Fandom: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Author: Crystal Rose of Pollux (rose_of_pollux)
Character: The Dying Informant
Theme number: 12; the jungle (referred to here as the concrete jungle)
Disclaimer/claimer: The characters aren't mine (except for the OCs), but the story is
Summary: The ACME agents head to Arizona to head off Double Trouble, but soon find themselves in a mysterious town that only seems to appear by moonlight.
Will be cross-posted to my journal, the V.I.L.E. HQ fanfic forum, and paranormal25 (the latter only when complete).
Author’s note: The characters aren’t mine (except for the OCs), but the story is! It’s been a while since I’ve written for the Carmen fandom, due to my recent ventures into Hogan’s Heroes fics, but I still intend to write for this fandom. This fic is part of my summer series, one that I’ve tried to make more lighthearted, in spite of the later suspense that will occur. This particular fic was highly inspired by the Pink Panther cartoon “Pink Panic.”
“I’ve got you now, Infy!”
“Not for long, you do! Go long, Techie!”
“I’m open! I’m open! …I’ve got it!”
“Get that Techie!”
“I’ve got him…”
“Run, Techie, Run! Wait, veer left!”
“Wait, look out for the--!”
The sound of filing cabinets falling over like dominoes echoed all through ACME Crimenet—and outside, too, since Mrs. Pumpkinclanger wasted no time in throwing open her window and yelling at her loud and unruly detective neighbors.
One of the young ACME Rookie agents ran to the area where the files were stored to see what exactly the trouble was. Standing before the fallen cabinets were the Informant, the Messenger, the Techie, and the Inspector, staring blankly at the mess—and at a football that was on the floor.
“Wow, I guess you don’t know your own strength…” the Messenger commented to the Inspector.
“Never mind that,” said the Informant, trying to budge one of the fallen shelves. “We have to get this cleaned up before--”
The Vice-Chief of ACME, Mr. Schwemphf, appeared in the doorway of the room, his eyes threatening to bulge out of his head.
“Too late…” the Techie murmured, as the Messenger casually tried to kick the football out of sight. He was unsuccessful, and Schwemphf picked the ball up, glaring at it before turning back to the agents.
“You four… in my office… now…” the man fumed.
“Get the Chief,” the Informant pleaded to the Rookie. “Get the Recruiting Officer—please!”
The Rookie dashed down the corridor, doing as the Informant had instructed; the two members of ACME arrived just as Schwemphf was on the verge of dishing out a punishment.
“I’ll take it from here,” the Chief said.
“Chief, I simply must protest!” Schwemphf sputtered. “These four have been walking headaches ever since they arrived at ACME. They’ve now succeeded in uprooting all of the filing cabinets that housed all of our case files!”
“How did you guys manage that?” the Recruiting Officer asked, baffled.
“The Messenger was gaining on me, and I threw a pass to Techie…” the Informant explained.
“…The Inspector went for me, and the Informant told me to veer left…” the Techie continued.
“…The first cabinet got in the way of my shoulder…” the Inspector went on, deadpanning.
“…And once that first one went, well…” the Messenger finished, making a whistling sound as he mimed the filing cabinets falling over.
“See?” the Recruiting Officer offered to Schwemphf. “Just an accident; it could’ve happened to anyone…”
“No, it could only happen to these four!” Schwemphf retorted, glaring at them. “These four and their crazy games have banished all recognizable traces of sanity in this agency!”
“You can’t blame them for playing games,” the Rookie said. “Things have been so slow all summer; V.I.L.E. has been quiet, and we haven’t had any cases coming in.”
“I’ve put up with enough of their games!” Schwemphf said, flustered. “I didn’t say anything when they came up with Extreme Chess, Extreme Snowball Fights, or even Extreme Table Tennis! But I absolutely must draw the line at Extreme Indoor Tackle Football!”
“Yeah, come to think of it,” the Messenger mused. “That may not have been one of our better ideas…”
“May not have been--!” Schwemphf repeated. “That does it; I--”
“Enough!” the Chief said, crossing her arms. “All of you, settle down!”
“Chief, I’ve put up with your defense of these four hooligans for a long time,” Schwemphf began. “But--”
“But the figures still speak for themselves,” she countered. “These four are our best agents, and have solved an impressive number of cases between them.” She turned to them. “However, I think there should be a limit to your…Extreme Leisure Activities.”
“Sorry about that, Chief…” the Messenger said, with a guilty grin and shrug. “I guess the lack of cases has made us all a little stir-crazy.”
“Then for Heaven’s sake—get out of ACME!” pleaded Schwemphf. “Take a vacation! Just leave me in peace!”
“A vacation…” the Techie repeated.
“Yeah, that’d be nice, if we could afford it,” the Informant said, wistfully, placing his hands in his pockets. “Unfortunately, our paychecks don’t exactly leave much scope for a good-sized vacation.”
“Hey, then maybe they can give us a raise!” the Messenger offered.
Schwemphf let out a sound that sounded like “Aaaaauuurrrrgh!” at the very thought of giving them a raise. It prompted the Recruiting Officer and the Rookie to chuckle, however.
