Disclaimer: I don't own Bodie, Doyle or anything else associated with the Professionals, more's the pity. I promise to put them back in their boxes when I'm done. Notes: This is self-beta'd, so all mistakes are my own. If you haven't read Dinah's Spoof Tag, then this will make no sense at all, though I'm not sure it will anyway. *g*
Tag 3 Part 3 - The Alternative Banned Version- Part Two
PREVIOUSLY IN... 'THE SPOOF TAG'....
Suddenly Doyle felt the rope above him snap as the flame reached its destination. As the platform lurched towards the deadly churning waters below he saw, suddenly, his partner's eyes flicker open.
"Looked a bit like you, actually," Bodie murmured weakly.
For a split second their eyes met and as Doyle felt himself beginning the plunge downwards he clung desperately to that look.
"BODIE!!!" he yelled helplessly...
TO BE CONTINUED...
AND NOW, THE CONCLUSION...
As he fell, Doyle saw Cade leave the pit through a hidden doorway in the side of the warehouse followed by Dr Kingsford. The last thing he thought he'd ever hear was Cade's mad cackling laughter.
Doyle was never quite sure what happened next. One minute he was falling to his death, with Bodie lying on the platform opposite his. The next Bodie had stood up, jumped off the platform, grabbed hold of the broken rope that had held Doyle's platform, and was swinging towards him. Bodie grabbed hold of Doyle as he swung past, and held on tightly to his partner until they landed safely on the other side of the pit. The crocodiles growled angrily at their loss.
Doyle lay sprawled on the concrete for a full minute, getting his breath back and staring bemused at his partner. Finally he shook his head and stood up.
"D'you mind telling me what the hell just happened?"
Bodie grinned at him. "Miraculous escape number one, sunshine."
"I just saw him shoot you at close range."
Bodie gestured to his arm, where a small trickle of fresh blood showed where Cade's bullet had hit. It was obviously little more than a graze. "Nah. It only looked like that because we were at the cliff-hanger."
"The cliff-hanger. It always has to look like the hero is about to croak at the cliff-hanger. It makes people tune in next week." At Doyle's baffled expression, Bodie laughed. "Oh come on, Doyle! Did you never watch Flash Gordon or The Man from UNCLE as a kid?"
"Too busy chasing after girls, I suppose."
"And you weren't?"
"No, mate. They chased after me. Look, we're playing by the rules, now. All the awful, clichéd rules set out by badly made 50s and 60's television. And the rules dictate that at every cliff-hanger, the hero has to be placed in an impossible situation, only to come through it effortlessly the next week."
Doyle rolled his eyes. "And you're the hero, I suppose?"
"Of course, tall dark and handsome mate, that's what the heroes were like in them days. Besides, I know all the rules."
"So what does that make me, then?"
"You're my sidekick, Doyle." Doyle looked about ready to argue, until Bodie added: "But don't worry, there'll be a heroine around here somewhere that I...sorry...we, have to save."
"Love interest. She'll be a misguided Russian Agent, or something like that. Every action film has to have a love interest. If for no other reason than to make sure that the audience don't get the wrong idea about the relationship between the hero and his sidekick. Now come on, we've got a world to save."
"Oh, brother." Doyle muttered, but fell into step behind Bodie as they raced round the outside of the pit and towards the door that Cane had gone through.
The two men found their guns lying discarded on a table just by the door, and stopped to pick them up. Doyle went to go through the door, but was pulled back sharply by Bodie.
"What do you think you're doing?" he hissed, keeping his voice down.
"Not through the door, for God sake. We don't go through doors like everyone else any more."
"Why the hell not?"
"Because that's exactly what he'd expect."
"Bodie, Cade thinks we're both dead."
"No, he doesn't. He knows the rules of the game as well as I do. He knows that the heroes aren't in any serious danger until the very end of the story. He knows damn well that whatever he tries, we won't die until the end, if at all."
"So where do we go, then?"
Bodie gestured above them. "Up there."
Following his finger, Doyle looked up to see a large grille screwed into the wall. "Oh, how could I have forgotten," he said dryly. "The air conditioning vent. Alright, give us a hand." Climbing up onto the table below the grille, he pulled a handy screwdriver out of his pocket, and started undoing the screws holding the grille in place. Once the grille came loose in his hands, he passed it down to Bodie, and then hauled himself through into the air conditioning ducts.
