Here you go, kids. Episode 3. I am officially over par as far as my original expectation of "2 chapters before rage-quitting" is concerned. Even if I'm the only person who will ever read it, here it is.
The Audubon Bay Bridge, portal through which the teeming metropolis of Saint Canard meets the company town of Duckburg. A half-moon lit the scene atop the high towers of the gothic suspension bridge. A figure, invisible to all on the shore but the sharpest eye and longest telescope, dressed in her violet cape and hat, practiced a slow, deliberate motion, each movement sliding a muscle gently along her body underneath her double breasted coat. The downy coat of feathers covering her bare hands and tail section ruffled in the deceptively strong winds causing the steel cords of the bridge to whistle and shake. No matter, however, as her body, lithe and supple, and yet somehow immovable by any outside force, slowly, excruciatingly, placed itself into the next position in the kata.
She heard him before she saw him. Over the howling winds atop the bridge's tower, just inside of her hearing, ragged breath caused her ears to prick up. Slowly, timing the intruder's position by the labored gasps, Darkwing Duck slowly moved each muscle back into a neutral position, before reaching down for her elegent bow and quiver.
Knocking a single, simple, iron-tipped arrow, Darkwing walked over to the edge of the bridge tower and pointed the tip down, pulling taut the bow, lining the view over the shaft between the two eyes surrounded by a green cloth.
"Woah!" Yelled the Green Phantom, nearly losing his already tenuous grip on the Sure-Stick wall-grips he was using to scale the Audubon Bay Bridge, "It's me!"
The arrow loosened, slightly. "What are you doing here?"
"I heard..." He grunted, beginning the climb up onto the flat top of the tower, flopping over onto the steel-riveted floor. "I... I heard you come here... sometimes."
"Oh you did." The arrow was finally loosened and replaced back into the quiver on Darkwing's back. "Good job. Now go away."
The Green Phantom stood, waving his arms, which still had the wall-climbers attached by the hands, resembling two sheets of sticky flypaper. "Now wait..."
"You're not the first horny wannabe to follow me around once you figure out I'm a girl," Darkwing said with obvious annoyance as she sat on the edge of the roof, "It usually gets them killed. It hasn't been my fault yet and I don't intend for that to change." She patted the space next to her before going on, "So, gadgets. How's business?"
He began to step towards her, but the sure-Sticks had stuck his webbed feet to the ground fast. He struggled to lift up his feet from the straps attaching them to the fly paper. He reached down to undo the buckles, but found them stuck tight. He then tried the obvious next step of peeling the pads up with his fingers after throwing the ones attached to his hands off into Audubon Bay. It worked for one foot, but unfortunately left a few feathers behind painfully on the bottoms of the pads meant for adhering to hard metal and stone structures. With one foot on the ground and the other off, he lost balance, falling hard backwards onto the hard steel floor. Trying one more time from his supine position, he tried the buckles one more time, working them flawlessly, causing them to stick fast to the bridge, probably never to come up again.
His fingers smarting, Louie stood and walked over to the edge of the bridge tower.
"Why do you use that crap? You're obviously not used to it," said Darkwing with a look of superior knowing, "Have you trained at all with it?"
"Not as such," said Louie, "But it's the best stuff you can get."
"Not if you don't know how to use it. Have you found your grappling hook yet?"
"N-Yes. Of course." He crossed his arms. "Well fine. If I don't use the stuff from the Gearloose Magazine's 'Moonlight Vigilante' line, what should I use?"
"You really want my opinion, Gadgets?"
"Fine. I think if you can't do anything without those toys, you shouldn't be out here at all. You should be in bed, swimming in your money or something."
"That's not fair. The first Darkwing was all about using Gadgets."
"My Dad had one gadget. A gas gun with variable ammunition. Beyond that he had martial arts training from the Goose Lee, was an accomplished, talented detective, and he would frequently practice with the gun, and knew how to take care of it to make sure it would never get in the way of his work." A light blush of anger on her face brought her cheeks a few steps closer to matching her fiery red hair. "Compared to him I'm just a bully with a bow and arrow."
After the pause, during which Louie wanted to talk back, say anything to refute her points, his pursed beak spoke all that he could say.
"Thought so," said Darkwing.
After another pause, Louie gave a sheepish smirk, "Your dad, huh?"
"Yeah. So... oh..." Her face turned towards the Green Phantom quickly.
