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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 25 - Dantz and Barrel Get Out of Jail

The two plainclothes police officers hustled Dantz into the interrogation room. The young Digger was shoved into an uncomfortable chair while the big, ugly policeman locked the door. He nervously looked around the small, unfurnished room, which only held another chair and empty table besides the chair in which Dantz now rested. There was also a mirror on the wall, which was very large. There was something funny about the mirror, though. Dantz thought if he tried hard enough, he could almost see something else inside it.

"Listen up, son," said the small, ugly policeman. "We know you were involved in that bank robbery. Tell us what you know and we might be able to...go easy on you."

"No, we won't," objected the big, ugly policeman, loosening his tie. "I'm gonna beat you within an inch of your life if you don't come clean."

"But I didn't..."

The small, ugly policeman leaned forward, supporting his weight with his hands. "Look, we don't want to have to do anything uncivilized here, but there was a lot of money stolen from that bank. A lot of money. Our higher-ups, they want to know what happened, and they expect results."

"Oh, he's gonna get some 'results,'" said the big, ugly policeman menacingly. "The main 'result' is gonna be his face flattened against the ground."

Dantz swallowed hard. "I really didn't have anything to do with---"

"You think we don't know how it is on the streets?" asked the small, ugly policeman sympathetically. "You don't have any clean clothes, food, or a place to sleep, right, and then some slick dude comes up and says, 'Hey, I know a way for you to make some quick cash, you want in?' So, of course you say yes."

"What? I don't live on the street."

"You won't for long," growled the big, ugly policeman. "You'll be living in a maximum security prison. Believe me, there are tons of guys in there just looking for a nice, pretty, tanned piece of tail like you. Maybe you should get ready. Practice saying 'I'm your bitch' for me. Let's hear it. Who's my bitch?"

"I'm your---hey, wait a second. I shouldn't go to prison for doing nothing wrong---"

"Ideally, no," said the big, ugly cop, "but that's not how the system works. Someone has to pay for the crime, and you're were right there."

"That's not fair!"

The small, ugly policeman reached over and patted Dantz's hand reassuringly. "Look, kid, you're want to be a good Quarrwumpian, don't you?"

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"If you love Quarrwump, you'll confess to your crimes. Don't you love Quarrwump?"

"Yeah," the big, ugly policeman said. "a patriotic Quarrwumpian citizen would do anything his government tells him to do. Do you want to be labeled as un-Quarrwumpian?"

"I'm not even from Quarrwump!" Dantz protested.

Both cops inhaled dramatically and exchanged shocked looks. "A foreigner, eh?" said the big, ugly cop. "That means you don't have any rights, you realize. We would be perfectly justified in beating a confession out of you."

"This is insane!"

"I'll tell you what's insane," said the small, ugly policeman. "What's insane is some foreign national coming in here and thinking he can make off with money that belongs to good Quarrwumpian citizens, that's what's insane! And if you think we're going to let you get away with it, then you've---"

"Get away with WHAT?!" Dantz shouted. "I didn't steal any money from that bank!"

"So what were you doing there?" asked the big, ugly cop suspiciously.

"I know," said the small, ugly cop. "He must be a terrorist."

Before Dantz could say anything to refute this claim, the big, ugly police officer hefted him out of his chair and slammed him onto the floor, pressing his cheek against the cold linoleum. Then, the big, ugly police officer removed his handgun from his shoulder holster and pressed it to Dantz's left temple. "There's nothing I hate more than a terrorist," he hissed. "Just give me an excuse to pull this trigger---just one little twitch..."

"Hey, stop it," said the smaller officer, pulling his large companion off the shivering Dantz.

"These filthy foreign bastards just make me lose my cool," the big one apologized.

"I was never even at any bank," said Dantz as he pulled himself shakingly back into his chair, "and I wasn't involved in any robbery! Why won't you believe me?"

"A Birdbot was seen robbing the Second Quarrwump Bank," said the small, ugly policeman calmly. "You were seen aiding and abetting that Birdbot. End of story."

"I keep telling you, that wasn't my Birdbot! I just thought it was, but it was a different one!"

"Not to mention the fact that you resisted arrest," said the bigger man.

"I really didn't do anything wrong!" Dantz said. "I swear!"

"You'd best confess, punk," said the smaller one. "We've got the Birdbot in custody, and we've got your ringleader in interrogation even as we speak. Once he confessess, it'll be too late for you to strike a deal."

