<----More Drawfaggery O NOES SPOILERZ
Episode One: The Three Brothers
"Hands off the controls, little breeches," A crackling voice snapped out with the force of crotchety old men with defiled lawns everywhere, "I'm driving."
With goggles already around his eyes and leather jacket done up, Huey Duck froze over the controls of the cargo plane. His eye twitched, a temper older than he could ever know locked up deep inside yearned to be unleashed, but he kept himself under control.
"Alright, alright. I was just horsing around."
The old man, a bear, with hints of grey poking through his coarse brown coat, sat down at the controls like a man sidling up to a wife of eighty years. Huey raised up his goggled to watch the peculiar ritual the old man had when starting up the banana-colored antique. The coos and sweet whispers as switches and instruments were pulled and activated.
The Sea Duck was old. That was Huey's first impression on that first day he arrived on the doorstep of "Higher-for-hire" looking for a legendary pilot that had been recommended to him by McDuck's old private pilot Launchpad McQuack. It was well-kept, and obviously still ran, but the plane itself, a sun-yellow pontoon-footed heap of a seaplane, was a relic.
Huey thought back to that first day as he listened to the propellers spin to life, the left one a little slower and stickier than the right.
"I'm Huey, Nice to meet you! You must be Baloo Bear. Launchpad sent me he..."
"Baloo's dead," The old man had said, before slamming the door closed.
"Wak!" cried Huey as the thin wood of the door smacked into his beak.
His white feathered hand rose up to rub at the tip of his beak. The first week or so in the Cape was rough. Every day he would come back to Higher-for-hire, trying to find out what had happened to Baloo, and what he could do now that he was dead, only to have a new bruise appear on his beak where he got too close to the closing door. Launchpad's absentminded approach to life had gotten Huey into one hell of a pickle there for a while. Asking around on the street he learned that Baloo had been dead for years, and if he was alive today he would be roughly 80 years old. Launchpad, that fucker, had let that little detail slip his mind when he recommended a new flying teacher that wouldn't have the habit of turning every other lesson into a crash course.
"You okay Huey?" his new teacher asked, "You look miles away."
Huey woke up out of the fog of the past with a start and started to check the instruments as if he had been wide awake the whole time.
"I'm fine Mr. Cloudkicker. Just fine." He then changed the subject. "Where we headed anyway?"
"Just a little errand for the King family. Melons, I think."
The Sea Duck floated along the lagoon, picking up speed for a takeoff.
"No cocaine-filled condoms stuffed inside them this time I hope."
Old man Cloudkicker shot Huey a look. "I keep telling you, kid, that was a misunderstanding. Louie's family doesn't do that. That was a misunderstanding."
"Yeah, one you had to talk yourself out of to customs."
"Huey, I've known Louie King and his family longer than you ever will. I know Louie. He wouldn't..."
"Maybe not in your day. He wouldn't need to," Huey crossed his arms, "But the Cape's been through a lot since then, hasn't it?"
"Kid, I agreed to teach you to fly in Papa... in Baloo's place as a favor to one of his friends. If you insist on insulting his and my most trusted friend we can call this off right now."
As the engine of the sea plane cranked its gears and turned its propellers the two men stared each other down. After a full minute, Kit Cloudkicker's stare, weighed down by years of grumpy old man mojo, won out. Huey looked away and down, closing his eyes in defeat. To break the ice, the old man gave a big booming laugh. Huey sank down in the co-pilot seat and smiled at the familiar signal. Argument over, you're off the hook.
"Cheer up, Little Breeches. I forgive you," Kit said, before giving one last adjustment to his instruments, "Now let's soar."
The buzzing engines propelled the sea plane on over the salty lake towards the twin cliff walls that once upon a time served as the island's only defense against invaders. Lifting up and down in the water, the pontoons bounced on the surface of the lake, before staying in the air for good just in time to fly between the cliffs, plunging the cabin into darkness.
