[a news bulletin plays]
NEWS ANCHOR: ... and in lighter news, the University of Akron’s mascot, Zippy the Kangaroo, is still missing. [chuckle] Looks like the police better *hop* to his assistance! Have a great night.
[remote control flies against wall above TV, shatters]
VOICE IN DARKNESS: They think we’re all some big joke, and they can’t even bother to know that, canonically, Zippy is female. Those bastards never cared about us. We’re going to have to do this ourselves. [picks up phone] Hey. It’s me. We’ve gotta get the crew together. We’re gonna get her back.
[later, in an undisclosed location that’s definitely not just a hotel ballroom in Akron]
FLASH, THE KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASH: Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve called you here because our friend, our colleague, our sister Zippy is missing, and the police aren’t doing a damned thing about it.
CHARLIE, THE BALL STATE CARDINAL: Wait, I thought you guys hated each other. Isn’t she your arch-rival?
FLASH: That’s nonsense. Sure, we hate each other on any given Saturday. Well, we don’t play a lot of Saturday games actually. It’s more like any given Tuesday night. I think we play a Monday brunch game this fall. But my point is, that’s competition. Inside the lines, sure, we hate each other. She’s one of us, though, and we don’t turn our backs on our own when they’re in danger.
THE BOWLING GREEN FALCON: Are we sure she didn’t just run away?
FLASH [punching wall]: DAMMIT FALCON, don’t you think we considered that before calling you in here? We’ve already checked everywhere. Myrtle Beach, Epcot, Cancun. No one from Akron has ever vacationed anywhere else. She wouldn’t just disappear like this.
VICTOR E. BULL, THE MASCOT OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT BUFFALO: This is a bunch of bull.
[the others stare at him, annoyed]
VICTOR: Alright, well, that’s all I had to add. I’m gonna take off.
BUSTER, THE WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCO: What if - what if she’s actually still around - and *we’re* the ones who disappeared? [coughing]
RUFUS, THE OHIO BOBCAT: OPEN YOUR EYES, PEOPLE! “Akron’s mascot” is just an anagram for “Macron’s Ascot”! It’s an elite globalist conspiracy!
CHARLIE CARDINAL: Well, not quite, Macron’s spelled with a “C”, you even kinda said it that way. It’s close, I’ll give you that, but-
RUFUS: ARE YOU PART OF THIS, YOU ILLUMINATI SCUM? YOU BLACK-HELICOPTER GOONS HAVE DONE ENOUGH ALREADY, HAVEN’T YOU?
CHARLIE: I took a helicopter ride in Las Vegas once, but I got sick. We had to miss Celine Dion. I think it might have been bad flan at the buffet.
ROCKY THE TOLEDO ROCKET GUY OR WHATEVER: We don’t know everything about her background. She lived in Akron. Well-connected to the rubber industry. Originally from Australia, presumably. But maybe she had a hidden life we weren’t aware of. Unsavory affiliations. People have secrets. We all do.
CHARLIE: Do you?
ROCKY: Uh... no.
ROCKY: Nothing at all.
THE CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHI- ah, hoo, boy, this is a problematic mascot, not sure I want this post to go down that road, uh, wait - hold on a second, I think I have an idea
THE CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHiPs: We’ll fan out and check the highways. If our girl’s out there, we’ll find her. [flashes winning smile] Fire up, CHiPs! [they rev their motorcyles and peel out]
CHARLIE CARDINAL: Oh, that’s a nice compromise.
BUSTER BRONCO: Way less problematic.
THE FALCON: An elegant and fun way to make the necessary transition away from a Native American team name.
ROCKY ROCKET: It’s cool and doesn’t feel forced at all, or sound like a crappy minor league baseball team.
SWOOP, THE MIAMI OF OHIO REDHAWK: I hate you guys.
SWOOP, THE EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLE: hey your name is Swoop my name is Swoop do you want to be friends, Swoop
SWOOP, THE REDHAWK [deep sigh]: Washington’s NFL team said they’d change their name if we did! We were both gonna do it. Everyone was going to think RedHawks was cool.
BOWLING GREEN FALCON: No one was ever going to think that RedHawks was cool.
FLASH: Guys, guys, we’re completely off track here, and every second we waste here is time Zippy could be getting further away or in greater danger. Aside from CMU’s sexy traffic cops, no one’s offered any viable solutions!
VICTOR E. HUSKIE, THE NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKY: Wait! I’ve got the scent of something. Follow me, everybody!
[Victor rushes out, and they all follow, because, c’mon, you always follow a cool dog]
[later, at an airfield nearby]
ZIPPY: Oh, hey guys. Yeah, sorry for scaring you all like that. I just needed a little time to work on my project. Neat partnership with one of our local corporate sponsors. What do you think?
SWOOP THE REDHAWK: This is worse than losing 11 straight games to my archrival.
SWOOP THE EAGLE: I made us friendship bracelets.
SWOOP THE REDHAWK: I hate you guys.