"Let's see," He smiled out, getting back for the tongue lashing he had been handed, "A Duck, would be around 57 today, who had adopted a young, female Goose."
Darkwing stood quickly, trying to drown out the words with a sudden flurry of activity. Louie stood to follow.
"Of course! The Darkwing Duck Fan Club. Charter member: Former Scrooge McDuck pilot Launchpad McQuack, Madame President: one Gosalyn Mallard, adopted daughter of... Oh dear... Drake Mallard, A.K.A Darkwing Duck number one."
Darkwing rounded on Louie, "Stop it!"
"Just returning the favor for last time. What? You're the only one allowed to be handy with the detective skills?"
"No. I just... Don't."
"Why not?" He began to enunciate each syllable of the next word so that it came out in triple the time, "Gos-a-l..."
"Because a secret Identity is... If I get unmasked... I can't let anyone know. Forget it."
"Is this an honor thing? Can't get unmasked or the ghost of pops won't like it?"
"Oh, and I'm sure Mr. McDuck is just thrilled to see how you've been spending his money on stupid toys!"
Louie flinched. "That's not fair."
"You have a habit of saying that, Gadgets." Darkwing turned towards the glittering city skyline, twinkling with enough midnight oil to power a gas mower until the end of time. "What are you doing looking for me anyway? Come to rub it in that you've figured me out?"
"No... No. It's just..." Louie gave an annoyed grunt, raising a knuckle to rest on his forehead. "I've got a lead on something. I think it might be too big for me." He gestured angrily as he spoke this, his face showing his indignation, "And of course you're the biggest other hero I happen to know. I'm sorry for bringing up your Dad. I need your help."
There was a pause. The wind whistled past the two caped heroes, before changing direction in mid-blow, causing each cape to dance in the air parallel to the other. The violet-robed goose then turned slowly.
The Green Phantom held out a small slip of paper he had hidden in the inner folds of his costume. A list of dates, names, places, and very large numbers. Darkwing took the slip and looked it over, her green eyes mincing along the page in a typewriter rhythm.
"Someone is doing some serious laundry."
Louie smote his forehead, "Dammit! Why can't I think up lines like that?"
"It gets easier as you get older, Kid." She held up the paper. "How'd this turn up?"
"Well, er, I used some connections."
"Paid somebody you mean."
"McDuck must be so proud." Before Louie could retaliate, however, Darkwing calmly bade him, "Go on."
"Well, see, it's all there isn't it? Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been filtering down through the streets, funding drugs, pimps, supervillains, robbery, extortion, paid murder... It's like a mob without the mob, just a free-floating wad of cash that came from nowhere and ends up right back where it started in a big circle."
"And you need my help because...?"
"Because, well..." He gestured towards the slip of paper, "turn it over."
Darkwing Duck did, and in an instant, her face lit up in sudden recognition. The ends of her bill then turned up. Louie saw this and furrowed his brow.
Darkwing held up the rough pencil drawing. A Rooster approaching the dusk of his age, wrinkles beginning to line his face, his comb and waddle only slightly shriveled by the years. It would be a quite harmless picture if not for the segmented steel beak that looked as strong as any young duck's bill.
"Steelbeak? You want to team-up for Steelbeak?" She laughed, "He's a joke!"
"He was, like, one of your Dad's archenemies."
"Yeah, Ten years ago, when he was backed by F.O.W.L. He's been smalltime ever since Dad and S.H.U.S.H forced them out of the country. Nowadays he's just an aging glorified pimp with a minor superpower. He's the one behind this?"
"No, He's just as high as I could climb. He's taking payments from someone higher-up, but nobody seems to know who. We need to get the story straight from the horse's beak... er... mouth."
"Higher-up... You mean like a corporation?"
"Yeah. So? They should be held just as accountable as the rest of us."
"Well said, Mr. Moneybags."
Darkwing shook her head. "Gadgets. A little piece of advice. Superheroes don't do much white-collar crime." She approached, before placing the slip of paper back in his hand and closing his fingers over it. "I get why you're interested, considering your upbringing, but look at it from the rest of our perspectives. If you go after someone for Tax fraud or Money laundering, you can't just jump in and beat someone up. It takes finesse and detective work, and even after you get yourself an airtight case it can all be thrown out by any half-competent corporate lawyer on the grounds that a masked vigilante is an unreliable source of evidence, so of course it corners you into either unmasking in shame for one lousy executive's head, or letting it go and fighting crime at street-level where we belong. You get what I'm telling you."