Hitting the throttle, Old man Cloudkicker, tongue hanging out the side of his mouth, handled the control wheel with a steady hand borne of years of practice. Huey couldn't help by stare at the wrinkled, grey-furred fingers wrapped around the wheel, lit only by the single bare pilot light above the co-pilot's seat. Staring suddenly forward, towards the long, thin opening of the cliff, Huey felt a bit of the old feeling, that adrenalized feeling when a journey begins, when one isn't sure if it will be just a normal trip, or if those familiar, dreaded wacky hijinx are about to ensue. Huey's chest puffed out as the cabin was plunged into natural light, the sparkling blue ocean stretching out in every direction. He let his eyes refocus for a moment, before scanning the ocean, longing to take the Sea Duck, this beautiful, ancient relic of a more interesting age, and search the world over for treasure, excitement.
As the plane began to lose altitude, he let his eyes focus on the small island approaching his vision and sighed. If his Uncle had taught him anything, it's that business comes first.
On the other side of the world, the whirls of red and blue lit up the streets. Two men, holding sacks full of green, rocketed down an alley, legs pumping as fast as they could. One gave a mighty leap, grabbing onto a lowered fire escape ladder. His companion, strangely, merely reached out with a hand, letting a strange tendril shoot out, wrapping around the fire escape itself and pulling its owner up. Once secure, the two men hoisted their bags and climbed.
As the men crawled their ways onto the rooftops, they could hear the sirens riding off, down the street, around the corner and off on a wild goose chase. The light of the full moon illuminated the two men, as well as casting deep shadows, giving both a deathly pallor. One, a duck in a tweedy suit with patches on the elbows, reached behind himself to help up his companion, who wore a flat cap which obscured his face and species. As the men's hands came in contact, the fingers of the second man seemed to wrap around the arm of the first several times. Both up on their feet, they began to look around the roof for a good jumping point.
Suddenly, Flash! A sudden flare lit up the scene, blinding one, and causing the other to barely flinch. As their eyes adjusted to the light, they suddenly saw a glimpse of Green. The tweedy duck suddenly felt a pressure on his ankles, and looked down to see too late the thin, strong cords wrapping themselves around his legs. With a pull, he was swept off his feet and hung upside down from a nearby water tower, impacting with the metal scaffolding holding it up. The sack filled with green dropped to the ground, its valuable innards spilling and fluttering out over the rooftop.
The Duck howled in pain as he held his head. He was then quieted by a hand holding his beak closed.
"Stealing. Petty. I thought the criminals in this town were better than that."
From the tweedy duck's point of view, the new duck, in a green face mask obscuring everything but the eyes and beak, seemed to hang upside down from the ground, which was, of course the opposite of what it really was.
"You... You masked nuisance! You'll be sorry! You've stumbled way out of your league, boy. Who are you?"
A rather practiced pose was issued, as if dozens of hours in front of a mirror had paid off, "They call me the Green Phantom, evil-doer."
"Never heard of you. Spike!"
"Ha. I took care of your collaborator while you were... hung up. I'd say I've got this well in hand."
The green-clad duck stepped aside to reveal the accomplice splayed out on the ground, his hat dented by a heavy impact.
"Spike! My only companion! You'll be sorry! You'll all be sorry."
"Tell it to the judge," said the Green Phantom, "If you'll excuse me I'll get these leaves back to where they belo..." A legendary double take. "Leaves?"
With a disbelieving look, the eyes of the green masked drew wide as the hero looked into the bag. It wasn't full of crisp green bills like he thought, but instead filled with crisp green lettuce.
"I was finally going to build my dream woman! I've used every available form of plant protein, but Lettuce! It's such a simple cytoplasm, it can't possibly go wrong!"
With a horrible feeling sneaking its way up the Phantom's stomach to rest in his throat, the crime fighter retrieved a small flashlight from his utility belt. He drew the thin beam of light up and down the recently bagged criminal. Purple, shaggy flower petals served as hair, with a thin layer of yellow pollen on the small stems inside. Feathers, an acid green. Fingers, leafy and thin. The Green Phantom, the newest kid on the block, had picked a fight with an A-lister.
"What? You want an award?"