"Just give me an excuse," the ugly, blond police officer begged Barrel, pointing his handgun at the old Digger's left temple. "Just one little twitch..."

Barrel laughed. "Are you gonna shoot me, sonny? Better go ahead and do it, then, 'cause I ain't confessing."

The blond officer grunted and threw Barrel back into his uncomfortable chair. "Sorry," he apologized to the other officer, "but these filthy foreign bastards make me lose my cool."

Barrel slapped his knee as he cackled. "Are you two following some sort of script? The cop shows on TV aren't nearly this entertaining." He looked at the ugly, blond officer. "By the way, the next time you threaten to shoot somebody in the head, you'd better make sure it isn't protected by Reaverbot armor!" Barrel clanged his knuckles against the metal plate that covered the left half of his skull. "Or at least point the gun at the other side."

"Look," said the ugly, red-headed policeman, "a Birdbot was seen robbing the Second Bank of Quarrwump. Minutes later, we arrested you in the company of a Birdbot. End of story."

"That's the flimsiest logic I've ever heard," Barrel said. "You don't have any evidence or I'd have already been formally charged by now."

"Oh, you'll be formally charged," said the blond officer, "as soon as we wring a confession out of your accomplice! He's being questioned this very minute."

"Dantz isn't smart enough to lie. He'll just tell the truth over and over until you let him go, no matter what kind of strong-arm tactics you use."

The red-headed officer looked knowingly at the old Digger. "We have reason to suspect this 'Dantz' of yours is, in fact, the wanted pirate Glyde Wingstar, a known member of the Loath Syndicate."

"Aside from the fact that Glyde and Dantz look nothing alike," said Barrel, "what else gives you reason to suspect that?"

"How do you know what Glyde Wingstar looks like?"

"He and I have met before," Barrel said.

"Aha!" exclaimed the blond, ugly cop, slamming his fists on the table. "So you admit you've had congress with wanted criminals!?"

Barrel snorted. "If by 'congress with' you mean 'destroyed various weapons belonging to,' and 'foiled evil schemes of,' then yes, I've had congress with Glyde."

"Look," said the redhead, "the evidence is incontrovertible. Glyde works with Birdbots. You and your friend were found with a Birdbot---"

"---End of story?" finished Barrel. "Once again, your deductive reasoning overwhelms my old brain cells. I'll bet you can't even establish that our Birdbot was the one which committed the robbery, can you?"

"I...I..." stuttered the red-headed cop.

"It doesn't matter!" shouted the ugly, blond cop. "Sooner or later one of you is gonna slip up, and then you're all going to the charlie house...I mean, the big orange line...I mean---"

"What are you talking about?" asked the redhead.

"Jail, Ed! They're going to jail! Is that plain enough for you?!"

Barrel sighed. He had met Reaverbots smarter than these two.

"Are you sure?" asked the uniformed policeman.

"It sounds stupid, I know," said Quackard, "but it's true. Errrerrrrhhh! I'm the janitor, and when I was tidying up this cell, the door slammed shut on me!"

"I don't know, that sounds kind of made up..."

"Keh keh! C'mon, who would make up a story like that? It sounds made up, so logically, it must be true."

"Okay," said the policeman, unlocking the cell door.

"Thanks," said Quackard, stepping out of his captivity. "Tell you what: I'm not quite done in here, so why don't you go ahead? I need to finish up cleaning the, uh, bars."

"Sure," said the policeman, and he left as Quackard pretended to dust off the cell bars with his feathers.

The Birdbot waited a few minutes, then tiptoed out the outer door. Luckily, his diminutive stature let him easily sneak past the high dispatcher's desk. He sneaked quietly out of the police offices, hearing a Quarrwump City housewife complain loudly about her neighbor's twenty-three cats.

"You need to go to Animal Control, ma'am," said the officer of the day.

As Quackard stepped lightly into the hallway, he felt torn in two directions. The exit was just feet away from him, begging to be used, but something was pulling him in another direction. It was all Roll's fault, of course. She'd installed that damnable Conscience Chip in him. Two years ago, he would have left Dantz and Barrel to rot in jail without a moment's remorse. Now, his revised programming was ordering him to disobey his survival insticts. This left Quackard frozen in indecision, unable to even step in either direction.

"Errrerrrhhheeeerrrgg!" he squawked at length.

Fortunately, the decision was taken from him.

"Quackard!" Roll yelled gladly as she came through the front door. "I'm so glad you're okay!" Quackard felt himself pressed against delightfully soft parts of Roll as she lifted him up in a hug.

