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by The Swinging Jungle of Baloo Kingdom. . 5 reads.

Rome Wars: A New Pope (Part 7)

INT. GULAG STAR - DETENTION AREA - ELEVATOR TUBE

[Barlyy and Baloo try to look inconspicuous in their armored suits as they wait for a vacuum elevator to arrive. Troops, bureaucrats, and robots bustle about, ignoring the trio completely. Only a few give the giant Nooooooooooooooo a curious glance. Finally a small elevator arrives and the trio enters.]

Baloo: I can’t see a thing in this helmet.

[A bureaucrat races to get aboard also, but is signaled away by Barlyy. The door to the pod-like vehicle slides closed and the elevator car takes off through a vacuum tube.]

INT. GULAG STAR - MAIN HALLWAY

[Several Callistan officers walk through the wide main passageway. They pass several tsartroopers and a robot similar to NAIS but with an insect face. At the far end of the hallway, a passing flash of Kirby appears, then disappears down a small hallway. His appearance is so fleeting that it is hard to tell if he is real or just an illusion. No one in the hallway seems to notice him.]

INT. GULAG STAR - INTERIOR ELEVATOR - DETENTION SECURITY AREA

[Baloo and Barlyy step forward to exit the elevator, but the door slides open behind them. The giant Nooooooooooooooo and his two guards enter the old grey security station. Guards and laser gates are everywhere. Barlyy whispers to Baloo under his breath.]

Barlyy: This is not going to work.

Baloo: Why didn’t you say so before?

Barlyy: I did say so before!

INT. DETENTION AREA

[Elevator doors open. A tall, grim looking Callistan Officer approaches the trio.]

Callistan Officer: Where are you taking this… thing?

[Nooooooooooooooo growls a bit at the remark but Barlyy nudges him to shut up.]

Baloo: Prisoner transfer from Block one-one- three-eight.

Callistan Officer: I wasn’t notified. I’ll have to clear it.

[The officer goes back to his console and begins to punch in the information. There are only three other tsartroopers in the area. Baloo and Barlyy survey the situation, checking all of the alarms, laser gates, and camera eyes. Barlyy unfastens one of Nooooooooooooooo’s electronic cuffs and shrugs to Baloo. Suddenly Nooooooooooooooo throws up his hands and lets out with one of his ear-piercing howls. He grabs Barlyy’s laser rifle.]

Barlyy: Look out! He’s loose!

Baloo: He’s going to pull us all apart.

Barlyy: Go get him!

[The startled guards are momentarily dumbfounded. Baloo and Barlyy have already pulled out their laser pistols and are blasting away at the terrifying Nooooooooooooooo. Their barrage of laserfire misses Nooooooooooooooo, but hits the camera eyes, laser gate controls, and the Callistan guards. The officer is the last of the guards to fall under the laserfire just as he is about to push the alarm system. Barlyy rushes to the comlink system, which is screeching questions about what is going on. He quickly checks the computer readout.]

Barlyy: We’ve got to find out which cell this princess of yours is in. Here it is… cell twenty-one-eight-seven. You go get her. I’ll hold them here.

[Baloo races down one of the cell corridors. Barlyy speaks into the buzzing comlink.]

Barlyy: (sounding official) Everything is under control. Situation normal.

Intercom Callistan Officer: What happened?

Barlyy: (getting nervous) Uh… had a slight weapons malfunction. But, uh, everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?

Intercom Callistan Officer: We’re sending a squad up.

Barlyy: Uh, uh, negative. We had a reactor leak here now. Give us a few minutes to lock it down. Large leak… very dangerous.

Intercom Callistan Officer: Who is this? What’s your operating number?

[Barlyy blasts the comlink and it explodes.]

Barlyy: Boring conversation anyway. (yelling down the hall) Baloo! We’re going to have company!

INT. GULAG STAR - CELL ROW

[Baloo stops in front of one of the cells and blasts the door away with a laser pistol. When the smoke clears, Baloo sees the dazzling young princess-senator. She had been sleeping and is now looking at him with an uncomprehending look on her face. Baloo is stunned by her incredible beauty and stands staring at her with his mouth hanging open.]