The Green Phantom swallowed. He had followed the hero dramas of the Fifties and Sixties as well as anyone. Bushroot, victim of a horrible experiment at his greenhouse lab, seeks revenge against those that wronged him and all plant kind. One of the perennial villains of Darkwing Duck. If this is Bushroot, then that means...
The green duck placed his leafy fingers in his beak and gave a piercing whistle. "Spike! Chow-time!"
"Oh," said the Green Phantom as he looked towards the fallen accomplice. There was only a small heap of empty clothes next to a bag full of the green leaves.
Hearing a slight rustle, as if something moved a bush, the Green Phantom leaped out of the way just before a long, spiked tendril cracked the rooftop with a whip-crack. The Phantom stood quickly, reaching for his toolbelt and pulling out a small hand-held tazer.
What met his gaze was a huge, carnivorous plant. The twin bowls of the head were spread wide, big enough for a young buck to fit inside. The thick stem was long and veined, which pulsed with some unknowable lifeblood. The thick tentacles, too many to count, were constantly in motion, their dance creating the light rustling sound heard earlier.
The plant named Spike had cut down its beloved master, and deposited him on a smooth, dripping tendril that had just burst from the monster's large stem. Once freed, and having no use for his disguise, Bushroot whipped off the tweed jacket and shirt, tossing them casually aside.
"It will do my Spike good to give him a snack," said the mad Bushroot, "Green heroes always taste the best."
The Green Phantom didn't even have time to roll his eyes at the terrible three-fold pun made at his expense before the tendrils bore down on him, forcing him into his first fight for his life.
A creaking door signaled her entrance. The squeaky wheels of the tea trolley traced her path through the darkened study. The clink of the ceramic tea set gave away her arrival by his side.
The single, tall window cast an even taller shaft of illumination over the scene. Blue moonlight spread over everything in the room. In the center, facing away from the window- from the light- Dewey Duck sat in a plush chair.
"Tea, Dewey?" said the woman, thin and fretful, in the sensible outfit of a housekeeper.
"No thank you Ms. Vanderquack."
A sudden silence permeated the room. The familiar clinks of teacups were suddenly halted.
"You may call me Webigail if you like, Dewey. Or Webby. We've known each other long enough that..."
And with that the conversation was over. Webigail Vanderquack, her eyes cast downwards, began to squeak back towards the creaky door.
She was stopped by a sudden voice, "Did Kagan send word?"
Without answering, Webigail left the tea trolley behind and walked back towards the easy chair. She pulled a sealed telegram out of a pocket in her apron and handed it to the duck. She then walked off silently, taking the trolley back up, opening the creaking door, and stepping out into the hall.
"Come in! Come in!" An island boy, an Ape wearing a lout Hawaiian shirt and a fake lei, the usual costume for this establishment, waved his ample arms to the two pilots, "Grandfather is waiting for you."
Kit walked out in front, with a bit of a limp. Old war injury, he would say. Huey couldn't help but match his pace as he walked behind the large old bear, subtly introducing a limp into his own gait. Huey wasn't paying attention to what Kit and the young boy talked about. In all the times Huey had come along to Louie's, the little flock of children, who always seemed to multiply every time, always had some bit of news to tell. Sam's teeth came in. Alice is dating someone or other who Grandfather approves of. Vincent is dating someone or other her doesn't.
Louie, or "King" Louie due to his impressive progeny, is the patriarch of one of the larger families on or near the Cape. A businessman at heart, in the 20s and 30s Louie was able to eke out an impressive living selling drinks and food to the revolving door of pilots and tourists that visited Cape Suzette. Until about five years before, Louie had been the sole proprietor of Louie's, and kept his family out of it. However, health being what it is, he knew he would need more help eventually. He officially brought his surprisingly large family in to act as his staff, and trained them all he knew, so they could carry on once he passed on.
Of course, his children brought their children. The veritable army of tykes and kids serving beer and spirits to the few hungry travelers that take the trouble to head out to Louie's small private island either charm or repulse, depending on how dirty the kids are that day.