Louie didn't dare look at Darkwing's face. He understood all too well that she was absolutely right. The likes of his Uncle's old rivals-in-business Flintheart Glomgold and John Rockerduck were well-equipped with their teams of very expensive lawyers, good enough to find a loophole in a straight line. But still...
"I'm still going."
"Because it's a crime isn't it? And it's funding all this other crime. Even if we can't cut the money off at the source, we can at least plug up the hole for a bit."
"What's with all the 'we' talk?" Darkwing said, holding up her hands, "You don't actually expect me to team-up with a no-talent E-lister like you, do you?"
"You are interested in getting this money off the street aren't you?"
"Well..." She sighed, "Fine. We'll go have a chat with Steelbeak, but follow my lead. Just because he's smalltime doesn't mean he's still not dangerous."
And with that she reached into the pocket of her jacket and stepped, freefalling off the top of the windy bridge tower. Louie yelled in surprise and ran over the end, looking over the edge but finding nothing.
Suddenly, Louie's ears were filled with the sound of jet engines. "What are you looking?" cried a voice behind him.
He looked, seeing Darkwing Duck standing on top of a large jet shaped like a duck's face.
"Remember how I said Dad only had the one gadget?"
"I guess I lied a little. Hop on."
Long, orange legs, coated in the filthy ripped criss-cross of the fishnet stockings, walked up and down the street outside of the fenced-in bungalow. The click of the heels encasing the webbed feet of the ducks echoed large over the compound and down the street. Just over the break in the stockings was the deceptively soft-looking white rump, grown hard from years of disuse, and bleached back to a natural-seeming white from it's normal dingy, unwashed color. What little clothes they wore were the kind that suggested nudity even where actual nudity seemed tame. In each dainty hand, one pair wrinkled, the other pair bruised and bloodied from ill-use, was held an automatic machinegun. The women's faces, each ducks, were heavily made in deep purples and greens, with bright red painted on Orange beaks. Each of the three eyes between then was dead to the world.
"Killer hookers?" said Louie from the alley across the street, in a desperate hush, "You didn't say anything about killer hookers."
"You gotta have a gimmick in this biz. When the secret agent game dropped out from under him, 'killer hookers' must have been the next one down on the list." Darkwing scratched the bottom of her short bill. "He's probably got at least one of each."
"One... of each?"
"Oh you know. Any team of fighting prostitutes will inevitably have one who uses each fetish or kink as her primary means of offense. The bondage girl, the pole-dancer, the Whip-lady, probably a naughty nurse to patch everyone else up. Good bet that he's got a ninja as well."
"What fetish is that?"
"The fetish every crime boss has for having a ninja under his command." In a small rustle, Darkwing was scaling the wall up to the roof opposite from the bungalow.
"Wait up!" called the Green Phantom as he fumbled in his costume for an effective device for climbing up a flat wall. He let out a quiet 'ah' as he pulled out a set of strap-on claws before applying them to the palms of his hands. As he approached the wall and prepared to begin is ascend, an arrow rained down from above, grabbing onto his cape, before reeling itself up onto the roof, causing Louie to yelp in surprise as he was suddenly lifted up into the air by his neck.
As Darkwing came into his vision, scowling at him, he tried a sheepish smile, thwarted by being roughly jerked onto the rooftop by the winch Darkwing had set up to pull him up.
"Too slow," said Darkwing, simply, "Come on."
She quickly knocked an arrow on a rope, firing it up over the street, to lay down on the roof of the distant house. Testing the strength of the grapple, she gave an experimental tug before nodding and tying the loose end of the rope to a jutting ventilator. Grabbing an extra arrow from her quiver, one with a thick metallic shaft, she grabbed it from both ends, slinging it around the rope before jumping off. She slid down the roof, her body ready to land like a cat.
Wishing to do her example proud, Louie pulled out a fairly simple gadget, a sort of telescoping toilet plunger, a $1000 piece of equipment with the specific purpose of copying fingerprints without powder and mess. Since it never worked for fingerprints, he figured the shaft end of it would be useful for helping him slide to the next roof.
Wump. Darkwing landed with the slightest sound on the roof, before making room for her compantion.
Pow! The Green Phantom smacked into the slanted rooftop of the bungalow. Darkwing massaged her temples.