The Gold Mines: (finally) Aren’t you a little short to be a tsartrooper?

[Baloo takes off his helmet, coming out of it.]

Baloo: What? Oh… the uniform. I’m Baloo. I’m here to rescue you.

The Gold Mines: You’re who?

Baloo: I’m here to rescue you. I’ve got your K-O unit. I’m here with Kirby.

The Gold Mines: Kirby is here! Where is he?

Baloo: Come on!

INT. GULAG STAR - CONFERENCE ROOM

[Darth Imperii paces the room as Governor Mathuvan Union sits at the far end of the conference table.]

Plus Nova Imperii: He is here…

Mathuvan Union: Kirby! What makes you think so?

Plus Nova Imperii: A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master.

Mathuvan Union: Surely he must be dead by now.

Plus Nova Imperii: Don’t underestimate the power of the Force.

Mathuvan Union: The Baloominati are extinct, their fire has gone out of the universe. You, my friend, are all that’s left of their religion.

[There is a quiet buzz on the comlink.]

Mathuvan Union: Yes?

Intercom Officer: Governor Mathuvan Union, we have an emergency alert in detention block A-twenty- three.

Mathuvan Union: The princess! Put all sections on alert!

Plus Nova Imperii: Kirby is here. The Force is with him.

Mathuvan Union: If you’re right, he must not be allowed to escape.

Plus Nova Imperii: Escape is not his plan. I must face him alone.

INT. GULAG STAR - DETENTION AREA - HALLWAY

[An ominous buzzing sound is heard on the other side of the elevator door.]

Barlyy: Nooooooooooooooo!

[Nooooooooooooooo responds with a growling noise.]

Barlyy: Get behind me! Get behind me!

[A series of explosions knock a hole in the elevator door through which several Callistan tsartroopers begin to emerge. Barlyy and Nooooooooooooooo fire laser pistols at them through the smoke and flame. They turn and run down the cell hallway, meeting up with Baloo and The Gold Mines rushing toward them.]

Barlyy: Can’t get out that way.

The Gold Mines: Looks like you managed to cut off our only escape route.

Barlyy: (sarcastically) Maybe you’d like it back in your cell, Your Highness.

[Baloo takes a small comlink transmitter from his belt as they continue to exchange fire with stormtroopers making their way down the corridor.]

Baloo: NAIS! NAIS!

NAIS: (over comlink) Yes sir?

Baloo: We’ve been cut off! Are there any other ways out of the cell bay?… [static] What was that? I didn’t copy!

INT. GULAG STAR - MAIN BAY GANTRY - CONTROL TOWER

[NAIS paces the control center as little KOE beeps and whistles a blue streak. NAIS yells into the small comlink transmitter.]

NAIS: I said, all systems have been alerted to your presence, sir. The main entrance seems to be the only way in or out; all other information on your level is restricted.

[Someone begins banging on the door.]

Tsartrooper: Open up in there!

NAIS: Oh, no!

INT. GULAG STAR - DETENTION CORRIDOR

[Baloo and The Gold Mines crouch together in an alcove for protection as they continue to exchange fire with troops. Barlyy and Nooooooooooooooo are barely able to keep the tsartroopers at bay at the far and of the hallway. The laserfire is very intense, and smoke fills the narrow cell corridor.]

Baloo: There isn’t any other way out.

Barlyy: I can’t hold them off forever! Now what?

The Gold Mines: This is some rescue. When you came in here, didn’t you have a plan for getting out?

Barlyy: (pointing to Baloo) He’s the brains, sweetheart.

[Baloo manages a sheepish grin and shrugs his shoulders.]

Baloo: Well, I didn’t…

[The princess grabs Baloo’s gun and fires at a small grate in the wall next to Barlyy, almost frying him.]

Barlyy: What the hell are you doing?

The Gold Mines: Somebody has to save our skins. Into the garbage chute, wise guy.