Huey winced at a familiar noise. A rattling, heaving sigh of a breath that preludes exuberant, if strained, speech.
"Cuz'!" Another rattle, "'sat you?"
Huey figured he had to be at least in his 90s. Pushed in on a wicker-backed wheelchair by some ubiquitous grandchild, wrinkles and spots creased the already naturally wrinkled ape face and arms. Even more than Kit, Louie's arms and open shirt revealed an almost completely silver-grey mess of fur. He was smiling a toothless, scratch that, slightly toothed ear-to-ear smile, revealing the half-chewed remnants of a betel nut, staining the remaining teeth orange.
"Hiya Louie. How's tricks?"
With the slightest of hand gestures the nameless grandchild was indicated to roll Louie Closer. The long, grey arms, shaking from the effort, rose to meet Kit in a hug.
"Baloo," said Louie, "I'm glad you'll do this favor for me..." Another rattling breath, "Before I..."
"Yes, Louie," said Kit, humoring the old man, "What's the job?"
"And who's this? Another kid following you around, Baloo?"
Huey rose his arm in a wave, "Hi Louie."
"Hopefully you keep this one out of..." A breath, "...the war, hear? Haven't seen our Kit since..." a breath, "...since the good old days."
Huey gave a sideways glance to Kit. Louie's eyes had gone, along with his legs, his hearing, and his most everything. Huey had never known Louie before he was struck with the trappings of old age, but to hear Kit tell it, he used to be as robust and lively as anyone.
Suddenly, the accented voice spoke in a low timber, "So now, It's all inna back. Twenty crates of melons, ripe and juicy, Delivered to this here..." He casually stuck a rolled up slip of paper into Kit's hands while taking another shaky breath. "...This here dock on the mainland."
Kit nodded slowly, so Louie could see. There was nothing but care in his face as he patted the old man on the shoulder gently. "Don't worry, Louie. We old-timers have to stick together."
A wracking, breathless laugh wracked the Orangutan's chest as he slapped his useless knee, "Old-timer he says. You only 16 years old Kit. You crazy kid you."
Huey broke off as the conversation between old and older splintered off into talking about thing that happened and people that went away thirty years ago. He sat at the bar, tended to by Louie's eldest grandson, Orin. He wore the usual Hawaiian shirt of the establishment, but went without the Lei, and the wide-brimmed straw hat went unworn on a hook near the back.
"What'll you have, Mr. Duck," Said Orin in an obviously exaggerated accent.
"Save the cheese for the vacationers, Orin, I want a drink."
Orin got busy, in the practiced, steady motion of fixing up a bowl of Louie's specialty, the "special" ice cream concoctions that get you drunk without you even realizing it. Soon, a strawberry milkshake was sitting in front of Huey, sweating in the humid equatorial heat.
"How's business?" asked Huey, making conversation as the glass slid his way.
"Not nearly as good as it could be. Grandfather, bless him, won't listen when I say we should change some things around here." Orin then went to exhibit that neutral action of bartenders everywhere, cleaning an already clean glass. "We should move inland to the island proper, nobody wants to take a plane ride just to have a drink anymore. There's no profit in maintaining this dump."
"Then why stick around?" asked Huey, "Find greener pastures."
Orin looked horrified. "And leave my family behind? No. No, of course not. This is my home. Even if all of the fathers and mothers side with Grandfather, it's no reason to leave. I just wish I had... some control over matters."
Huey let the conversation trail off from there. Kit walked up soon after.
"Get ready for an ice cream headache kid. We're leaving."
In his haste to get back in the air, Huey took one last deep drag on his Strawberry milkshake, The combination of Alcohol and icecream going straight to his head and bringing on a massive brainfreeze.
"Urh!" grunted Huey, holding his head and running out to meet the old man on the docks.
With a jerk, an automatic pulley-system attached to a grappling gun, designed to lift up to 2000 pounds of weight without a strain, wrenched out of the Green Phantom's unprepared grip and was never seen again in the alley below.
"Worst three thousand dollars I ever spent," sighed the masked man as he turned to face his doom.