"Don't squeeze me too hard, baby," he said. "I bruise easily. Honk."

Quackard explained the perilous, overly complicated situation to Roll, who was at length amused, horrified, and finally, furious. "..and now, your grandpa and Dantz the Doofus are stuck in the interrogation rooms, probably blabbing their hearts out."

"Those bullies!" she growled. "I'm gonna teach them to mess with my boys. Come on." She dragged Quackard to through the corridors, stopping abruptly and returning to one marked DNA/Memory Evidence.

Now the cops had forced Dantz to take off his shirt and pants, leaving him clad only in boxer shorts. "I'm pretty sure this is a violation of my civil liberties, guys," he said.

"I hate liberal, yuppie freaks like you who think they know everything about everything," said the big, ugly cop. "Were in a war out there, you hear me? A war. I risk my life every single freakin' day and do I ever get any thanks? Of course not!"

"It wasn't Quackard that robbed the bank," Dantz repeated. "It was a different Birdbot."

"The problem, son," said the small, ugly cop, "is that we found a weapon on your person."

"What are you talking about?" Dantz asked, thinking that the big ugly cop probably wouldn't be receiving any thank-yous from people he stripped down and tried to humilate in the interrogation rooms. He knew better than to say that by this point, though.

"You don't know what we're talking about, eh?" sneered the big, ugly policeman. He slapped down the Zetsabre on top of the table. "So, you deny this is yours?"

"That's a Zetsabre!" Dantz said incredulously. "I won it at the arcade. It's not a weapon!"

"So, it IS yours?" asked the small, ugly cop.

"Well, yeah, but it's still not a weapon."

"Not a weapon, huh?" asked the big, ugly cop sarcastically. He switched on the Zetsabre and began poking Dantz with the glowing, buzzing toy. "Is it a weapon now?" he taunted, slapping Dantz's bare legs with it. "Is a weapon now?!!"

"Stop it!" Dantz hollered, his eyes starting to tear over. "Stop it!" This had gone too far. "I'm starting to feel uncomfortable!..."

"Is it a weapon n---"

"STOP IT!!" screamed a new voice authoritatively.

"Oh, thank the Ancients," Dantz said, sinking to his knees.

Roll Caskett stood in the doorway, a man in a dark business suit next to her. The man looked displeased, but Roll bore a look of such hatred and disgust Dantz was almost frightened, save that he knew it was directed at his tormentors. She started to launch herself at the big, ugly cop, but the man in the suit held her back. "What the hell is going on in here?"

"We were just---"

"Shut up!" hollered the man. "I hope you both will forgive us," he said, looking both and Dantz and at Barrel, who was standing just behind Roll. "Please feel free to take your things, get dressed, and leave."

Roll helped Dantz replace his clothes, then had to lead him by hand out of the police station. When they had gotten on the subway headed for the airfield, Dantz started crying again, so Roll had to cradle his head on her shoulder for the entire ride home, murmuring comforting phrases into his ear. As they exited the train. Dantz refused to let go of her, holding on with both hands as she led him back to the Flutter.

"It was horrible," Dantz said as he collapsed onto the couch. "Horrible..."

"I'll make some tea," Barrel offered, ducking into the kitchen.

"How did you get us out of there?" Dantz asked.

"It wasn't too hard," Roll told her Digger. "I just had the detectives scan Quackard's memory files for any evidence, or lack thereof. Once they'd seen he was never even in the bank, they had to let him go. They didn't really have any stuff on you or Grandpa to begin with, except that they caught you with a Birdbot. They had no choice but to release you."

"That reminds me---I forgot to ask, Quackard," Dantz said weakly as Roll massaged his shoulders, "how did you do at the casino?"

"Waaaaaak!" Quackard quacked nervously. "I, um...rather than tell you the actual amount I lost, I think I'll merely suggest---keh!---that we take off immediately and not stop until we reach the other side of the equator. Errrrauuugh!"

"You're kidding," Roll said, kneading some of the tension out of her Digger, knowing the emotional scars might never totally heal.

"No! Keh-keh! In fact, I think I'll go lift off right now." The Birdbot scampered out of the living room, no doubt heading for the cockpit.

"He promised he wouldn't use the Flutter as collateral anymore," Roll said. "I can't believe he lost that much again."

"It's okay," said Dantz. "I'm sure we'll make at least double that back when we sue the Quarrwump City Municipal PD for police brutality." Dantz flashed a grin at her, and from the look in his eyes, Roll knew her Digger was going be all right.

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