[She jumps through the narrow opening as Barlyy and Nooooooooooooooo look on in amazement. Nooooooooooooooo sniffs the garbage chute and says something.]

Barlyy: Get in there you big furry oaf! I don’t care what you smell! Get in there and don’t worry about it.

[Barlyy gives him a kick and the Nooooooooooooooo disappears into the tiny opening. Baloo and Barlyy continue firing as they work their way toward the opening.]

Barlyy: Wonderful girl! Either I’m going to kill her or I’m beginning to like her. Get in there!

[Baloo ducks laserfire as he jumps into the darkness. Barlyy fires off a couple of quick blasts creating a smokey cover, then slides into the chute himself and is gone.]

INT. GULAG STAR - GARBAGE ROOM

[Barlyy tumbles into the large room filled with garbage and muck. Baloo is already stumbling around looking for an exit. He finds a small hatchway and struggles to get it open. It won’t budge.]

Barlyy: (sarcastically) Oh! The garbage chute was a really wonderful idea. What an incredible smell you’ve discovered! Let’s get out of here! Get away from there…

Baloo: No! wait!

[Barlyy draws his laser pistol and fires at the hatch. The laserbolt ricochets wildly around the small metal room. Everyone dives for cover in the garbage as the bolt explodes almost on top of them. The Gold Mines climbs out of the garbage with a rather grim look on her face.]

Baloo: Will you forget it? I already tried it. It’s magnetically sealed!

The Gold Mines: Put that thing away! You’re going to get us all killed.

Barlyy: Absolutely, Your Worship. Look, I had everything under control until you led us down here. You know, it’s not going to take them long to figure out what happened to us.

The Gold Mines: It could be worse…

[A loud, horrible, inhuman moan works its way up from the murky depths. Nooooooooooooooo lets out a terrified howl and begins to back away. Barlyy and Baloo stand fast with their laser pistols drawn. Nooooooooooooooo is cowering near one of the walls.]

Barlyy: It’s worse.

Baloo: There’s something alive in here!

Barlyy: That’s your imagination.

Baloo: Something just moves past my leg! Look! Did you see that?

Barlyy: What?

Baloo: Help!

[Suddenly Baloo is yanked under the garbage.]

Barlyy: Baloo! Baloo! Baloo!

[Barlyy tries to get to Baloo. Baloo surfaces with a gasp of air and thrashing of limbs. A membrane tentacle is wrapped around his throat.]

The Gold Mines: Baloo!

[The Gold Mines extends a long pipe toward him.]

The Gold Mines: Baloo, Baloo, grab a hold of this.

Baloo: Blast it, will you! My gun’s jammed.

Barlyy: Where?

Baloo: Anywhere! Oh!!

[Barlyy fires his gun downward. Baloo is pulled back into the muck by the slimy tentacle.]

Barlyy: Baloo! Baloo!

[Suddenly the walls of the garbage receptacle shudder and move in a couple of inches. Then everything is deathly quiet. Barlyy and The Gold Mines give each other a worried look as Nooooooooooooooo howls in the corner. With a rush of bubbles and muck Baloo suddenly bobs to the surface.]

The Gold Mines: Grab him!

[Baloo seems to be released by the thing.]

The Gold Mines: What happened?

Baloo: I don’t know, it just let go of me and disappeared…

Barlyy: I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.

[Before anyone can say anything the walls begin to rumble and edge toward the Bluecrownites.]

Baloo: The walls are moving!

The Gold Mines: Don’t just stand there. Try to brace it with something.

[They place poles and long metal beams between the closing walls, but they are simply snapped and bent as the giant trash-masher rumbles on. The situation doesn’t look too good.]

Baloo: Wait a minute!

[Baloo pulls out his comlink.]

Baloo: NAIS! Come in NAIS! NAIS! Where could he be?