The gigantic fly trap, growing ever larger by the minute, bore down on the green-clad hero. The roof where it stood seemed to crack and strain under the weight of the giant plant.
"Oooh ohhh! I always love it when the good guys don't know how to use their own gadgets!" squealed Bushroot, still sitting on a smooth vine below the plant's snapping jaws, "Any last words, Green Fathead?"
"And no giving your last words as 'Geronimo' and jumping off the roof to land in an open dumpster or something. I HATE that."
Green Phantom gave a quick look to the alley below. No, there were no convenient dumpsters or garbage cans to fall into, and no extra grapple gun to enact an emergency escape with.
He gave a weak shrug and a weaker smile, "Er... I... You'll never get away with it?"
"Poor choice, new guy. Stale line. Was outdated even before I started, and I've been in this game for a long time. Spike?"
A long, spiked vine rose up, ready to crush the duck. Louie gulped, bracing himself for impact.
Poof! Suddenly, with a small explosion, the rooftop was filled with smoke. Poof! Another explosion, inside Spike's gaping maw, causing the creature to give an unearthly screech and backpedal with its tendrils.
"I am the terror that flaps in the night."
Louie's heart skipped a beat. He's here!
"Oh, hell no!" yelled the leafy villain.
The voice, a strangely high-pitched voice for an adult male crimefighter, continued, "I am the chainsaw that chops down your tree!"
"I swear, Darkwing. Every since you came back your little metaphors have gotten very violent," said Bushroot with a pout as he waved his arms in the air to disperse the smoke.
"I am..." Atop the watertower, there he stands. Violet cape held taut behind him, wide-brimmed hat throwing a shade over his face. "...Darkwing Duck!"
"Golly!" yelled the Green Phantom, before covering his mouth, knowing that superheroes shouldn't be too impressed with eachother.
"Are you all right, Greenie?"
"What? Oh. Yeah. Just fine."
The masked mallard himself then pulled a delicately crafted bow from behind his back, knocking an arrow in the blink of an eye and aiming for the giant flytrap.
"Suck gas, Evildoer!"
He then let fly. The arrow, with a bulbous ball on the end, burst as it came in contact with the plant. Almost immediately, Louie could detect a harsh chemical smell entering his nostrils. He pulled a small gasmask out of his utility belt, grateful that something would come in handy. With the plant's unholy screams resonating across three city blocks, setting off car alarms and causing people to yell profanity out their windows for a mile around, Louie began to feel his way off the roof, through the gas. A small white feathered hand reached up through the thick soup of the fog, preceding the purple-clad vigilante.
"Uh! Oh! How'd you get down here so fast?" said Louie, startled.
"Practice. You coming or not?"
Without a word, Louie took his hand. Darkwing then jerked the hand away, and grabbed the green-clad duck roughly by the waist, jumping off the roof into clear air.
Louie gave a yell as his face was dangled downwards, the city streets racing towards him. The vision then roughly stopped, and his vision was momentarily blurred by all of the blood racing to his head at once. He chanced a look up and noticed that his savior was holding onto a strong cord, much like the one he was using in the grappling gun. While still carrying the Green Phantom, DW stepped onto the pavement delicately, before dumping Louie unceremoniously on the ground.
Louie stood, wobbling. He shook his head to regain his focus and noticed, for the first time, that Darkwing Duck was shorter than he was, wore his hair in a ponytail, and wasn't a duck at all. More of a goose. A thought suddenly struck Louie.
"Shouldn't we run? He could still come after us."
"That's weedkiller up there, new guy. He's not going to be moving for a while yet."
"B-but when he does."
Darkwing rolled his eyes, green eyes Louie couldn't help but notice, and looked down at a watch, "You remember how the roof was cracking?"
"Good, you're observant. You might have hope in this business yet."
He raised three fingers up. She lowered his ring finger. He lowered his middle finger. He lowered his pointer finger. He then put both pointers in his ears.
"Boom." Said the rooftop above, as the bomb DW set above went off.
Louie covered his head with his arms as a few bits of debris fell about. "You blew him up?"