"If you're going to tag along, at least be quiet about it." Then she had disappeared over the crest of the roof, followed closely by a slightly limping Green Phantom. The two figures, soon side-by-side, soon jumped off of the roof, down onto the soft, darkened grass of the back-yard. Almost instantly, the two beaks were pointed towards the nearest window and into the world of sin inside.
"I didn't even think that was possible," said Louie, clearly impressed.
"Come on," admonished Darkwing, grabbing the Green Phantom by the bill roughly, "Gawk as whores on your own time."
"Ffnn! Ffn!" answered Louie.
With each new window was a new spectacle or display of wanton sin. Louie had trouble keeping his focus, but Darkwing Duck was tough as nails, as if she had already seen everything the world had thrown at her.
"There!" whispered Darkwing suddenly.
Louie was directed to a large square window, where, in a long hallway, there was a man, with cigar seated firmly in his right hand, and a pure white suit draped elegantly over his aging body. Louie could only see his back as he conversed with another man, the ubiquitous round-nosed dogs so common nearly everywhere one could go, who was being caressed by two unclean women, one in a nurse theme, and one unmistakably a ninja.
"Fine." Louie scratched his head, "So how do we get to him?"
"I say that when the guy leaves with the floozies, we grab him. You got an auto-net or something in there?"
"N-no. Should I?"
Darkwing rolled her eyes, "Fine. Then it's the old-fashioned way. We're both younger than he is, so we should be able to overpower..."
But Louie wasn't listening. He had found three stones, of nearly equal size and shape. The two stones stroked his memory banks, calling back foreign locations, adventurous locales, and fascinating weapons.
"...And if he tries to bite anywhere... what are you doing?"
"Gadgets, the guy is starting to leave. Get your head in the game."
"It IS in the game. DW. Give. Me. Rope."
Furrowing her brow deeply, she complied, giving him a section of the strong cord she used in junction with her various trick arrows. Working in a flurry, Louie began working, tying knots like only a lifetime member of the Junior woodchucks could, attaching rope to rock, and rope to rope. Soon, he held in his hands three sections of cord knotted together, with a stone at the end of each end.
"Break the window."
The man had left with his floozies, and Steelbeak was turning around towards the window, exposing his shining metal beak to the two heroes. With no more time for plans, Darkwing knocked an arrow with a small explosive charge and shot it directly onto the cross-bar of the window. The small explosion was muffled, but powerful, and caused the window to splinter and crumble. The Rooster's face showed an expression of surprise as he saw a duck swing two rocks on strings over his head, before launching them through the air.
Soon, Steelbeak's arms and legs were bound, tangled by the momentum of the three spinning stones. He tried to call out, but one of the rocks snapped up and struck him on the back of the skull. He fell, stunned and silenced from the blow.
Darkwing actually looked impressed. "Where did you learn that?"
"South America. Middle of nowhere. I forget what treasure we were chasing after, but there was a Gaucho, and Uncle Donald once again had the lousy luck to get a donkey where the rest of us got horses. I... uh... picked it up, I guess."
Firing a grappling arrow and pulling the prone body towards the broken window, Darkwing smiled. "Well now, Gadgets. We may make a hero of you yet." Heave. "C'mon. We need to get him far away before the whores realize what's happened."
Louie nodded, grabbing the large rooster by the ropes binding him and pulling him out through the window.
With lights dancing behind his closed eyelids, Steelbeak moaned. He winced at the pain in his head before he felt it around the base of his neck. His eyes opened to near darkness, which his eyes adjusted themselves to. He was upside down and tied up, hanging by a water tower on some city rooftop. He could see the Audubon Bay Bridge off in the distance. He clicked his metal beak in annoyance.
"Cute," said the bound chanticleer, "I don't think I need to mention that whoever you are, you are messing with the wrong fowl."
A small voice whispered in his ear, "I am the terror that flaps in the night."
His eyed bugged out suddenly, "Darkwing Duck?"
"You heard the stanza Steelbeak..." She and the Green Phantom chose that moment to step into Steelbeak's line of sight. "...And now we want answers."
Taking in the pair upside down crime fighters, the aged cock gave a sneer, "Ah. Gowan then. Ask away. It's not like I'll actually say anything before my gals come and get me."
"They won't find us here," said Louie in his most menacing voice, before holding up a slip of paper, "You ever hear about a sum of money in the ballpark of, oh, say, six hundred grand?"
"Who are you supposed to be? The new Quiverwing Quack?"
