Another relatively short one today. And no picture!
We're moving away from the boys today, to reveal what happened in Duckburg while they were fucking around in South America. We will come back to our regularly scheduled intrigues next time. In the meantime, enjoy.
In the sunny streets of Duckburg, there was a small, humble hospital. The St. Melody Cancer Hospital for Sad Orphans. It was a catholic-run mission, but operated non-denominationally. The name refers to the exclusive clientele of the up-to-date treatment centers and counseling services. Only orphans with cancer were allowed in, and were treated for free by the kindly sisters of the order of Saint Melody.
In the hospital's 'Learning Wing,' all of the children gather every weekday, promptly, at seven o'clock, to be taught their daily lessons. They sat there, in their little desks or rolling beds, like a carton of eggs with their bald tops and shining faces. In front, the headmistress of lessons, a kindly-faced old dog named Sister Mary Mixolydian, was writing a series of words on the board for that day's vocabulary, when she noticed one of the smaller boys had his hand raised.
"Yes, Paul?" She said, her crinkly little voice letting Paul know that whatever he said was the right thing to say.
"Sister, why haven't we evacuated?" Asked the small boy, "I heard on the radio that Duckburg has been attacked by crooks."
The sister merely smiled and walked up to her young charge, "We can't let an attack by some criminals phase us, children. The aim of this hospital is to give you all the treatment you so desperately need." She walked down the aisle of the class, and the boys and girls couldn't help but want to touch her robes as she went by. "Some of us can't move properly, or are in the middle of treatment, so it would be dangerous for us to get around in the chaos outside. The best we can do is to simply stay here."
She turned as she heard a small, demure knock on the front door. She walked over and opened it, revealing a small girl, bald as an eagle, holding a large cardboard box.
Mixolydian's eyes took on a gently disciplinary quality, "Susan. Class started twenty minutes ago."
"I'm sorry Sister Mary Mixolydian," said the little girl as she stepped into the classroom and set down the box, "I have a good excuse, I promise!"
"Let's hear it then."
"It was my kitty. She was sick last night, but now she's all better." Using her small hands to open up the corners, she let the brown cardboard fold up and over, revealing the contents, "And she had kittens of her own!"
Sure enough, the little white cat was surrounded on all sides by eight little newborn kittens, suckling and mewling at their mother. The orphans callout out in delight and crowded around the box, but nobody was more pleased than Sister Mary Mixolydian.
"Oh! How wonderful! The miracle of life! I... I feel... I feel inspired children, please take your seats." As the boys and girls sat back down, and Susan placed the box carefully on the teacher's desk, the nun rummaged through a small closet. "Such a sweet thing has given me just the inspiration I needed to finish my new song. Would you like to hear it?"
"Yes sister!" said the class in chorus.
"Then Vocabulary can come later. It is music time now!"
With a beaming smile underneath her black habit, Mixolydian pulled a guitar out of a black leather case and sat on her desk next to the box of kittens. She began to pluck out a simple, sweet tune, and sand a lilting little melody that made everyone around who heard it feel better about themselves, the world, and god.
Little billy noticed something by his window, and smiled. He undid the latch and let the window open, letting the cool breezes flow through the class, filled up with music and love. A herd of butterflies and bluebirds which had been perched on the bushes outside began to fly around the classroom, a few coming to rest on the nun's gentle sloping shoulders and head, and the rest circulating around the smiling, gasping classroom. Having gotten the infectious tune in their head, the classroom began to sing along, their sweet voices, honed by years of mandatory choir practice, fell into an easy, instinctive harmony that caused the simple tune to take on all the bad feelings of the world, and turn them upside down.
Then, with a bang, the door to the hall crashed in loudly. The butterflies and birds scattered and escaped through the opened window as into the room poured three men in orange sweaters. One of them pointed a pistol at Sister Mary Mixolydian and fired, striking her in the leg and causing her to drop her guitar, screaming in pain. All of the cancer-ridden orphans, unused to seeing such a violent display of blood splashing from a wound, screamed in terror. One of the children managed to swallow a passing butterfly, and began to choke, causing the nearby children to try performing CPR on him, adding to the hysterical nature of the class.
Braincase Beagle blew the smoke from the barrel of the gun, "I love my job."
The noble blue of the officer's uniform clashed violently against the dark blacks of his elite SWAT team, coated in riot gear, with batons and long clear shields. Underneath his hat was the thinning mop of salt and pepper hair, steadily turning prematurely grey from the stress of the streets. The dog was a bit paunch, but had the look of someone who at one time was absolutely in control of every movement their body made, and at the moment could still run rings around people half his size.
His team stood at attention in a line on the road outside of Duckburg. It was dark outside, but the light from the full moon and the riots in the city was more than enough to illuminate the captain as he spoke.
"Men. We are the finest officers Saint Canard's force has. Our sister city is in trouble and needs all the help It can get. This is primarily a rescue mission in junction with the local authorities. You each have been briefed on the situation. Move out!"
With a salute, each man piled onto the huge, black vans. The three carts drove into the city quickly, and disappeared over the horizon and into the city. Alone now, the Captain took off his hat and began to fan himself with it as a bulwark against the muggy night.