"He'll grow back. He always does. Its how he stays so young." Darkwing began to walk back up the alley, towards the fire escape, intending to check out the damage. Louie couldn't help, no, Louie refused to help but notice the way Darkwing carry himself, with an easy grace, full of hips and without the usual swagger associated with the male sex. In a moment of gay panic, Louie looked away pointedly. After that, however, it wasn't long before he finally put together the pieces.
"You're a woman."
"Good one. Think that up all by yourself?"
"Well... Isn't Darkwing Duck supposed to be a man?"
"I was, for a long time. I got tired of it." She then hopped onto a trashcan, leaping off of it to grab the low-hanging fire escape ladder.
"Oh no you don't," yelled Louie, jumping up to grab onto the bottom run of the ladder, and pulling himself up, "Darkwing really DID die in that hit, didn't he? You're his replacement."
"I neither confirm, nor deny."
The two of them continued to climb up the fire escape calmly, each one every so often climbing up the sides of the scaffold to get in front of the other. Green Phantom plopped himself in front of Darkwing and stuck her on the end of an accusatory pointer finger.
"And the arrows? Darkwing Duck used a gas gun."
"I saved your feathers. You should be thanking me, not trying to deduce my life's story."
Pushing Louie out of the way, Darkwing started back up again. The Duck continued to follow. The two heroes crawled their way up to the destroyed roof, and stood up on the edge, surveying the collapsed rooftop covered with dark green sludge.
"That'll take about half a year to come back from," said DW, "What was he after anyway?"
"Ah. Of course. A simple cytoplasm, perfect for his purposes. That could have been messy."
"This isn't messy?"
"Kid, you don't know messy until you've fought in a sewer. Believe me. Not all it's cracked up to be."
"You can't be that much older than me." A quick once over. "In fact I'd say you're a little younger. Why am I the kid?"
"Because, Greenie, you just started. I've been at this for years."
"You know, I've been having adventures like this since I was a kid. I just never wore a mask until now."
"Good for you, Frank Hardy. Where's Joe?"
"Really. I knew Giszmoduck in his Duckburg days for crying out loud. I'm the one who should be calling you squirt, or pintsize, or..."
"Yeah, or Louie, or... WAK!" A sudden start. The Green-clad duck flinched away from the masked mallard as if she was on fired, "B-but... How?"
"Isn't it obvious?" DW began to say, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. She turned with a flourish and sat down on the edge of the building, letting the moonlight wash over her. "You say you knew Gizmoduck. During his Duckburg days, Gizmoduck was the robo-bodyguard of one Mr. Scrooge McDuck. Scrooge McDuck has died, leaving his fortune to his three nephews. One of them, says the Duckburg Herald, has moved to Saint Canard to start a new life, purportedly after a heated battle with his brother. Well, since Huey Duck moved abroad to dodge the draft, and Dewey appears to be living in Duckburg managing Scroogie's finances, that just leaves you, Louie Duck, as the Green Phantom." She looked up at Louie with a smile, "Am I right?"
A moment of stunned silence bubbled in the air around them, before Louie regained his composure and sat himself down next to her. "I neither confirm, nor deny."
"I learned from the best, kid," DW said, putting extra emphasis on the 'kid.' She then stood up and knocked a quick arrow into her lithe bow. The arrow flew out over the rooftops, creating a rope, useful for swinging.
"Er, wait, Darkwing."
"Can I, er, see you again?" Louie tried to give his most dashing smile to the Violet-clad woman, but merely succeeded in looking a little demented.
"You did not just say that," said DW simply, before she jumped from the roof and swung away.
The Green Phantom, hoping to catch up, reached for his grapple-gun, remembering too late its ultimate fate.
Unknown to either hero, however, a third shadow flits across the night. Watching. Waiting.
"I don't like it."
"What? A guy's allowed to have an opinion. We already got shafted once by a shipment of Louie's, who's to say this one's not the same?"
"It's not, because I trust Louie, Kid. Same way I trust my own right arm to fly this plane."