“I’m sure that we here at ACME can grant an all-expenses paid vacation to our best agents,” the Chief said, ignoring Schwemphf and his sniveling. “Did you have any particular destination in mind?”
“Paris is lovely this time of year,” the Informant said.
“The weather, or the pretty mademoiselles?” the Messenger asked, giving him a nudge, which the boy returned.
“You two…” the Techie said, blushing at the thought of Frenchwomen chasing after them.
“Paris it is,” the Chief said. She was just about to pull up the requisition forms when a young Gumshoe entered the office, shyly looking around.
“Um… excuse me, Chief…” she said, handing over an invoice. “Double Trouble was just spotted in Arizona, near the Grand Canyon.”
“The Recalcitrant Twerps at it again, huh? Have they stolen anything?” the Informant asked.
“Not as far as we know,” the Gumshoe said. “This is V.I.L.E.’s downtime; they could be on vacation, too. But there have been some weird goings on in the area; they could be behind it…”
“Or they could be after the Canyon,” the Inspector intoned. It wasn’t beyond them.
“Hey, here’s an idea…” said the Messenger. “How about we head down to Arizona first, cut off any robbery attempt that those unctuous creeps might have, and head to Paris after that?”
The Techie gave a nod, eager to wait as long as possible before being forced to go to the City of Romance. He idly wished that there was a City of Platonicism just for him.
“I think we can arrange that,” the Chief said. “Don’t you agree, Schwemphf?”
The Vice-Chief moaned something unintelligible.
“We’ll take that as a yes,” the Messenger grinned. “Let’s get packing, guys!”
The Informant grinned, bolting upstairs to grab whatever he would need for a vacation to Paris.
“I think it worked out great,” he said to the Techie, pleased. “We get a case… sort of. Hopefully it won’t take long to deal with. And then we’re off to Paris, the city of lights and romance!”
“Just promise me one thing,” the Techie said. “When you’re chasing after girls, take some time to spend with your surrogate brother, huh?”
The Informant paused, with a wan smile; he had forgotten that the Techie would not have picked Paris as his vacation spot of choice. “Where would you like to go?”
“Honestly, think I’d have a great time in Arizona,” he said. “I’ll enjoy that.”
“Tell you what…” the Informant said, with a grin. “When we do get to Paris, I’ll set aside some time for the two of us to have a meal at some restaurant; how does a vintage ratatouille sound to you?”
“Sounds great,” the Techie said, licking his lips. “I can taste it already.”
“And we’ll have to check out the catacombs again,” said the Messenger, sticking his head into the room. “That’s where we had our first case, after all—chasing after Eartha Brute, remember?”
“And I highly doubt you’ll find girls in there,” the Inspector deadpanned. “Though Eartha was a girl at the time…”
“And you have no idea how incredibly weird that sounds,” the Messenger said. “It staggers the imagination.”
The agents all snarked.
“I wonder if Chagny Manor is still there,” the Techie said. “We had a rendezvous point there, remember?”
“Yeah, we had a rendezvous point there,” said the Informant. “So did V.I.L.E.—and the Rare Hunters, too.” He shook his head. “But not anymore; I read in an article that the owner of that place has gotten fed up with organizations using it for their own ends. I think Bandit Keith’s fight with Seto Kaiba was the clincher; they broke a window, and Kaiba sent the owner a check for the damages, which alerted him to what was going on. He’s having the place turned into a museum with a guard.”
“Who owns that place, anyway?” the Messenger wondered. “I didn’t know there were any members of French royalty still around.”
“A World War II veteran; he’s a direct descendant of the Viscount de Chagny,” the Informant replied. “He also owned a successful chain of restaurants before retiring.” He closed his meticulously-packed suitcase. “And I’m almost all packed,” he added. He grabbed a large, empty duffel bag. “I just need to grab a few more things downstairs; I’ll meet you outside.”
He headed out the door. The Techie turned to the others and shrugged.
Going along with it, they waited out in the alley for the Informant, enduring Mrs. Pumpkinclanger’s rants.
“Absolutely unnecessary noisemaking from all of you!” she ranted. Her Siamese cat, Godiva, murowred in agreement.
“Don’t worry, Mrs. P,” the Messenger assured her. “We’re going on a case, and then on a vacation. By the time we’re back, you’ll have missed us so much, you’ll be begging for us to make some noise!”
“I highly doubt that!” the elderly lady insisted.
“Okay, I’m ready!” the Informant said, arriving with his suitcase and a now-bulging duffel bag.
“What’s with that, Infy?” the Messenger asked, intrigued.
“Oh, just thought I’d… bring some things along…” the boy said. “You know, we won’t be back for a while; I’d hate to have to forget anything important…” He trailed off as Godiva stared at the duffel bag, her tail lashing. “Uh… come on, let’s go; we’ve got to get to the airport!”
As the agents headed off, preparing to leave the concrete jungle behind them, the Informant hoped that none of his companions would notice how his duffel bag barked at the cat as they retreated from the alley and drove through the streets of Manhattan, heading for the ACME airfield.
And hopefully, Schwemphf wouldn’t notice that Borealis, the ACME Ruff-Net husky, was missing until it was too late for him to do anything about it.