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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 33 - What A Nice Boy

"Where are you going?" Dantz asked loudly as Roll hopped out of the Flutter. The Digger stopped at the large hole in the ship's side, calling after the girl. "We should stick together!"

"Shut up!" Roll called back. "I'll be in town! Don't come after me!"

"Roll!..." Dantz shouted, following after her but, failing to remember that he was several feet above the ground, he stumbled out of the gap in the Flutter's hull and tumbled to the grass-covered ground. This particular landing was so painful that it made his earlier one---piloting down the Flutter after impacting with one of the city walls---look genius by comparison. Dantz rubbed his head where he had bumped it. He was still wearing his Digger's armor, but the helmet had fallen off during his fall.

As Dantz was scanning the ground around him to find it, he heard police sirens off in the distance. What was Roll's problem now? She had just given that blue refractor to Glyde like it had been nothing. Nothing at all! As much as Dantz wanted to, he probably couldn't blame Glyde for Roll's actions. Dantz had gotten to his feet and had begun dusting himself off as the police cars approached the Flutter. He stood stock still.

"Is everyone okay?" asked a big man in a trenchcoat. He had a prominent mustache and wore a fedora. "Is there anything we can do for you? Anyone requiring medical assistance? We have a very good hospital in town, you know."

"Oh, no!" Dantz cried, hopping back into the Flutter. "Barrel, Barrel, help! The police are here! Don't let them take me in!"

"Settle down," Barrel said, putting a calming hand on Dantz's shoulder. The old Digger was still clad in a mauve bathrobe, as he had been unable to find a few moments to change during the Flutter's recent ordeal. "I'll handle this. You stay right here, got it?"

Dantz nodded weakly, hiding behind the edge of the rip in the Flutter's side. There was no way he was going to jail again. He'd shoot his way out if he had to!

Barrel climbed down the Flutter's ladder, no doubt unwilling to give his old bones the jolt of simply jumping out. He lifted the bathrobe so that the hem would not scrape the grass, waving at the police officers. "Sorry about that," he called to the police. "My young friend had a...bad experience recently with the police. On a different island, of course."

"That's too bad," sympathized the plainclothes policeman.

"We want to apologize for crashing into your city wall back there," said Barrel. "As you can see, we've recently been attacked by pirates." Dantz noticed that Barrel was stretching the truth slightly. The crash had merely been a result of Dantz's substandard flying skills---Roll's fault, because she refused to come out of her room---and not in any way related to Glyde's attack on the Flutter. Still, Dantz silently applauded the old man for trying to keep them both out of prison!

"As long as everyone's all right," said the policeman. "I'm Burris, Chief Inspector of the Kattleox Island Police, by the way."

"A pleasure," Barrel said. "I'm Barrel Casket, and the young man you so recently met was Dantz the Digger. You may have seen my granddaughter Roll fleeing into town just a few minutes ago---a silly family matter, I assure you, and nothing that you need concern yourselves about." Dantz flinched. He'd hoped Barrel had not realized the reason for Roll's flight.

"Of course," agreed the Inspector. "Mr. Caskett, one of your party will need to accompany me to the city's administrative district, where you can apply for your immigration permits. You'll all need ID cards while you're staying here."

"That seems kind of...obsessive," Barrel said.

"Yes, well, there are a lot of Ruins on Kattleox Island, and a lot of Ruins means a lot of treasure. A lot of treasure means---"

"---a lot of pirates, yes, I see."

"We like to keep things organized around here. Anyway, while you're signing up for your permits, I'm sure Mayor Davis will be pleased to make your acquaintance. She's a Digger from way back, you see---"

"That's not Amelia Davis, is it?" Barrel interrupted.

"Why, yes."

"Hah!" Barrel laughed. "I used to be her professor, back when I was teaching at the University. I can't wait to see her. Dantz!" he called back to the Flutter. "I'm going into town for a few hours. I'll be back by sundown! You wait here and guard the ship, okay?" Dantz saw Barrel get into one of the awaiting police cruisers, which then sped back towards the city.

Now Barrel was being hauled off to prison! Dantz didn't care what kind of lies that Inspector guy was spinning, he knew they were just a ruse to get their hands on the ones who'd wrecked their wall. He had to figure a way to bust Barrel out of his captivity. Some way...

"Eerrrk!" squawked Quackard, as he exited the Flutter's bathroom and climbed up the ladder. "What was that all about?"

"Barrel just went to jail," said Dantz.

"Not again---keh-keh!"