He could hear Bodie following behind him, and kept crawling until they both came to a junction, with one tunnel curving off to the right, and one opening up beneath them.
"Which way?" he whispered.
Bodie thought for a moment. "Right. If we go down, we'll slip on the edges and fall into a giant fan or something."
Peering over the edge, Doyle could see the shadows cast on the walls moving as the giant fan turned slowly round. "Got it."
Picking their way carefully over the hole, they carried on, making left and right turns until they came to a dead end. The air vents stopped, and their path was blocked by another grille.
Bodie wormed his way up from his position behind Doyle so that he could see through the vent as well. Looking out through the mesh, they found themselves staring down into a large room full of people in long, flowing robes. The crowd was chanting, and bowing down before a stage, on which stood Alan Cade and Dr. Kingsford.
"Where the hell did that room come from?" Doyle hissed. "There's no way the warehouse was this big."
"It's a maze of tunnels hollowed out into the hills next to the warehouse." Bodie replied. "It's got to be, the bad guy's hideout is always carved into a hill, or volcano or something like that."
"OK genius, what do we do now?"
"We run around for a while, getting into trouble and wasting time. Then at the last minute, we come through and save the world."
There was no way they could get into the room through the grille, it was too high up for either man to be able to make the jump safely. So they quietly doubled back, picking their way through the maze of air vents until they came to a grille just outside the large room. They could still hear the chanting, though it was much quieter than before.
Quietly they removed the grille, and slipped down into an alcove of the shadowed corridor. Bodie was about to leave the safety of the shadows when Doyle pulled him back, a finger to his lips. Frowning, Bodie listened, and just managed to pick up the sound of footsteps coming towards them. Grinning, he glanced over to Doyle, who nodded back, and silently they waited.
As the two guards passed the shadowed alcove, they were grabbed from behind, and dragged out of sight by two unknown assailants. Short minutes later, the robed figures stepped back into sight still carrying their guns, but it was Bodie and Doyle inside the concealing costumes.
"Never fails," whispered Bodie. "The costumes cover everything, so we can go where we please without being noticed."
"You're enjoying this, aren't you?"
Bodie grinned. "We're playing by the rules, Doyle. We can't lose!"
Doyle, however, wasn't quite so sure. "Haven't you seen those films?"
"You know, those films where they follow the rules right through till the end and then break them for effect?"
"Nah. They're just horror films. We're not in a horror film, Doyle. Now come on."
Quietly they slipped through the door into the large chamber. The crowd was wearing similar robes to the ones that they'd stolen, though the guard uniforms were green, compared to the chanter's grey.
Cade was still up on the stage, and as the chanting quieted, he stepped up to the front and started speaking.
"Loyal subjects! You've all served me well, and your reward is coming. When my plan goes into effect, the fools who think they hold power in this world will bow to me, and together we will create a new world order. My order."
The crowd cheered Cade again, and Doyle took the opportunity to whisper to Bodie.
"World domination?! I know that's what he said back in the warehouse, but I didn't think he was serious."
"It's always world domination in these kinds of things, Doyle." Bodie whispered back. "And the bad guys are always slightly crazy, or Russian, or both."
Cade began again. "You've all been patient, and the time has come for you to know the finer details of my plans. The key to my plans for world domination is ingenious in its simplicity... coffee machines." Gasps ran through the crowd. "Over the years, using my job as a policeman to cover my tracks, I've been secretly buying up all the companies in the world that make coffee machines. Every coffee machine in every home now has a small chip inside it."
Cade moved over to a large structure covered by a white sheet positioned to one side of the stage. With a dramatic gesture, he swept the sheet away, and the crowd gasped again as a bank full of computers and a world map was revealed. In the centre of the bank of screens were two large levers, one red, and one green. Cade gestured to the green one.
"When I push this lever, every chip inside every machine will short circuit, causing all the machines to break down. Without their regular caffeine doses, civilisation will quickly fall apart, and the world leaders will give me anything to have coffee back."
Doyle considered it for a moment, then tapped Bodie on the arm to get his attention. "You know, that might work."
Bodie shrugged, then shook his head. "Doubt it. Cowley'll stop them. Now if he'd sabotaged all the scotch in the world, he might have stood a chance."