Pilot and co-pilot sat, not looking at each other, but still engaged in a deep argument about the suspicions surrounding the Cargo.
"I say it wouldn't hurt to check," said Huey, "One melon. We open it up. If it's clean we have a laugh and a snack. If it's dirty we dump it all in the ocean and..."
"Huey. I'm not warning you again."
Huey leaned back, arms crossed behind his head in a posture of relaxation, but face contorted with the early onset symptoms of rage, "Fine. Just fine. You do what you want. If we get arrested by customs don't say I didn't..."
"I wasn't finished talking, Old Man."
"No. Shut up. Listen." Kit's face was suddenly alert and serious, and Huey couldn't help but strain to hear over the roaring propellers of the Sea Duck.
He couldn't quite make it out, but there was something. A beating, rhythmic sound just out of range of hearing.
"What is it?"
Suddenly, the CB radio sprang to life.
"Hello Sea Duck," The voice was thickly accented with a Spanish inflection, and had a buoyant quality, as if he had the best job in the world, "S.I.L, no? I have come to inspect your wares if you please."
Huey whispered to Kit, "Sky pirates?"
Owing to many of the amazing technological marvels in the heyday of the Sky around Cape Suzette, Sky law had gotten stricter. Piracy and smuggling had become such problems in the air that an independent organization had to be set up to counteract it. Enter the Sky Inspection League, an offshoot of the international police organization S.H.U.S.H. Using technology lifted straight from the pirates themselves, massive, advanced airships to use as a mobile base, the S.I.L was given free rein to police the skies over the oceans of the world. Due to this, sky piracy has gone down in frequency --perhaps due to something just as fun, more profitable, and a lot more legal opening up-- but simple smuggling, an act that is as timeless as the ideas of travel and contraband, stayed a common occurrence.
It entered Huey's line of vision, causing his stomach to drop through his diaphragm. A massive airship, armed to the teeth, held up by a truly astonishing amount of helicopter rotors. In between each rotor was an anti-air gun. The whole thing was colored a clashing array of blue, white, and Orange. The front seemed to resemble the face of some bird of prey, or perhaps, more appropriately, a carrion bird.
"If you would please fly into the Iron Vulture pretty please if you will."
Huey and Kit each gave a glance to the other. Kit's face betrayed a just enough doubt to make Huey feel a lilt of triumph. Triumph soon squelched by what that would mean for their asses. S.I.L isn't one of those kinder and gentler international police organizations. Kit picked up the CB and began to speak.
"Well well. If it isn't Karnage Junior. How's pops?"
"Mr. Cloudkicker. One of the thorns in the side of international sky piracy before the formation of S.I.L. I am so pleased to we meet again." The voice continued on, "If you please..."
"Can't you let us off with a pass, Junior?"
"You will call me by my proper name of Commodore Perry Kid or you may call me sir, Mr. Cloudkicker. There must be respect in the ranks if there is to be any order at all. Any insinuation that I have any familial relation with the infamous pirate Don Karnage is simply slander, yes no?"
Kit ignored this little outburst, "You know we're on the level. We've just got crates of melons from Louie's. Melon's ain't illegal, are they?"
"Even so..." the Iron Vulture's orange-colored jaws opened, revealing a massive hangar inside, "Please. Be my guest. We shall all feel better if we check."
The guns, every last one of them loaded and locked, swiveled towards the Sea Duck on cue, ready to fire at a moment's notice. With no other choice, Kit steered the yellow bird into the hangar inside, trying to have faith that there is nothing Louie's given them that would get the two of them in trouble with the S.I.L. The Iron Vulture's beak closed with a clang.
"Operator. I'd like to place a call to the Khan Building in Bombay, India. Farid Kagan." Dewey Duck gave a look of deep thought. "Reverse the charges."
It was morning and as usual, Dewey Duck was in early. Standing in front of the desk he would always refer to as "Scrooge's", he held the phone receiver, between his chin and shoulder, rummaging through his desk for the pertinent papers for this conversation. He finally pulled out a file marked "Important," as the fourth and fifth rings gave their muffled call.