"N-Shut up." His eyes lowered, signifying the inner search for something good to say, "I'm the one asking questions here."
"Nice line, Gadgets," said Darkwing, "Step aside."
With her deft, strong hand she grabbed onto Steelbeak's shriveled wattle and pulled.
"Now do you remember that money?"
"Come on babe... if that really IS you under that mask... I see more money than that in a week. You want I should remember one specific payoff?"
"I know your game, Steelbeak. Before my friend here dug up that payout, you've been strictly small-crimes only, just Junkies and sex addicts dressed up as second-story men getting killed more often than pulling in profits. Your little hooker army is all well and good, but for all they work as bodyguards they don't pull in nearly as much as hookers. Your 'empire' is all flash and no substance and everyone knows it. Who would trust you with money to launder?"
"I see what you want and I ain't giving i- ahh! Ahh!"
His wattle was sore from the sharp pull it was given. The sensitive flesh screamed with mistreatment.
"Still feel that way steel?"
"Urg... So what? It's not like I got anything to lose from the likes of you. If I spill the beans I stand to getting whacked. What are you gonna do? Pull on me some more?"
"That can be arranged," said Darkwing, her hand slowly rising up towards Steelbeak's upside down crotch. Louie followed the hand, rapt at what it would do, his eyes growing larger by the second.
The threat itself, a usual one levied against him and his prostitute-peddling ilk, would have fallen on deaf ears had not Louie's earnest expression caught him off guard. Louie seemed to really believe that this Darkwing pretender would do it. A sudden thrill in his stomach caused his body to begin struggling against his bonds.
"Get away from me!"
"We'll let you go if you give us who we want." Her hand hovered closer to the Rooster's loins. "Hey gadgets. Want to see if what they say about roosters is true?"
"Wh-" he gulped, "What do they say about roosters?"
"That all that puffing and blustering is compensation..." And with that, her fingers closed around the button fly of Steelbeak's white slacks.
"Stop! Stop! I'll talk!"
The hand kept unbuttoning, "You better hurry, I'm close. Gadgets? You got anything sharp?"
The sight of the Green Phantom absently searching his costume for something with an edge was what finally caused the sweat-covered rooster to break.
"It's... It's..." With red face dripping in sweat, Steelbeak gave a fast swallow, "It's... McDuck!"
The sound of a metallic implement; a pair of telescoping pliers falling on the ground drew both other pairs of eyes. Darkwing took focus back quickly, grasping Steelbeak's cheeks and forcing his beak to face hers.
"McDuck's been dead for three years. Wanna try again?"
"No! Not the old man himself. The company! McDuck Enterprises. They've been handing us dirty money for the past year!"
With rage in his eyes, the Green Phantom grasped the lapels of Steelbeak's jacket.
"Liar! I'll kill you for that." It was then clear that while his left hand was taken up in bunching up a fistful of white cloth, his right hand was occupied by the earlier discarded set of pliers, which he was snapping open and closed menacingly. "Who was it really?"
"I ain't lying! It was McDuck's company." With both eyes focused fast on the clinking teeth of the pliers, Steelbeak nearly yelled, "It could even go to the very top. That new guy, the trust fund baby. What's his face?" He thought for maybe half a second, "D-Dewey. Dewey Duck, the old man's nephew. He's the one you want."
"Wrong answer," said the Green Phantom as the pliers began snaking their way up towards the Cock's cock.
For a tense moment, it seemed as if Louie might actually do it, and he very well might have if not for the sudden appearance of a ninja star with a breast-tassel attached, cutting Steelbeak down from his hanging. The now-freed rooster instantly began backpedaling away.
As he stood frantically, he yelled, "You're crazy, fella. Biko! Get them!" He then began to run.
"Gadgets!" But she was cut off by the appearance of a scantily-clad loon, who had still appeared to be invisible until she was close enough to touch. Darkwing had ducked down under the sword-swing just fast enough that she was spared a few missing parts.
Temporarily knocked out of his volatile rage, the Green Phantom jumped away from the Ninja-whore, brandishing the pliers like a club. The loon, covered with black, thin, gauzy panels all over her body that did nothing to hide her nakedness underneath, judged the scared-looking Louie to be the easier target, and thus went after him first, attacking with her weapon, a long Chinese straight sword. Louie, for his part, began to take random gadgets out of his various pockets and pouches. Taking each expensive doodad in hand, he chucked them artlessly towards the ninja, only to have them sliced in half by the sword, handled with the deft sensuality of an experienced pole-dancer. After a well-thrown night-vision telescope, reduced to a long metal junk tube by a gyrating blow, Louie had found that his steady backwards hop had betrayed him, causing him to tip over the edge of the high city roof and fall to the hard pavement below. The ninja then began to peek over the edge to make sure.