Glyde panted as he and the Birdbots attempted to push the Enarban Fell up the beach. Once it got past the wet sand, its treads would be able to move it, but for the next hundred feet or so, it was all muscle power. The tall pirate braced his back against the heavy metal assault vehicle, and began pushing with his legs. It budged another inch. This was hot, sweaty work, and he hated bathing in seawater. He needed a nice, classy, hotel, complete with hot tub, thank you very much.

"One, two, keh!" hollered the Birdbot keeping time on top of the Enarban Fell. Glyde would have been doing this himself, but his human strength was so much greater than the Birdbots' even he had to admit it was a bad idea not to. "One, two, keh!"

The Birdbot Glyde had sent to scout their new environs ran bobblingly back. "Errh-errh! I found a town, sir! We seem to have landed on Kattleox Island."

"Excellent," grunted Glyde as he and the others heaved against the Enarban Fell once again. Another two inches this time. "There are several unexplored Ruins on this island. Their refractors will be ripe for our plucking!" Glyde's voice lost focus as he threw himself against the Fell once more. "Once we get this darned thing out of the water, that is..." He couldn't wait to turn on those jets in the tub and feel them massaging his body.

"Put your back joists into it!" hollered the time-keeping Birdbot through his megaphone. "One, two, keh!"

Glyde groaned as he thrust against the weapon again, then wiped some sweat off his brow. "By the way," he asked the scout, "did you happen to notice any four-star hotels while you were in town?" All of the Birdbots began squawking up enthusiastically. "Not for you all, just for me!" Their grumbling was a bit quieter than the earlier noise had been.

Roll was glad to be away from Dantz, that was for certain, but as her feet led her closer to Kattleox City, she found herself growing apprehensive. She really didn't know anything about this town, or anyone who lived here. Maybe she should just go back to the Flutter.

And to Dantz. Roll howled as she thought of her doofus Digger. Dantz could go jump off a cliff for all she cared! If he could go on all those Digs without her, then she could definitely go into a strange town by herself. Judging from all the police cars that had just driven by her, the island was likely a very secure place. She found her worries lessen even more as she passed by a small, domed entrance to what was probably some Ruins just sitting there, wide open, with no one to guard it. Obviously, this was a safe place.

Roll noticed some sort of weird-looking kid standing next to a flying vehicle as she neared the city gate. Certainly, if the island was safe enough for a child to stand alone, unattended, it would be safe enough for her, yes? Roll nodded at the policeman standing watch at the gate. "Remember, you can only enter the market, unless you have an ID card," he told her.

"Oh, she said as she entered the city. "Okay."

The market was, to Roll's surprise, a totally enclosed area. The ceiling was high, about as tall as the Flutter, all together, and made of the same substance of which the rest of the city's enclosure seemed to be constructed. Several banners hung from the ceiling, each marked with the word "Apple," and a small representation of the fruit. Roll dodged past a couple of kids no more than a few years younger than she was ran directly through her path. "Get it, Jim!" one of them hollered as another one kicked an empty tin can.

Roll ducked into an electronics shop, one of the first in the shopping arcade. The selection wasn't bad, and she noticed the climate control system had set the temperature very cool, much cooler than in the outside mall. She peered around at the TVs, radios, VCRs, and various other items on the store's shelves. Some things were newer models than what she had on the Flutter, but nothing was a good enough deal to consider upgrading. Not yet, at least.

As Roll exited the electronics dealer's store, she smelled the wafting odor of fresh-baked bread. Yes, indeeed, just down the way was a bakery! She followed her nose, placing her hands on the display glass which showed the bakery's fare. It smelled simply wonderful. The girl ordered a fresh cinnamon roll, and set out to explore the rest of the market while munching on it.

There was a junk store---she'd have to check it out later. A look to her left showed an interesting boutique she might also want to have a look in. Then again, who did she have to impress with fancy outfits? Not Dantz, that much was for certain.

Roll popped another piece of the cinnamon roll---hmm, that wasn't really funny, was it?---into her mouth, she was almost hit by one of the playing children again. Then, seeing a flash of an orange shirt, she was knocked forward, scraping her knees on the ground as she fell. Her baked treat was lost, flung out of her grasp.

"Hey!" she called out accusingly. "You should be more careful!" Now she'd lost her cinnamon roll, her knees were probably bleeding, and she looked like a moron just laying here on the ground---

"Are you all right?" asked a kind voice from beside her. A gloved hand was offered in assistance. Roll grasped it, and it lifted her back onto her feet.

He was pretty short, only an inch or two taller than she was, and he couldn't have been much older---if he was older at all. He had a friendly face, and wore a olive green suit of Digger's armor that looked a bit old and mismatched. His hair was brown, and hung atop his head in loose-fitting spikes, except for a small white lock above his left eye, a patch which set off the green of his eyes.

What a nice boy, thought Roll.

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