"Only one thing stands between me and world domination. The mythical 'golden percolator', rumoured to be hidden in the catacombs that form the maze beneath our feet. Only that has a power source strong enough to be able to activate all the destructive chips at the same time. But rest assured, my men are close to finding it, and when we do? The world is ours."
"Come on." Together they slipped across the room and out the door on the other side. "We need to find the percolator. If we just kill Cade, one of these nutcases is just crazy enough to try and take his place. But if we have the percolator as well..."
"...There's nothing they can do. Good idea." Bodie agreed.
"We'd better go and find the catacombs, then."
They searched through the building as discreetly as they could, and it wasn't long before they found their way down into the depths of the mountain. Of course, the large green information sign reading 'to the catacombs' helped.
The steps stretched away in front of them, and from the top neither could see the ground below. Slightly apprehensive, Doyle glanced across at Bodie, who merely raised an eyebrow and grinned. Adopting his best 'Cowley' voice, Bodie spoke. "Well on your bike, lad. We don't have all day."
Doyle laughed. "Running all the way, sir." With that he took off, quickly outdistancing Bodie in their race down the stairs.
As they advanced down into the catacombs the walls became damp, with moss pushing through the decaying cement between the bricks. The air was musty and thick with rust, as they reached the bottom Bodie sneezed.
"Ugh...dust." He sniffed. "Gets right up me hooter."
"Tell me something I don't know." Doyle replied. "Like where the hell we go from here."
Ahead of them the passage split off into three, each of which faded into the darkness. Bodie frowned and thrust his hands into his pockets, then with a startled cry brought out a torch and a folded map.
Doyle grinned and shook his head. "I don't even want to know." Taking the map form Bodie's hands, he knelt down and opened it out on the dusty floor. Sketched out in pen across most of the paper was a map of the passageways ahead, starting from two of the entrances ahead of them. the left hand doorway had been left unmarked. Folding up the map, Doyle pointed to the left. "Well if that's the only passage left uncharted, then I guess the percolator must be that way."
Bodie nodded in agreement and the pair set off again. Glancing down at the map, Doyle noticed that at several points along the charted passages the letter 'x' had been scribbled onto the map in red pen.
"What d'you think they mean?" he wondered.
Bodie just shrugged. "No idea, mate. Come on, let's get moving. We don't have much time."
They carried on through the darkness, the torches doing little to let them see what was ahead. As they walked, picking right and left turns at random, the air got colder still, and both men began feeling uneasy, though neither could explain why.
Turning yet another corner, Bodie walked on ahead as Doyle hesitated, some instinct warning him about going on further. Glancing around nervously, he was trying to work out what it was that was bothering him when he heard a strange grating sound from somewhere ahead. Bodie heard it as well and stopped, looking back at Doyle, puzzled. For a split second Doyle caught sight of a glint of metal from above his partner, and suddenly had a horrible feeling that he knew what the 'x' had stood for.
"Bodie!" Yelling out a warning, Doyle ran forward and slammed into his partner, knocking him off balance. Together they fell, landing just a few yards away from the spike which had imbedded itself into the floor exactly where Bodie had been standing.
The two men sat where they'd fallen for a full minute, staring back at the spike in shock as they both took in the implications of what had almost happened. Finally Bodie managed to pull his breathing back under control and looked over at Doyle.
Doyle stood up on shaky legs and held out a hand to Bodie, glancing back at the spike one last time, and unable to prevent the shudder that ran through him.
"That one almost had your name on it."
Bodie nodded. "I think we'd better take this a little bit slower."
"This is a really bad idea." Doyle muttered, but followed Bodie on through the tunnels all the same.
As time passed they moved deeper into the catacombs, keeping a wary eye out for more booby traps. They found nothing, until suddenly they heard footsteps in the tunnel behind them. Concealing themselves in a small niche in the edge of the wall, they waited as the footsteps came closer, and a figure passed them. Bodie jumped out and grabbed the man in a choke hold, before shoving him against the wall. Both men found themselves confronted with Robert Kingsford, Cade's right hand man and resident mad scientist. Kingsford held his hands up in surrender.
"No, don't! I've come to help you."
"Help us?" Doyle repeated incredulously. "You left us to die back in the warehouse."
"I...I've had a change of heart. I've made a terrible mistake in helping Cade all these years. He's crazy."
"Tell me something I don't know." Bodie muttered.
