. Rico!" A quick tug and all the floss broke except for a strand they all clasped and swung to the side of the sewer where there was a small pathway. The four pulled themselves into attackmode, but had to duck from the tail attack again.
"Spice up your style, giant rodent" Skipper taunted. The penguins performed a slow tactical retreat to lure the rats into the zoo. The rats charged and the four scattered. Skipper slid across the zoo ground, up a wall, and corkscrewed onto the leader rat. Kowalski put the shrink-ray to good use by shrinking most of the rats. Private and Rico got the rest by Private using Rico as a machine gun and hitting them with bubblegum balls.
"Oh! My Mort! " Julien scrambled through the rats. "Where are you so I can kick you?" He pulled the mouse lemur from the jumble of bodies. "Oh, there you are."
"YAY! I'm rescued!"
"Yes, and now I can kick you once you hug my feet."
"Kick? Yes! My cold fu-" Kowalski was beaned by a thrown peach. The large rat shook off Julien and Skipper and stood up.
"Is that all you got birdies? Man, why did we lose to you before?" The rat mashed his fist into his hand.
"Rico?" Rico vomited up a video tape, strung out the tape and threw it over the rat. This was followed by string, twine, rope, and floss. The rat overbalanced, and fell over. "And that's why we always win."
"Hey... this is my Lunacorn tape!"
"So, we can use my cold fusion reactor to run my dimensionator!" Kowalski cheerfully explained to the bored crew. Private was half-listening, but was mostly focused on brushing Princess Self-Respectia. Skipper was attempting to play chess with Rico, but Rico kept on chainsawing pieces off the board.
"Ooh, you are making a machine to make dimes? I must have it! That way I can buy a new crown, a new, bouncy, and a new Mort!" Julien skittered down into the base through the hole under the penguins food dish.
"No, Skipper, I must hear of this! Maurice? Take down the royal notes." Maurice, an aye-aye, couldn't fit the notepad through the hole, so he went around to the back entrance with the larger door.
"No notes. You're not using it." Skipper demanded.
"OUT!" Skipper ordered. Julien scrambled out as Rico threw things at him. Maurice was right behind him. "Continue..."
"Well, it will tap into our brainwaves, find out what we most desire, and finds a dimension that matches that. Then, we use this button-" he pulled out a device with a red button on it. "...and warp ourselves back here. I suggest we use Private as our first test, once I completely finish attaching the power source and testing if the machine works."
"What? Why me?"
"Yeah, why him?" Skipper repeated in an insulted tone of voice.
"Well, you are rather... paranoid, Skipper. And violent. Any dimension of yours we may not be able to escape easily. Rico is... Rico. His love of violence and all... and well... sci-fi doesn't look good for anything that isn't a robot."
Point taken. Private, give him a flipper."
"No buts. Drop the pony and-" The other three penguins tackled Private.
"What about the transfers?" Private asked under the pile of penguins as they managed to get part of a flipper onto the device.
"Oh, good point." Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski got off and the four slid off to the zoo headquarters. Behind them, the machine crackled into life.
"Jack... castle... Prin... Sel...tia...ner...nice..."
It was empty, so the four took up their normal hiding spaces. Skipper hid in the shelves behind the desk, Kowalski hid in the filing cabinet, Rico hid in the water tank, and Private hid in the desk itself. They rummaged for any information about the transfer, but struck gold when Alice came into the room.
"Listen, I don't care what you say. We don't have the room for all of those animals. Our aquatic section is rather low. And I don't think you want some of them sharing space with the otter." She paced the room, and sat down in front of the computer. She brought up some invoice and began to tap on the keys in a rather annoyed way. This wasn't too different from her normal behavior. "Look, the penguins don't have enough room for the others either." Another pause. "Yeah, we may have room for the bunny. What harm can it do?" Alice sighed. "Fine, ready the shipping orders."
"Yes, of COURSE we need to bring the giant bunny along, it's in the shipping orders!" one of the humans yelled out. Something big was happening on Coney Island that day. The star attraction, the dolphin, was being moved to a new location... along with the giant bunny, a group of lobsters, and the puffin that was a transfer from the Hoboken Zoo. Now they were all being transferred to the Central Park Zoo.
"Will this work?" a lobster whispered.
"Of course it will, red one. Now that I have my memory back, we can attack Skipper on his home turf. He will never expect it."
"Well, we're leaving." Skipper waddled around the hall. "We need to test this invention before the new residents come."
"But, what if someone finds our base?" Kowalski asked.
"Well, we can deal with that when the time comes. We will have even LESS time to do any of our work. Especially if it's one of our nemeses being transferred." Skipper continued to pace.
"But none of them can be transferred... I think." Kowalski rubbed underneath his beak and then took out his notebook.
"Even better." Skipper slammed his flipper onto the table. Chess pieces fell to the floor. "Private, give Kowalski a flipper."
"NOW!" Fighting every inch of the way, Private was forced to put his flipper onto the machine. Instantly the machine registered the four penguins and warped them out.
"Private, is your deepest desire to meet with the LUNACORNS?" The four penguin commandos stood in the middle of a large room, surrounded by at least eight pastel colored horse like creatures.