"Good evening Captain O'hara."
The officer jumped about two feet in the air before turning around and trying to find the source of the noise. He saw the masked man sitting on the edge of the roof of his squad car.
"Darkwing Duck, you must quit sneaking up behind me like that. Where have you been?"
"Sorry Cap," she said, "I had to be elsewhere. Status on the attack?"
Mopping his brow with a sleeve, Captain O'hara nodded his head, "Right. The Saint Canard Strike team has just rode into town. The National guard and various agents of that secret agent thing, 'Swoosh' or something, they're in there. The BBs have been driven and isolated to one area of the city."
"The part of the city with Saint Melody's Hospital for adorable collateral damage, you mean?"
"Er, yes. That's why I called you here. We need a superhero's touch for this one."
"Funny, usually the boys in blue don't want us anywhere near their cases. Especially volatile hostage situations."
"Normally, yes. But we're desperate." his nerves twanging, Captain O'hara began to pace back and forth in front of the police blockade. "All of my men and the national guard are occupied in cleaning up other parts of the city, and 'swatch' is taking a backseat role, trying to find more evidence against Dewey Duck."
She eyeballed the police captain from her perch, "Is there anything to that, Cap?"
"The suits I talked to said it was a lock. Dewey Duck was behind it. Rich little Dewey. I remember when I was a young man following the 'McDuck stories' in the papers. I can't believe that little kid grew up to be a crime lord." He sighed harshly and placed the hat back on his head. "My kids were terrified when I told them about him. Said they always knew he looked like a bad guy. Reminds me of when my dad used to tell me about that famous 'Phantom Blot' case when we used to live in Mouston..."
"I'd love to hear about Mouston, I really would, but If I'm going to save a hospital full of Nuns and Orphans, I'd better get started..."
"Just one more thing before you go."
"Oh." Darkwing leaned back on the siren lights. "I never like the sound of 'one more thing.' What is it?"
"I don't want you working alone, so I've gotten some of the local color to assist you. He should be arriving any minute now."
"Cap, you know I work solo."
"Not this time you don't."
Suddenly, there was a revving sound, like a racecar at the starting line, getting ready to drag out. Captain O'hara's face lit up.
"Here he is now."
"BLATHERING BLATHERSKITE!" called a heroic voice resonating through the night air. Darkwing found her head in her hands.
"Not him. Anyone but..."
"Never fear citizens!" Said the voice, dripping with self-important heroism, "Gizmoduck is here!"
He was a duck, true to his name, and shone silvery white from the top of his visored helmet to the bottom of his torso, which ended in a strange unicycle. As he approached as speeds upwards of Mach 3, he screeched to a halt, stopping on a dime and kicking up a cloud of dust which completely failed to stick to and tarnish his shiny look.
"Captain O'hara I presume. And... ah!" His voice took on a barely disguised quality of annoyance, "Darkwing Duck."
Darkwing sighed, then jumped down off of the car, "Don't get your wheelie in a twist, Goody one-wheels. We've got some hostages to save."
"Indeed! Climb on my back. I can carry you."
"I would rather take myself if you don't - URK!"
"I insist!" said the metallic wonder as he picked up Darkwing Bodily and slung her over his shoulder in a fireman's lift, "Farewell Captain. We will be back in a jiffy."
"Thanks Cap. You're a real peach."
And with that, the two heroes were wheeling off into the city, disappearing as they screeched around a bend. O'Hara sighed, crossing his arms as he watched them go, before turning and climbing into his car, silently both thanking and lamenting those crazy superheroes his town seems to churn out.
All of the children had been stuffed to the gills inside of the small rehab clinic. Beds had been wheeled in containing the sicklier patients, and little Susan was still wtching over her box, containing her cat and her kittens. The nuns were all bunch over on one side of the room, nursing an ailing Sister Mary Mixolydian .
Boner and Ballast had taken up guard duty over the two groups, Ballast pointing his large chaingun at the bald children, and Boner holding a shotgun, while leering at the defenseless nuns.
"Can't I take one of them out back, Braincase? Can't I?" he said, "I won't hurt her much. She'll still be good as a hostage." Sweat percolated on his brow as he spoke. "Remember the nuns as Saint Brute's Braincase? I never forgot them. C'mon. Just this once, for Sister Crankshaft."
"No, Dummy!" yelled the diminutive Braincase Beagle, who was pacing around the room with a handheld radio, waiting for a call from the negotiators to trumpet his demands, "I need you to stand guard. If you're dick-deep in some nun when the cops come we need you there."
"That is final."
Suddenly, the conversation was cut off by a droning buzz over the radio. "Hello, Hello. Come in Beagle Boys."
"Shut up birdbrains," He yelled to his two companions, "It's the fuzz come to pay the piper. Hello?"
"We've come to discuss the terms of the release of the hostages."
With a wide smile across his face, Braincase began to speak smoothly into the radio, "We want two million... no. Three million dollars. Each. In cash. And no funny business with marked bills. We want a helicopter for our getaway, and the release of all of the Beagles you fellas have imprisoned today. Got me?"
