Chapter 12: The Chase (Part Two)
“Juubaka, chi nadja shi Jumba kanoka. Ka 32-92-8,” Stitch commanded the computer.
“What did you say?” came Lilo’s voice.
“Car on autopilot.”
He took out his plasma blaster, and pointed it to the sky.
Just got to keep it steady, and…
A branch flew out of nowhere, and he fell back into his seat… the plasma blaster went off, and hit the left wing engine of Gantu’s craft.
Not exactly what I was aiming at…
“Argh! That trog blew out the navigational relay and the main engine!”
“Warning: Navigational relay offline. Main engine has been incapacitated,” droned the computer needlessly.
“Why… won’t… you… hold… still!”
Lilo aimed once more, but yet again scooped a bunch of dirt.
This experiment is a tough one, she thought.
“All right, once more…”
She slowly dragged the controls to her left.
“A little more… got it!”
She pressed the Activate button. The capture cannon burst into life. In a matter of seconds, it had scooped up something.
“Bio-reading complete. Object identified as: soil.”
Lilo banged the dashboard with her head.
“Why, why, why….”
Her musings were interrupted, however, by a wail and a giant detonation. She peeked over her shoulder. A large mushroom-shaped cloud was hanging over a large crater about 15 feet in diameter. And emerging from the cloud, sprinting as if his life depended on it, was Gantu.
“You haven’t won yet!” he yelled at the buggy.
“Give it up, big dummy!” Lilo shouted back.
“Do not call me that! Never call me that! This isn’t over!” Gantu shouted, even though his joints were getting seized up from all the running. He halted and slumped against a tree. All those chase scenes were really taking their toll…
While he waited for his energy to recharge, he studied the surrounding landscape. The foliage looked strangely familiar…
Abruptly, he heard the slow “putt-putt” hum of a primitive land-based vehicle made in the Earth-year 1915. An automobile, going by the name of “Model-T”.
He looked around, but could see nothing that would make such a sound. Curious, he followed the noise.
Three minutes and about 800 crushed trees later, he came to a large, very long piece of tarmac commonly known to humans as a “road”. Rolling along it at about 20mph was an incredibly simplistic earth-bound transportation device, powered by the combustion of petroleum and other fossil fuels via four crude cylinder shafts.
Gantu stood for about five minutes, inquisitively watching this marvel of ancient technology, before he realised how significant it’s presence was.
If there is a road hardly 200 meters from that experiment’s course, then I can get to the fore of the trog and the little earth-girl and catch the experiment first!
Gantu, marvelling at his good fortune, started jogging down the road, humming “93 Bottles of Pop on the Wall”.
“So that is the so-called ‘experiment catcher’ Gantu?”
628, hidden from view, examined the large fish with legs as he plodded down the street.
“I see he has a communicator… he won’t be needing that any more…”
Lilo jiggled up and down as Stitch steered the buggy down five flights of steps.
“Can’t we go down the ramp? Before lunch comes back up on me.”
“Naga, no ramp.”
By now the experiment was far out of sight, somewhere down the Kumuwela-Kokee Trail.
The buggy launched itself off the last step and landed with a thump on “Kumuwela Road” as Stitch preformed an intensely tight turn to avoid the wall of trees in front of them.
It was a few minutes before the computer beeped, however not about the experiment.
“Warning: humanoid lifeform within 200m,” it chirped.
Stitch slammed on the breaks. As they came to a halt, Lilo saw whom it the computer was referring to.
“It’s the big dummy!”
Sure enough, Gantu, unconscious, lay sprawled out in the midway of the lane of asphalt and gravel. Slightly buried in a pile of soil were his belt, experiment container and an electrical device, which looked similar to a mobile phone.
“What happened to him?”
Lilo hopped out and examined the scene.
“His blaster’s missing!”
Stitch nodded and seized the device. Wiping some of the sludge off it, he played around with the object, before turning it off.
“Ih, scarra tica juaba!”
“Communicator memory wiped.”
She thought about it for a minute.
“Umm… that… er… that someone used it and didn’t want anyone to know about it! But who would want to do that…”
Suddenly there was a murmur. Gantu had awoken.
“What happened… hey, what are you doing with my communicator? Give it back!”
Stitch threw it to the ground and jumped back into the buggy as the large whale-like creature got to his feet. Lilo, following his cue, jumped in the driver’s seat and started the ignition.
“Computer, autopilot, Waimea Canyon, and step on it!”
The buggy sped off.
“Why is it not being here?”
Jumba upturned the living room couch, unsettling a large pile of dust.
“Looking for something?”
Pleakly stood at the door, watching Jumba’s fruitless attempts.
“Yes! Someone has… achoo… stolen my all-in-one… achoo… key!”
“You mean the one for the buggy?”
“No! Buggy is having own key… achoo! I am leaving on… achoo… large wooden plank upon which… achoo… humans make with the chewing…achoo… and swallowing of nutrients…”
“You mean the dining table?”
“Is what I… achoo… say!”
He sniffed noisily.
“Now where is cardboard box which is being filled with many very thin pieces of heavily-compressed tree fibre…”
“You mean the tissue-box?”
“Yes! Is what I…”
“I think it’s in the buggy which…” Pleakly squinted through the window-blinds… “is not here. You can have my spare… which is… somewhere…”
“Oh great… achoo!”
Experiment 628 stopped.
He pulled out something and examined it carefully. It looked like a blob of melted metal.
“So this is Jumba’s all-in-one key? Very clever, he disguised it as a worthless bit of rubbish. This will be very, very useful…”