Thunk! A thin strip of gauze around her legs was pinned to the ground by a simple arrow. Her mobility impeded momentarily by the arrow's shaft, she spun around just in time to deflect another flying arrow with her sword. She looked to see Darkwing already knocking another arrow, this one with some devious device attached to the tip.
The two women stared each other down for a moment, before they each let their weapons fly. The ninja hooker quickly threw her sword, straight and true, towards the hero, who took aim in the half-second of time allotted to her efforts. She let the arrow fly, striking the sword in mid-flight, causing a small explosion to shatter the tip of the blade and send the whole thing off of it's course.
In the confusion, the Ninja had knelt to quickly unhook herself from the arrow pinning her to the ground, but found, instead, the clinging hand of the Green Phantom, his eyes wide in the urge for survival and blood. He had clutched the girl's hand fast in a bone-crushing grip, which she retaliated to with the long, black nails, leaving long, red gashes in his hand. Working through the pain and still dangling from the roof with his other hand, Louie pulled on the girl. Losing her balance, the girl was sent screaming off of the high roof, silenced only by her unceremonious landing on the ground.
"Come on," said Darkwing as she grabbed ahold of her fellow hero's free hand, "Get up here."
In a moment of difficult pulling and grunting, the Green Phantom was hoisted back up onto the roof. He laid himself out on the flat surface, fully intending to not stand for the next day and a half... and yet.
"Where are you going?" asked the sitting Darkwing as Louie stood up and walked towards the fire escape on the other side of the roof, "Steelbeak is long gone by now."
"I'm not going after Steelbeak," he said simply, "I've got my next target."
Darkwing Duck stood, running up and laying a hand on Louie's shoulder, "You don't really believe all that about your... About McDuck's company do you?"
"No, I don't. But I need to hear it from Dewey's lips. Even if it wasn't him... and it wasn't him, I promise... it means someone is using McDuck Enterprises to fund crime." He looked over his shoulder at the violet-clad flapping terror. "Thanks for your help. I think I've got it from here."
"Now wait, Gadgets. If you haven't noticed, you're completely unarmed. If this does pan out to something bigger you're going to need help."
"You don't have to come with me. It's just my brother."
"You'll learn, kid. If being a superhero teaches you anything, it's that anyone can be a supervillain under the wrong circumstances." She then took her hand from his shoulder and knocked an arrow, firing out a grapple. "You got a car?"
"Buy one. Cheap and inconspicuous. Used. Pay in cash and meet me out of costume in front of the Audubon Bay Bridge tomorrow at noon. Bring along any extra doodads you've got. We'll drive into Duckburg." She stood up on the raised lip of the rooftop. "Understand?"
After a pause, Louie turned and nodded, "Thanks."
"I just don't want you dying on my watch. See you then." And with that she swung away from the building and into the night.
The rooster ran through the streets towards a long stretch limo. He all but dove onto the back seat, yelling for the driver to peel out as he closed the door behind him. Alone now, with secondary and primary sexual characteristics safe from maltreatment, he breathed out a sigh of relief.
Suddenly, there was a voice.
"Don't breathe yet, Steelbeak," said a voice from the other end of the limo, plunged in obscuring darkness. "What did you tell those kids?"
"A- are you from the company?"
"No." There was the sound of a gun cocking, "Worse."
The car was small, just a two-seater convertible in dingy red. In the lot, he had had his eye on another, more modern car in a brown when this car seemed to just jump out at him. The license plates had long since been pried off, so he couldn't say for sure, but he could have sworn he had seen it before.
Under whatever spell of fancy or nostalgia, it had worn off once he had started driving off the lot. It ran like an amputee, and made a noise like an electric can-opener. Regardless, it was what he had paid for and therefore what he had to work with. He had parked it on the curb by the bridge entrance like Darkwing had specified. He stood by the driver's seat, leaning his tail on the door.
Soon enough, after an hour of waiting, a voice piped up from behind him, already seated in the car, "Shall we go?"