"I can!" At this Kingsford became excited. "I've been looking through the ancient texts about the legend of the percolator, and found something. The text isn't particularly clear, it's been translated from Latin into Ancient Egyptian, and into other languages since then, so the meaning isn't very..."
"Get to the point." Doyle snapped.
"Right, sorry. It says that whoever goes after the percolator will be called upon to answer a riddle to prove their worthiness. Only those who know the answer are worthy to take on the responsibility."
"What's the riddle?"
"What is the name of the animal that rules your world, and talks to God."
"So what's the answer?"
"It...it didn't say."
"Well that's a lot of help." Doyle grumbled.
With that, Kingsford broke away from Bodie's hold on him and ran back down the tunnel.
"Should we go after him?" Doyle asked.
"Nah. He won't give us any more trouble. He's had a change of heart, regretted his evil ways."
Doyle nodded, and the two men carried on walking.
A few minutes later, the dark, claustrophobic tunnels opened out into a huge chamber. There was just enough light coming from cracks in the ceiling to let them see what was in the room, and both grinned when they saw what had to be the Golden Percolator set on a pedestal at the far end of the room.
Bodie moved forward to cross the room and collect their prize, but before he could go very far Doyle caught his arm and pulled him back.
"Hang on a minute. Isn't there usually some kind of trick to these things? After the spike, I'm not sure we want to rush into anything, are you?"
Bodie nodded. "Point taken. Okay, let's see what happens..."
Trailing off, Bodie walked back they way they'd come, and returned a few seconds later holding a fair sized rock in his hand. After a moment's thought, he hurled it down the centre of the room towards the pedestal.
The rock sailed through the air before coming back to earth with a thud. It rolled forward slightly from where it had landed, and almost instantly the ground beneath it crumbled away, revealing a deep pit that had previously been concealed by earth.
"Bloody hell." Bodie muttered.
Doyle, meanwhile, had moved forward hesitantly, peering at the ground around the pit. Bodie moved forward to join him.
"What have you seen, Doyle?"
"I'm not sure." Edging closer still, Doyle gasped and pointed at a series of small tiles embedded into the rough earth. Each tile had the rough outline of a letter painted on it, and collectively the tiling covered the floor, displaying every number and letter in the alphabet.
"The rock landed on the letter 'W' before it rolled, but that tile didn't crumble away. Some of these must be safe to walk on." Doyle mused. "But how on earth do we work out which ones?"
Bodie coughed. "What did that scientist bloke say to us? 'The animal that rules your world and talks to God.' Maybe that's some kind of clue to the answer."
"So who rules the world. God?"
Bodie shook his head. "No, he said he talks to God, so it can't be Him. And he said 'our' world, not 'the' world."
Doyle frowned. "You don't think...Cowley?"
Bodie shrugged. "Dunno. You're the one who's supposed to be so good at crosswords. Though..." Bodie clicked his fingers and grinned. "Cowley did once tell me that God did him the occasional favour."
Doyle nodded. "Cowley it is then. Should have known he'd in on this somehow."
There was a letter 'C' on the first row of tiles, but even as Doyle stepped gingerly on to it, Bodie yelled and grabbed for his partner. The tile under his foot cracked and began to fall, but Bodie dragged Doyle back on to solid ground before it was too late.
"Wrong answer," Doyle whispered shakily, staring down into the darkness revealed by the pit. From far below them they could hear the crashing of water against the rocky walls, and from somewhere behind them, music started playing. Both men quickly recognised the opening bars of the Jaws theme.
Jumpy, Doyle glanced nervously behind them. "Where the hell is that coming from?"
But Bodie was unconcerned. "Oh, that's just to tell the audience that there are sharks down there."
Doyle swung back round and stared at his partner as if Bodie had gone mad. "What?!"
Abandoning the riddle for the moment, Bodie pulled Doyle back into the corridors outside the chamber. Turning the first corner, the partners were confronted by a large group of men in black tie, all carrying different instruments.
"It's the orchestra. They've been following us the whole time, adding atmospheric music to heighten the tension. Watch."
Straightening up from his crouch, Bodie stepped into full view, and the orchestra immediately began playing a spirited concerto, full of cheer and promise. "That's the hero's theme. Everyone has a different signature tune, which plays when they step into a room or perform some daring feat."
"Right." Doyle said dryly. "So as your sidekick, what would they play for me?"
Bodie hesitated. "You don't want to know. Come on, we've got a riddle to solve."
