The steady thump of a massive rotor grew louder until it was just overhead. Putin looked up to see a Soviet Krokodil gunship hovering above.
The fuselage door slid open and heavy black ropes cascaded down, slapping onto the Bolshoi’s floor. The silhouette of a tiger appeared.
There was a flash of movement in the chopper’s side door, and then the Putin Pals were down and the Krokodil was flying away.
Putin and Snowy made eye contact, but then Snowy looked behind him and saw Orso—her father. She froze, and Putin cursed under his breath.
There was no time for this! Leonardo DiCaprio was clinging to the top of a silken banner, trapped between snarling pandas above and below.
“Snowy!” Putin bellowed. Her attention snapped back. “Lead the attack! Save the guests!” She paused for only an instant before obeying.
As the Pals dove into the fray, Putin turned his attention back to Orso. The Bear King was watching his daughter with a pained expression.
Putin, seeing his foe distracted, whipped a silver chandelier at his face. It smashed into Orso’s head, the flames scorching his fur.
The great bear cried out in pain, his gaze snapping back to his mortal enemy. Seeing Snowy obey Putin enraged him even more.
Putin heard a groaning, and turned to see Depardieu rising slowly. He walked over and kicked the French thespian in the head.
Looking up, Putin saw the rock band he’d hired cowering at stage left. “Start playing!” he shouted, and they launched into “Hot Blooded.”
Meanwhile, the Pals were making quick work of their task: Bears who weren’t dead or seriously wounded were making panicked retreats.
Murder Cat slashed a grizzly’s throat before diving off a balcony to crash down on another ursine assaulter. C-4 gaily yapped and pranced.
Sensing imminent defeat, Orso grew desperate. Gasoline squirted from a nozzle between his legs, dousing the floor, and he set it ablaze.
Flames spread through the theatre and terrified guests screamed and ran, knocking each other down as they raced for the exits.
Orso charged at Putin, who braced himself for a judo flip, but at the last moment Depardieu rose up and slashed at Putin’s back.
He reeled forward, and Orso’s steel claw clamped around his neck. The pressure could have crushed a tree trunk, and Putin’s eyes bulged.
Gasping, Putin saw Snowy watching the scene, mouth agape, unmoving. He felt betrayed, furious, saddened. The strength drained from his body.
Depardieu bit into Putin’s shoulder, but then released, screaming. Murder Cat was upon him, savagely flaying his shaven face.
Putin’s vision faded as he glimpsed Snowy starting to move forward, but before she could act, Black Ops slammed into Orso, toppling him.
As he fell, Orso released Putin; then, accepting his failure, he fled. The Krokodil reappeared, and the Putin Pals escaped the flames.