Louie jumped, almost running out into traffic, and turned to find a young, a very young goose sitting in the passenger side seat, wearing a very casual, almost tomboyish getup of ripped jeans and some kind of oversized hockey jersey. Her hair was long and burning red, lazily tied back in a messy ponytail. Her eyes were disarmingly green and Louie found himself recognizing her for that feature alone.
"Pleased to meet you. I don't suppose you might be heading towards Duckburg?"
"You're Louie Duck, ain't you?" The girl, Gosalyn, smiled broadly. "You're a millionaire, ain't you?"
"Er. Yes." He took that moment to sit himself back in the driver's seat. "I suppose we've never met before, have we?"
"Gotcha." He turned the key in the ignition. The car started up with a tortured oscillating creak. "How old are you anyway? Before... in my first impression you seemed at least old enough, but... But you can't be older than your teens."
"Are you worried about me, Louie? Me? The daughter of you-know-who? Believe me, even If I'm young I can take care of myself."
"I... I guess."
He shifted the stick shift and pulled onto the road, beginning their journey into Duckburg.
"So... Why aren't we..." He noticed her. "What are you doing?"
She simply placed her index finger to her bill and continued what she was doing, searching underneath the seat, the glove compartment, the back seat, under the dash; every conceivable hiding place. She then came up with a small device hidden underneath the driver's seat. It was small and black, and was obviously some kind of microphone. She easily chucked it behind her and into traffic, where it collided with another car's windshield and busted into a million pieces.
"We were bugged?" said Louie once the danger had passed.
"You're surprised? We went after a former secret agent and got away with it. I wouldn't be shocked if every car in that lot had a bug hidden somewhere."
This seemed to satisfy Louie as he drove along the bridge, the brief stretch of city that had bled across the bridge to continue the urban sprawl of the city becoming visible in the distance.
"So, why aren't we taking the jet?" said Louie, "seems faster."
"I'm a lousy pilot. Launchpad taught me how to fly it well enough, but I usually just use the remote-control mode as a distraction."
"So," Louie mentally ticked off all of the various things he remembered from the Darkwing Duck stories, "A gas gun, a jet, a motorcycle... I wondered, how did a suburban single father manage to get that kind of cash and training together?"
"Beats me, Gadgets. I came into the picture long after he had been in the game for a while." She crossed her arms over her chest, which Louie couldn't help but notice was of modest but respectable proportion. Only the remembrance of the road ahead caused him to force his eyes back up and forward. "I don't even know if Drake Mallard was his real name, frankly. He barely ever used it, even at home. Who knows who he really was? It really didn't hit me until I was older that Drake Mallard was more of a mask than Darkwing Duck ever was."
"Of course, you didn't care. You wanted to be just like him, right?"
"Same with you and 'Unca' Scrooge' right?"
Louie smiled faintly. "You got it. Of course, he was ruthless, a cheapskate, obsessed with the bottom line, never stopped working even at home, and was completely antisocial, but... well, He was larger than life. He had principles. Y'know?"
"More than you know," Gosalyn shook her head, "Our lives were ruined by 'larger than life' people."
The both of them laughed at the private joke between them, looking over at the other. As their eyes met, the laugh shrank to a giggle, then finally to nothing at all. They gazed for a while, until Gosalyn uttered a single word.
Louie's eyes snapped forward quickly. Goaslyn's broke off and focused her gaze towards the passing suburbia dissolving into rural land, convincing herself that apartment buildings and trees were more interesting than the driver.
"So what if..." Gosalyn began, trying to change the subject to business, "If Dewey is guilty..."
His eyes flickered towards her before gluing themselves back to the road, they seemed distressed. "But nothing. I know for a fact Dewey wouldn't do that. He's principled. He was the one of the three of us who wanted to be like Uncle Scrooge the most. If he was misusing money like that... well it just doesn't fit."
"Some," he said, bitterly, "Not him. He's too hard-headed."
She looked towards him briefly, before focusing back on the road to her right, "Bad blood?"
"The reason I left Duckburg in the first place. Huey had already left, and the two of us had a... disagreement over how we should run McDuck Enterprises."
"Why am I explaining this to you? I don't want to talk about it."
"Wh-" She grunted. "Fine then."
Silence expanded the air around the car like a balloon fit to burst, and held all the way into Duckburg, with only a single stop for gas and snacks at a small rest stop outside of the city to break it up. Soon, the low houses and factories of the town in the pocket of the World's Richest Duck came into their vision, the early streetlights twinkling in the red-dyed twilight.