Chapter Two-An Unexpected Attack
Skipper was rigid with fear. He glanced at Kowalski for help, but the young Private just shrugged helplessly. Skipper knew he was no match for the Lieutenant. Well, this was the end. He just stood there and was easy prey for his opponent. There had to be a way out of this.
Then he noticed something. He was too busy spying to notice it before. Skipper swallowed an ice block when he saw a hole in the thick ice they were standing on. That meant only one thing: leopard seal. The seals were dangerous predators that hunted penguins. Every second here causing recon was sure danger. His eyes were locked on the hole in the ice and his heart pounded. They had to leave.
He stopped looking at the ice and looked back up. He saw one-eye creepy freakazoid standing only about two inches from him. Skipper was immediately pushed to the ground. The Lieutenant's flipper was over Skipper's throat and tightening. He gasped for air and tried to push it off, but he was way too strong for the young penguin. He glanced back at Kowalski who was watching nervously. Skipper's pleading eyes begged Kowalski to say something. Kowalski shook his head no, but Skipper was persistent. Finally, Kowalski decided to say something. What Skipper didn't know that also was an advantage was that, being a private, he was Frankenstein's apprentice.
"Austin, maybe you shouldn't…"
"Shouldn't what?" pressed the Lieutenant and didn't loosen the slightest bit on poor Skipper.
"Shouldn't…put so much pressure on the soft tissue of the throat."
"No, this little guy doesn't care," Austin said in return and tightened on Skipper who was now whining with the fact that he could possibly choke to death. "What are you looking at? Ice?"
Skipper had a response, but he couldn't answer. They were in DANGER. Austin finally loosened his grip slightly so Skipper could answer.
"Seals," he wailed. "We have to leave."
Austin seemed confused. "What's a seal?"
He couldn't even believe that. Every penguin knew what a seal was! The whole lot of them seemed confused. Not even the smart intelligent Kowalski knew. TJ was equally confused.
"Whatever a seal is, I'm sure we can take it," Austin pointed out.
That was when it happened. There was a crack in the ice followed by the vibrations from under the ice. Skipper was so scared that he struggled frantically. Austin was no longer paying attention to him and he was able to slip away to Kowalski. They all looked at each other frantically, wondering what to do. Then in front of them the ice exploded and a giant creature appeared. Skipper had never seen one so close. It was far bigger than all the penguins put together and its eyes were fixed on them: the prey. They had never seen a seal before and were confused.
"Attack!" TJ ordered.
"W-what?" Skipper exclaimed.
What were they doing? They were no match for the seal. The best thing to do was to flee as fast as they could, not fight it. Unfortunately, all the penguins agreed with TJ. They all circled the seal and their fighting style was something Skipper had not yet seen. Kowalski tried to move towards the others, but Skipper yanked him back.
"Stay here," he said. "It is suicide!"
"I have to," Kowalski replied loyally. "TJ is the Captain."
Then Kowalski was gone. Skipper stood back and watched the team circle the seal who was trying to single out a penguin. Oh, he couldn't believe this was happening. They would be torn to shreds in a matter of minutes.
All of a sudden the leopard seal struck out at one of the soldiers, grabbed her, and tossed her aside like she was an old toy. She was tossed across the ice and quickly rose again. The others decided to attack. Captain TJ and Lieutenant Austin both sprang at the seal's back while it lumbered after the others. They jumped away lightly while their leaders went in. Skipper just watched with amazement. They were using some fighting style he had never seen before and it was amazing. They weren't has helpless as he thought.
The seal flipped around suddenly and through off TJ and Austin. They landed swiftly on their feet and leaped nimbly away. They stayed together and a far distance from the others. They were not very strong with their attacks. They thought they could take on such a big enemy, but they couldn't. It was way too big for a group of penguins. They would come in and do harmless attacks and then retreat, repeating over and over. All that effort was no good and it was still trying to get them. It kept trying to get Austin and TJ instead of the others. That didn't work and the seal was not as dumb as it seemed. It squared up to the two of them and prepared to attack them again. They were as ready as anything until the seal whirled around and lunged right for the five penguins watching and being a distraction. They screamed with terror and tried to escape. One penguin did not though. The seal lifted its head carrying a prize in its mouth: Kowalski. He dangled helplessly and tried to free himself. It was no use.
"Kowalski!" Skipper wailed helplessly.