INT. GULAG STAR - MAIN GANTRY - COMMAND OFFICE

[A soft buzzer and the muted voice of Baloo calling out for NAIS can be heard on NAIS’s hand comlink, which is sitting on the deserted computer console. KOE and NAIS are nowhere in sight. Suddenly there is a great explosion and the door of the control tower flies across the floor. Four armed tsartroopers enter the chamber.]

First Tsartrooper: Take over! (pointing to the dead officer) See to him! Look there!

[A tsartrooper pushes a button and the supply cabinet door slides open. NAIS and KOE are inside. KOE follows his bronze companion out into the office.]

NAIS: They’re madmen! They’re heading for the prison level. If you hurry, you might catch them.

First Tsartrooper: (to his troops) Follow me! You stand guard.

[The troops hustle off down the hallway, leaving a guard to watch over the command office.]

NAIS: (to KOE) Come on!

[The guard aims a blaster at them.]

NAIS: Oh! All this excitement has overrun the circuits of my counterpart here. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take him down to maintenance.

Tsartrooper: All right.

[The guard nods and NAIS, with little KOE in tow, hurries out the door.]

INT. GULAG STAR - GARBAGE ROOM

[As the walls rumble closed, the room gets smaller and smaller. Nooooooooooooooo is whining and trying to hold a wall back with his giant paws. Barlyy is leaning back against the other wall. Garbage is snapping and popping. Baloo is trying to reach NAIS.]

Baloo: NAIS! Come in, NAIS! NAIS!

[Barlyy and The Gold Mines try to brace the contracting walls with a pole. The Gold Mines begins to sink into the trash.]

Barlyy: Get to the top!

The Gold Mines: I can’t

Baloo: Where could he be? NAIS! NAIS, will you come in?

INT. GULAG STAR - MAIN FORWARD BAY - SERVICE PANEL

NAIS: They aren’t here! Something must have happened to them. See if they’ve been captured.

[Little KOE carefully plugs his claw arm into a new wall socket and a complex array of electronic sounds spew from the tiny robot.]

NAIS: Hurry!

INT. GULAG STAR - GARBAGE ROOM

[The walls are only feet apart. The Gold Mines and Barlyy are braced against the walls. The princess is frightened. They look at each other. The Gold Mines reaches out and takes Barlyy’s hand and she holds it tightly. She’s terrified and suddenly groans as she feels the first crushing pressure against her body.]

Barlyy: One thing’s for sure. We’re all going to be a lot thinner! (to The Gold Mines) Get on top of it!

The Gold Mines: I’m trying!

INT. GULAG STAR - MAIN FORWARD BAY - SERVICE PANEL

NAIS: (to KOE) Thank goodness, they haven’t found them! Where could they be?

[KOE frantically beeps something to NAIS.]

NAIS: Use the comlink? Oh, my! I forgot I turned it off!

INT. GULAG STAR - GARBAGE ROOM

[Meanwhile, Baloo is lying on his side, trying to keep his head above the rising ooze. Baloo’s comlink begins to buzz and he rips it off his belt.]

INT. GULAG STAR - MAIN FORWARD BAY - SERVICE PANEL

[Muffled sounds of Baloo’s voice over the comlink can be heard, but not distinctly.]

NAIS: Are you there, sir?

INT. GULAG STAR - GARBAGE ROOM

Baloo: NAIS!

INT. GULAG STAR - MAIN FORWARD BAY - SERVICE PANEL

NAIS: We’ve had some problems…

Baloo: (over comlink) Will you shut up and listen to me? Shut down all garbage mashers on the detention level, will you? Do you copy?

INT. GULAG STAR - GARBAGE ROOM

Baloo: Shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level.

INT. GULAG STAR - MAIN FORWARD BAY - SERVICE PANEL

Baloo: (over comlink) Shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level.

NAIS: (to KOE) No. Shut them all down! Hurry!

[NAIS holds his head in agony as he hears the incredible screaming and hollering from Baloo’s comlink.]

NAIS: Listen to them! They’re dying, KOE! Curse my metal body! I wasn’t fast enough. It’s all my fault! My poor master!

Baloo: (over comlink) NAIS, we’re all right!

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