"Yes?" The voice was honey in the ear, It had the tone of a sly smile and the timbre of a single raised eyebrow. No trace of an accent was found, and Dewey always wondered how he did that. His own Hindi was terrible.
"Farid Kagan? It's Dewey Duck, McDuck Enterprises."
"Ahh, yes. I see you've gotten my telegram. I would have liked to have heard from you earlier, but alas, the time difference is such a bore."
"Any word on the find?"
"Yes, in fact." There was the rustling of papers in the background of the call, "Of the three sites you specified, the northernmost site in India has a rather rich vein of ore. You've made a very good choice of claim, Mr. Duck."
Dewey nodded. He didn't want to celebrate too early. He'd barked up too many wrong trees in trying to expand his uncle's business to celebrate this early in the game. If this turned out to be a false lead it was back to square one. "Are you absolutely sure?"
"Positively, Mr. Duck. No need to worry."
"I still want to go out there, see for myself."
"Of course. I would expect no less."
After a moment, the thrill had worn off, and Dewey's racing heart had slowed. Alright. I've struck gold. Now what?
"Mr. Duck. Are you still with us?"
"What? Oh. Yes, Farid. It's just..."
"Y... yes. He was a just a little older than I am when he made his first million. It's a little hard to compete, you know?" Dewey shook his head, "Why am I saying this? Sorry, Farid."
"Oh, no," Farid said, his voice lilting and comforting, "It's all right. I know exactly how you feel."
"I don't suppose your uncle was a multi-bajillionaire as well."
"No, merely a normal run-of-the-mill Millionaire. He always told me that I was the only help I needed to seek the bottom line. I do always feel a pang of guilt dipping into my inheritance for personal gain," Farid gave a slight pause, "I assume that is why you limited using McDuck resources on this find, so it would be a fortune you create yourself."
"Dead to rights, Farid," Dewey allowed himself a slight smile, rubbing his eyes with his free hand. It was only a moment, however, and soon his face was back to business. "I'll be there in a week. I've got to finish up my business here before I can devote my full time to this project. In the meantime please send me some samples, as soon as..."
"Do not worry, Mr. Duck. I can take care of things for you until you get here. You'll have those samples within two days."
"Thank you Farid. Goodbye."
"Goodbye, Mr. Duck."
Dewey hung up the phone. Dewey stretched his arms. Dewey leaned back in Scrooge McDuck's chair. In a moment of indulgence, Dewey picked the phone back up and called the mansion.
"McDuck manor, Mr. Duck is out right now. Shall I take a message?"
"Oh, Dewey. What is it, sir?"
"Er... That is," What was I going to ask her? "If... Ms. Vanderquack, if you would like. Have you ever been to India?"
"Yes Dewey. I've been to India. With your brothers and Uncle Scrooge."
"Oh. Well. Did you like it?"
"I don't remember much. I was very young."
What am I doing, Dewey thought, Why am I inviting my housekeeper along?
Sensing the tenseness of the silence, Webigail began to speak, "Shall I pack for warm weather?"
A sigh of relief rushed out of Dewey's beak, "Yes, yes. We will leave for Bombay in a week."
"Yes sir," Webigail said, a thin layer of business in her voice disguising a feeling of contentment.
"Good," said Dewey, before hanging up roughly.
The duck adjusted the collar of his shirt, loosening up the blue tie holding it tight to his neck. Moving automatically, Dewey's arm unlocked and opened up the bottom drawer of Scrooge's desk and pulled a small flask out. He twisted the cap off and took a swig, grimacing at the burn as the liquid slid past his gullet. Replacing the cap, he placed the flask back in the drawer and closed it.
His head turned, staring at the tall portrait of Scrooge McDuck that scrutinized the room with its gaze - quite literally, since the eyes were also security cameras- and nodded.
"I may never catch up, but I'll give my damndest effort, you rich bastard."
Having made his piece, he stood and walked into the money bin, closing the vault door behind him. He had some hard staring into the abyss to do. No good disrupting his schedule for something as insignificant as making his own way in the world.