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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 23 - Dantz and Barrel Go to Jail

The Municipal Criminal Detention Facility of Quarrwump City, Quarrwump Island was large and white on the inside. Surprisingly, it was also quite clean. Still, the brightness and sterility did nothing to alleviate the depression that always seemed to come upon Dantz as he realized that, like it or not, he was stuck in jail.

"I can't believe this," Dantz said. At least he wasn't alone in his imprisonment.

"Shut up, Dantz," said Quackard, following with an ear-curdling squawk.

Dantz crossed his arms huffily. "I still think this is all your fault."

"Keh! It's not my fault that all Birdbots look alike! I wouldn't even be in here if we didn't."

"Settle down, boys," Barrel interjected, cackling slightly. "It's not like being in jail's such a big thing. When I was your age, Dantz, I'd already been thrown in jail about eight times already! 'Course, that was usually for 'drunk and disorderly' and not for armed robbery..." The old Digger spread his hands. "I'd rather you didn't tell Roll about that, of course."

"You told me you were going to be at the hamburger stand and you weren't!" Dantz accused Quackard, pretty much ignoring Barrel's comments.

"I was there, you moron! I was just late. Honk."

Dantz laughed erratically. "What was that?" He laughed a little more.

Quackard gave Dantz a frustrated stare. "That was just my 'bird noises' program. I honked."

The younger Digger started laughing uncontrollably now. "You didn't honk, you just said 'honk.' There's a difference." Dantz started giggling, a little punch-drunk from the day's events.

"I still don't know why they arrested me," Barrel said with melancholy. "Just because I was with you guys when they caught up to you..."

"I think we're being railroaded," Dantz said seriously. He leaned forward on the bunk, put both fists on his cheeks, and mournfully reflected upon the strange circumstances that had resulted in his being thrown in prison.

Earlier, that morning...

"What's up, guys?" Dantz asked as he closed the door to Roll's workshop. Roll, Barrel, and Quackard were all waiting for him.

"I was about to try and start this thing up again," Roll said, indicating the Reaverbot's toy, "and I wanted us all to be in the same room in case the ship blew up or something."

Dantz nodded. "That sounds like a good idea." He remembered the last time Roll had tried to start up the little, monkey-shaped machine. He'd been stuck in the shower and had to run around naked for---no, that was the FIRST time. The last time, Roll's workshop had caught on fire, and Quackard had been forced to inhale fifteen gallons of seawater to put it out, mostly because Dantz had spent the previous day writing, "Happy Birthday, Roll," on the side of the Flutter with the fire extinguisher. Quackard had spent the next week belching up seawater in various rooms and forcing Dantz to clean it up. The Digger was fairly certain the Birdbot was periodically inhaling excess water from the ocean, but once he'd told Roll about it, the puddles stopped appearing.

The real tragedy of it all was that it hadn't even been Roll's birthday.

Roll jabbed the electrical wire into the back of the toy, jump-starting it once again. The toy buzzed and blinked, sparking and bobbling on the table. Then, it lay still. "Well," said Roll, "back to the drawing board, I guess. I really thought I'd fixed the movement circuits this time."

"Ummm..." said Barrel. Dantz was speechless.

"I think you did fix them---ehhhrrrrauuugh!" said Quackard, pointing a wing at the work table.

All four peered silently as the machine Dantz had found in the underwater Ruins began slowly moving its stubby arms and legs, then slowly stood up on the table. It opened its huge brown eyes, blinked them a couple times, then said in a squeaky, high-pitched voice, "Tron, Teisel, what's going on? Hello? Hey, I sound just like Data!" It looked at Barrel, then Roll, and then it shook its head in an odd fashion.

Dantz stared at Roll, stupefied, as the little toy began twirling its hands and dancing in a distinct pattern. "That was different."

"Yeah," she said, adjusting her cap. "At least it's working now..."

"Eee!" said the toy.

"Can't you talk anymore?" Barrel asked it.

The toy danced a little more, then said, "Eeee! Eee! Ee ee!"

"I guess not," Dantz said.

"What are you talking about?" said Quackard. "It IS talking."

"Maybe I should tweak your programming a little," said Roll.

Barrel adjusted his Reaverbot eye. "What did it say?"

"Keh keh! It said 'Thank you for fixing me,' and, 'Where's MegaMan?'"

Dantz looked at Quackard in disbelief. "Well, whoever or whatever built this thing, we can know one thing for sure: he was polite but had absolutely no taste in television programs."

"Shut up," growled Roll, who was a huge fan of that particular TV series.

"Quieten down, children," admonished Barrel.

"I'm bored," Quackard complained, fluttering in place on his high stool. "Can we go into town yet, or what? Keh!"

Roll began putting away her tools, never taking her eyes off the strange artifact, which was still dancing in place. "I think I want to stay here and keep an eye on this thing. I'm still not sure what it does."

"We can't keep calling it the 'thing,'" said Barrel. "Maybe we should give it a name."

"How about Da---"

"No," Roll said, cutting Dantz off before he could get out the name, "we won't be calling it 'Dantz Junior.'"

"I like 'Quackard the Second,'" said Quackard. "It has a nice ring to it, and we could call it 'Q-Two' for short. Errrruuuuullllerrrhhh!"

"Actually," said Dantz, "I wasn't going to suggest 'Dantz Jr.' this time. I figured we could call it 'Data,' since that's what he sounds like, apparently." The toy monkey itself seemed to like this suggestion. It began hopping up and down frantically, hooting and hollering.

"Do you like that name, Data?" asked Roll.

Quackard clapped his wings over where his ears might well have been had he been human. "Errruuugggh! Yes, he likes it! Make him stop chattering so much!"

Since Roll wanted to stay and study Data some more, the others said good-bye to her and exited the Flutter, promising to be back from their excursion to Quarrwump City within two hours. Barrel excused himself from the group as they entered the large city, saying he was off to get a cup of coffee and some groceries.

"I heard that they had a really AWESOME arcade here in town," Dantz said to Quackard after Barrel had left. "You wanna go check it out?"

Quackard began cawing so rapidly that Dantz almost thought it sounded like laughter. "Yeah, that sounds great, Dantz. And I'm sure you're going to meet a lot---errrrreeeerrrr---of girls in an arcade, too, but I don't think---keh---that it's the place for me. I'm gonna see if anyplace has some table games around here. And maybe have a drink."

"Try not to lose too much," Dantz said. "We're not made of money, you know."

"Yeah," said Quackard, "I know. Let's meet up later. Errr!" He pointed to an outdoor snack bar. "How bout that place, about noon? Sound good? Keh."

"Sure thing," Dantz said. "See you in an hour." Humming and skipping, Dantz counted his refractors as he headed towards the arcade.

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