PREVIOUSLY ON THE GREAT PITSTOP PANDEMONIUM...
Velma and Daphne have arrived at the stately home of Daphne's friend Penny Pitstop, but perils are approaching from all sides.
A villainous fiend, taking the name of The Hooded Claw, has traced a jewel known as The Star of Alamein. The trail has led to Pitstop Manor - a place where he feel she can avenge the ignominy poured on his ancestor.
Penny had hired Dee Dee, of the San Francisco based Teen Angels, to help with security, but over the last 24 hours the girls have been kidnapped, tied up, nearly killed and generally menaced by not only The Hooded Claw, but another villain who is after The Star - or may be after Daphne. Dee Dee has been joined by the hero known as Captain Caveman, and a small man by the name of Clyde, who have their suspicions about Penny's brother Peter.
When we last saw them, Velma and Daphne had been rescued from a watery grave by Taffy and Brenda, Dee Dee's colleagues, while Penny and Nida, the real owner of The Star, were bound and gagged in a van that was about to explode thanks to a diabolical, and possibly insane, trap set by The Hooded Claw. As we rejoin our story, there has been an explosion in the grounds of Pitstop Manor...
"What the..." Velma said as they saw the plume of smoke rising a short distance away. "Did something just explode over there?"
The four girls reacted by instinct, and ran in the direction of the smoke column, the path taking them through the woods to a small clearing, in the centre of which stood the burning husk of a large van.
"What happened here?" Daphne whispered as a large man mountain ran from the other direction, followed by Dee Dee. "PRINCESS!! PRINCESS NIDA!!" he called out as Dee Dee said "Have you seen Penny? She was grabbed and taken hostage, then..."
"We're over here," Penny said as she stood up, the adhesive from the tape gag still around her mouth. Beside her was Nida, her face smudged with soot but otherwise unharmed, but it was the man standing behind them that caught Daphne's eye.
He was at least six foot four, and broad shouldered, with white hair cut in a close crew cut. The red shirt he was wearing was old fashioned, almost sixties in the styling, but hung open at the top two fastenings. Brushing some flecks of ash from his shoulders, he said "It's a good thing I was on my way here and saw what was happening - I managed to land the Helijet and get the two women free just in time.
"Bannon? Race Bannon?" Daphne said, before she ran over and hugged the new arrival. "Is Jonny here as well?"
"Not today, Daphne," Race said as he put his large hands on her shoulders. "I came on a personal matter, but it appears a lot more has been going on. Why are you so wet anyway?"
"Long story - but it seems we've only heard the half of it." As they talked, Dee Dee was in conversation with Brenda and Taffy, when her cell phone started ringing.
"You don't say.
"You don't say.
"You don't say. We'll be right back."
"Who was that," Velma said as Dee Dee put her phone away.
"I can't say - not yet anyway," was all the young woman said before she turned to Race. "I don't believe I've had the pleasure..."
"Roger Bannon, OSI - call me Race," he said as he showed Dee Dee a card. "look, I understand a lot has happened, but I would appreciate been told some of it - and I think you all need showers for various different reasons. Is there somewhere we can go, change and talk?"
"Back to the manor," Penny said as he looked at the way Hassan was apologising to Nida, "The fair can cope without us for an hour or so. The bands are due to start playing soon anyway."
Thirty minutes later, Daphne and Velma came into the dining room, having showered and changed into a more usual form of clothing. They found Bannon and Hassan deep in conversation, while Penny and Nida were sitting down. Penny had changed into a light grey jacket and joggers, her feet in a pair of black suede boots, while Nida was wearing a green smock top with dark leggings and sandals.
"Now do you believe there is another Hooded Claw," Thelma said as they sat down.
"I do - and I'm sorry I doubted you," Penny said with a smile, "Nida has been telling me something of him."
"He first appeared in my country six months ago - he caused much panic and fear in his attempts to find a large hidden treasure, legend says as great as that found by Ali Baba."