Leaving the orchestra to their own devices, they walked back into the chamber.
"So if the 'man who rules our world' answer isn't Cowley, who the hell is it?"
Suddenly, Doyle started laughing. Before Bodie could stop him, he ran across the tiling, performing a strange kind of dancing hopscotch until he reached solid ground on the other side. Spinning round, he held out his arms and took a graceful bow.
Bodie groaned. "Alright, hotshot. What's the answer?"
"Kingsford didn't say the 'man', he said the 'animal'. The answer, is the Cow."
Lifting the percolator off its pedestal, Doyle carried it carefully back over the pit and presented it to Bodie.
"Now what do we do with it?"
"You give it to me." But it wasn't Bodie's voice.
Cade strolled into the large chamber with a squadron of his guards following him. Clapping his hands, Cade gestured towards the two agents. "Bring me the percolator."
On command, the squadron advanced towards Bodie and Doyle, who backed away from them nervously. Aware that he would be unable to fight with the percolator in his hands, Doyle placed it carefully on the ground behind him, and prepared for the coming battle.
For a moment, Doyle thought that all twelve were going to attack at once, but only two came forward, and the fight began in earnest. Busy trading punches, Doyle noticed the ten remaining guards drawing straws out of one man's hand, before arranging themselves in a neat line and waiting patiently.
A piece of wood coming dangerously close to his head, Doyle turned his full attention back to his opponent, blocking the weapon's descent before ripping it out of the guard's hand and knocking him to the ground with it.
To Doyle's satisfaction the guard made no attempt to stand up again, and the first person in the line moved forward and began circling him.
"What the hell are they doing?" Doyle yelled to Bodie.
"Waiting their turn." Bodie called back, while dodging an opponent of his own. "It's against the rules for them to attack more than one at a time. Until it's their turn, they just have to stand around and look menacing."
Doyle snorted. "All these bloody rules. I'm getting bored with this, Bodie."
Even so, he kept fighting until all the guards were sprawled on the floor. Only then did both men turn their attention to Cade, who had not been idly watching. During the fight, Cade had edged round behind Doyle and made a grab for the percolator. With the golden machine safely in his hands, he backed towards the chamber exit, pausing when he was almost there to turn back to Bodie and Doyle.
"You're too late!" he cackled. "The percolator is mine. I've won!"
Bodie stepped forward. "Aren't you forgetting something, Cade?" he asked.
Cade looked puzzled. "Is it time for the final fight between good and evil already?" he sighed. "You know, I haven't done nearly enough cackling for the regulations, Mr. Bodie." Then he shrugged. "Still, I'm sure something can be done post-production."
Bodie glanced back at Doyle. "I still say he looks like you." He commented. "But you're right, I'm bored with this as well." He glanced at his watch. "Pubs open in ten minutes."
"Fine by me," said Doyle, and moved to stand by Bodie's side.
At the movement, Cade glanced up. "Oh, are we ready? What's my motivation again?" he asked. "Oh yes. Kill the good guys, take over the world. The number of times I've forgotten that. I shall have to re-read the manual after this. You'd never believe, but when I started in this business I wanted to do Shakespeare..." He ran his hands through his hair. "Your start, I believe, Mr. Bodie." Placing the percolator into a pocket in his cloak, Cade crouched down into a classical martial arts stance.
"More fighting?" Doyle asked.
"Usually. The forces of good and evil are supposed to fight to the death, then the good guys race to get out of the complex as it collapses round their ears," Bodie explained. "But I'm bored. Shall we?"
Understanding Bodie's meaning even though it wasn't spoken, Doyle nodded. As one, Bodie and Doyle drew their guns and opened fire, each emptying a full clip into Cade's body. In slow motion Cade was thrown backwards onto the tiling, which promptly gave way under his weight, sending Cade and the percolator tumbling into the pit.
Holstering their guns, Bodie and Doyle turned and headed back through the catacombs, both intent on finding the nearest pub.
It was a few minutes before Doyle spoke. "I thought these kinds of shows always ended with a fight before the bad guys died."
"They do. The forces of good and evil are supposed to fight to the death, then the good guys race to get out of the complex as it collapses round their ears." Bodie explained. "But I was never one for playing by the rules. Besides," he added. "You're not my sidekick, Doyle. We're a double act, and that changes everything."
© 2000 (September) Jennie Ward