Austin and TJ heard Skipper's worthless wailing and saw the poor Kowalski dangling from the seal's massive jaws. Before TJ could think, Austin quickly jumped to the rescue of his poor apprentice. The seal quickly lifted a fin and swatted him right out of the air like a useless fly. He landed on the ground roughly and staggered to get up. The seal was completely focused on them so they couldn't rescue Kowalski. Skipper knew this was life and it happened all the time, but he never thought he would see a seal prey on a penguin in his lifetime. Any second the seal would crunch down and break Kowalski's back like an icicle. He would probably fail, but he really liked the young penguin and had to do something.
Kowalski, you better love me for this!
Skipper mindlessly pounced on the seal's head. It flinched with shock and tried to shake him off. He clung on as tight as he could. The seal tried hard to throw him off and he thought the tips of his wings would surely break off if he held on any tighter. He glanced down at Kowalski who was too stunned to do anything. He had to get the seal to let go, but how? HOW?
Then Skipper's left wing slipped off the seal's head and the force made him let go. He was falling off. He desperately reached out to grab something…anything. He managed to find something and held on to it as tight as he could. It was Kowalski's flipper. They both swung around wildly, wailing with terror. There was no help for them now. They were surely done when the thought to be heavy ice cracked. It was just a little crack at first, not enough to do anything. Then it burst from under them and they plunged into the water. Skipper was pulled under the water and the shock of the cold almost made him let Kowalski go. He couldn't let go no matter what. If he did now, Kowalski would be done for.
Luckily, the water also shocked the seal a little and its grip loosened on Kowalski. Skipper took advantage of that and yanked Kowalski free from the seal's grasp. The stunned penguin made no attempt to swim and began to go down. Skipper rolled his eyes, grabbed Kowalski, and swam for both of them to the surface. They leaped out of the water and landed safely on the ice. The rest of the team was already waiting for them. Skipper jumped up quickly, always ready for more while Kowalski carefully got up.
"It's gone," Skipper panted breathlessly. "No more problem."
"Kowalski, you okay?"
The sweet female penguin the seal tossed across the ice already followed her instinct of checking Kowalski over. Luckily, the seal didn't even puncture his skin and he seemed fine and dandy. Kowalski smile shyly at her attention and then joined her to the team.
Maybe all of them aren't jerks after all, Skipper thought.
"That was amazing," TJ praised Skipper and sounded like he really meant it. "You rescued Kowalski when the rest of us couldn't."
"It's a seal," he replied. "The most dangerous predator around here next to the whales. Anyway, fighting it was kind of a dumb idea."
"You're right, pipsqueak," TJ replied. "I have never seen such heroism from such a little penguin. You took action and knew what to do."
Skipper was so flattered. Apparently the leader of a penguin military was praising him for what he did. It was incredible and he swelled with pride.
"What's your name, little recruit?" TJ asked.
"Skipper," he replied. "Why do you need to know?"
"Just to remember you by. Thanks for the help. Come on, team. We really need to get back to base."
Well, that was it. All the penguins turned away from him like he didn't matter anymore. When they wanted to know his name, Skipper expected them to say something totally different like "What's your name, big strong heroic savior? We need you to join our military." How stupid was he? He felt like wailing when they began to leave him behind. They were the most fascinating penguins he ever met and now they were abandoning him.
When he thought all hope was lost, Kowalski said something to Austin he couldn't hear. Austin nodded with approval and then Kowalski tobogganed back to Skipper who now felt a flicker of hope.
"I know the odds of you saving me were like…58.753 to one and I really appreciate your help," Kowalski said generously. "I kind of felt like we were abandoning you and I was just making sure we left with something, you know."
"Sure," Skipper agreed. "Even though you're a nerd."
"Yeah, everyone says that," Kowalski replied, taking some offense.
"But I like you. Friends?"
Skipper raised a flipper and waited for a high five. Kowalski just stared blankly.
"It's a high five, brainy. You're supposed to slap me back."
"Oh…I get it."
Kowalski and Skipper high fived to present their friendship. Then Kowalski left to catch up to his own kind. Skipper just stared after them with longing. They were just so…cool. Everyone one of them were like this military force and took on every problem head on. At first he thought they were invader jerkfaces, but they were so much more than that. He wished that he could be Kowalski and see how they lived. They were much better than his own colony of cowards who met absolutely nothing to him. All they cared about was watching out for seals. Martin proved the point by retreating and leaving Skipper to fend for himself. These penguins had a purpose in life and he wanted to seek that purpose more than anything.
What's stopping you?
Skipper couldn't leave behind these penguins just yet. Staying far enough out of sight, he began to follow them. He wanted to see exactly what their home base was.