"Ali Baba? I thought he was a fictional character?"
"Oh no, my dear Daphne - he was very real, and very great. I know, for I am the custodian of the treasure, as have been my family for generation upon generation, since my ancestor Queen Nida and her husband King Turhan. Hassan here is my bodyguard, as his ancestors have been for mine."
"What I cannot understand," Penny said as she saw the Teen Angels walk in, "is who this new Hooded Claw is. After Sylvester Sneakley was incarcerated, there are no records of any children - he wasn't married and died in prison."
"Can you remember what he looked like," Dee Dee said as they all sat round the table.
"Not that tall - only a little more than Velma - but dressed in the ludicrous purple suit and big hat the stories Grandma used to tell me had in them. What I don't understand is why he ended up here - unless..."
"It is partly my fault," Nida said quietly. "The Star of Alamein is more than a jewel - it is the key to the location of the treasure, if you know how to use it. When he came too close with an attempt to steal it, I consulted with my advisors, and they suggested it was sent to a place for safe keeping - here, in fact. It is known far and wide that the Teen Angels Detective Agency can help a young girl in need, and I did not think her would look here. So we engaged an agent to facilitate the transport - it appears, however, that he got wind of this and tracked her down."
"To Morocco," Race said. "The agent is a - friend of mine, by the name of Jezebel Jade. She managed to send it through a secure courier to New York, from which it was to be forwarded to your ladies, before he caught up with her. I found her, and she asked me to come and ensure there were no problems - it seems I arrived a little too late to prevent them."
"I went to New York, and spoke to the courier there. She had sent it on to you, but when I arrived you had already come here. Did you meet this man?" He looked at Brenda and Taffy as he said this, and both girls nodded.
"He threatened us, but we had already sent on the parcel to Dee Dee," Taffy said. "In fact, he seemed genuinely surprised when we said it was here - almost as if he had not expected to come here. Is there history between you two?"
"History is the right word," Penny said quietly. "His ancestor tried to kill my great-grandmother - it was only through luck, and the help of some fine young men, that she survived. Talking of which - where is Clyde?"
"Oh yes," Dee Dee said quietly, "I asked them to do something for me. Hang on." She stood up and left the room, as Nida noticed Velma lost in thought.
"What is it, Velma," she said quietly.
"If this man who called himself the Hooded Claw only knew to come here the day we arrived," she mused, "then who sent that card? The envelope was franked three days before."
"Clyde? Clyde, are you in here?"
Dee Dee opened the door to the garage, only to find Peter putting a bag in the trunk of his car.
"Have you seen Clyde anywhere, Peter," she said, as he slammed the lid down.
"Nope, sorry, haven't seen the little guy - well, must dash, have a lot to..."
"Going somewhere, Little Peter Pitstop?" Clyde appeared from behind a stack of boxes, looking at Peter as he said "You should took a look inside the bag in the trunk, Dee Dee - you might find something interesting in the sock section."
"Really," Dee Dee said as Peter stood by the car. "Would you like to show me, Peter? After all, it would look very suspicious if you were to leave with so much going on."
"Well, you know how it is," Peter said quietly as Dee Dee and Clyde walked towards him, "Business to do, people to meet, and the fair is going well enough without me, so..."
"Open the trunk, Peter."
"Well, if you insist...." Peter walked to the rear of the car, but as the other two approached he grabbed Dee Dee, his arm going round her neck and his hand over her mouth.
"Hands off the lady," Clyde said as he charged forward, only to stumble as Peter kicked a box in his way and fall in, fidnign himself head down in the plastic padding inside.
"I'm truly sorry it has to be this way," he said a she grabbed a roll of silver tape and dragged Dee Dee off, "but I need to make sure I can make a clean getaway, and I need to stash you somewhere quiet."
"This is getting to be a very worrying habit - now Dee Dee has disappeared?"
"Oh come on Velma," Daphne said, "she's only been gone thirty minutes. What could have happened in that time?"
"Oogga Booga Look what I find," Captain Caveman said as he flew in, surprising both Hassan and Race as they stood up.
"My god," Race said quietly, "so the rumours were true. Doctor Bannon always wondered if it was possible, but this..."
"Hand off Cavey Wavey," Brenda said as she hugged the latest arrival, "He's my hero. What have you found, Lil Cavey?"
He blushed bright red before saying "Me fly overhead when me see and find this." He dug into his hirsute covering, and brought forth a baloney and pickle sandwich.
"Oh sorry, that me lunch," he said as he dug in again, only to bring out this time a hat and cape, both made of purple cloth.
"That - that is the hat and cloak the man who called himself the Hooded Claw wore," Nida said as she stood up. "Where did you find this, strange man?"
"Oogga Booga hello pretty lady," Captain Caveman said as he produced a bird from his club, who then offered a bunch of flowers to Nida. "me find these things near car in parking area - what you call jalopy."
"Cavey," Velma said quietly, "Have you seen Peter anywhere?"
"Little man Clyde looking at him - he very suspicious."
"Peter," Penny finally said, "What does he have to do with this - you don't think he's the Hooded Claw?"
"No - but I think he knows something. Come on."
"Where are we going?" Penny looked at her watch. "I have to make a speech to close the fair in ten minutes."
"You go with Nida, Hassan and the girls to do that," Velma said. "Daphne, Cavey, and Race, you come with me - I think we need to find Peter."
"I don't believe it - she survived, and so did the princess!"
The Hooded Claw put down the binoculars as he watched Penny walk onto the stage, where a trio of musicians were waiting.
"Still no matter - she has kept to the timetable, and she cannot avoid this trap. Once that bass guitarist hits the pedal for the guitar, it will complete the circuit that will start the timer, and then everyone will have an explosive end to their day. We can then grab the Star in the confusion - our patsy said they already had it."
Under the stage, a wire through a hole in the wood down to a timing device, around which was strapped a considerable amount of explosive. Next to that explosive was a dividing support - and on the other side of the support was Dee Dee, twisting madly to try and free herself from the tape bands that held her legs tightly together at the ankles, knees and thighs, as well as her arms tightly to her side. Her wrists were secured behind her back, and her mouth covered with several strips of the tape.
She knew nothing of the bomb - her eyes were fixed solely on the snake that was making its way slowly towards her, the diamond backed head expanding as it looked at her.
From above, she heard Penny say "Ladies and Gentlemen, it has been a fantastic day today, but we are only just starting. We hope you will stay for the firework display, but for now, pleas enjoy the music of - The Impossbiles!"
As the quartet walked towards the garage, Captain Caveman flew ahead, before calling back "OOGGA BOOGA COME QUICK - LITTLE MAN IN TROUBLE!!"
They ran in to see a pair of legs sticking out of the top of a box. Race ran forward, and pulling the man out said "Clyde Wheelwright - I see you still end up in the more obscure places."
"I go where I'm needed Bannon - now put me down, we have to stop Peter Pitstop."
"Why?" Daphne said as she stood in the doorway.
"Because," Clyde said a she opened the trunk of Peter's car and took his bag out, "He had The Star of Alamein in his possession, and because he's the one who nabbed you earlier, toots." He dug around in the bag before producing the jewel, and turning round.
"See - hey, where did she go?"
Velma and Race turned round, but where Daphne had been was now empty space.
"Oh great," Velma said with a shrug of the shoulders, "It always happens to her."
"So I hear," Clyde said "but I think I know where she is. Where's Dee Dee though - he took her off earlier."
There's a new dance that just hit town,
Everyone's coming from miles around.
As the music started Dee Dee watched, wide eyed as the snake moved from side to side, not knowing of the timer that had just flickered into life next to her...