There was a gulp on the other end of the line, "Not, Braincase, was it? That's quite a bit..."
"Save it, spanky. Those are the terms. If not, we got bombs hidden all over the place, and we'll take the entire building with us if we notice any funny business. Good. Bye."
"H-hey. Wai-" But it was too late. Braincase had taken the batteries out of the radio and placed them down on a nearby table.
"Alright, Boys. Now we wait for baydirt to flow right into our hands."
Over the laughs and cries of happiness resounding from the Beagle's below, the shadowy form of Darkwing Duck nodded. Bombs, huh? We've got to...
"...Find and disarm them." Darkwing, sitting, crouched on the edge of the roof like a purple gargoyle, spoke to Gizmoduck, who, it seems, never heard of the concept of stealth. "They'll lose an important bargaining chip, and..."
"What of the hostages?"
"Bombs are more important than hostages."
"I respectfully disagree."
"Too bad," said Darkwing, cutting him off before he could give out his reasons, "If we don't take out the bombs, we'll have to worry about them killing us and the hostages. If we do, We'll only have to take out the hostages."
"But every moment we wait on the hostages is another moment something truly terrible could happen."
Her lithe fingers came up to touch her forehead as she spoke. "Are we really going to argue about this?"
"Listen, Gizmo, Here's a compromise. You keep the Beagles busy. Make sure they don't blow the place up. I'll try to find all the bombs. Is that a good enough plan for you."
The silver-plated arms crossed slowly. "I suppose it's workable."
"Alright." She then held out her hand, "You got any gizmo to figure out where the bombs actually are?"
"Of course. One moment!"
Gizmoduck pressed a button on his chest, and a large satellite popped out of his head. For a moment it seemed like he would lose has balance due to the new top weight, but he managed to stay up on his wheel. The dish spun around for a moment, and a loud printing noise emanated from his chest. Soon, a long sheaf of paper was spit out onto the ground, which Darkwing Duck picked up and looked over.
"Good. Thanks. I'll see you after -I've- saved the day."
She then jumped off the side of the building. Gizmoduck, not to be outdone, rolled over to the edge and called out, "Not if I save it first!"
The muffled rustle of the cape was the only sound as the terror that flaps in the night worked her way through the air ducts, and towards the first bomb. After hitting an intersection, she stopped and looked around. In the cloying dark, she saw a small red light blinking off and on.
She approached, and saw, behind a slow-moving fan circulating air through the ducts, a bundle of dynamite attached to an old fashioned alarm clock by three wires.
Dad, Began Darkwing Duck, starting to work on the bomb, Are you there? It's me. Gosalyn. I'm sorry I don't talk to you so often anymore, but I've been so busy with work. I suppose you'll want to hear about every little thing that's happened.
There's this boy I like. Don't look at me like that, Dad, it's not like that. I'm sure you would like him. He's a bit of an idiot, but, well, he has his moments. He is older than I am by... Well. A lot. Oh Dad, please don’t judge until after you've met him. He's a nice boy, I promise.
He's another cape, by the way. I don't know if I mentioned that. He calls himself the Green Phantom. Good name, but he's at a point where he doesn't know what he should focus on. He's got all these silly little toys. Did I mention he's loaded? Oh. That makes me sound so shallow. Forget I said that.
Anyway, I'm doing well. I'm sweating it up in the air ducts of a hospital trying to remember if it’s the red wire or the blue wire, but I'm doing just fine. It's nobody you ever tangled with, if you're curious. It's in Duckburg. They don't get as much cape activity as we do in Saint Canard. Just crooks, the Beagle Boys, they call them. Big old gang of lifers. You would like them. You don't feel guilty when you punch them.
Since I called I've gone up against a couple of your old buddies. Green Phantom got blindsided by Bushroot. He's doing fine. Bushy doesn't seem to age, but that stupid flytrap seems to get bigger and bigger every time I see it. Then GP got us a lead against, get this, that old whore-monger Steelbeak. Turns out it led him all the way to Brazil, and beyond. Oh, look at me. I feel like I'm blushing. Why am I talking about Louie? (That's his real name, Louie. Louie Duck.) I've got a bomb to diffuse.
Changing the subject. I'm teaming up with Gizmoduck right now. He seemed to get even worse than when you teamed up with him, if that's possible. It's almost like they're not the same person. I'm starting to wonder if he's a legacy hero like me.
Dad? Dad. I'm sure you're watching out for me. Dad. Please. I want to see Louie again. I don't know why. He's such a... such an incompetent nutcase... but... but I need to disarm this bomb. I'm sweating Dad. Help me. Help me...
Darkwing flinched, but nothing happened. No flash, no boom. She sighed, letting out the big breath she had been holding in as she had let her eyes wander.
One down, four to go, Gosalyn said to her imaginary father, See you again in about five minutes.
"Come on, Braincase," said Boner, stroking the barrel of his shotgun lasciviously, "Just one nun. One nun won't hurt the plan none, will it?"
"For the last time you cock-brained moron. No."
"C'moon. Please? I'll give you my share of the profits. This is one of my all-time fantasies." He tried to think of any other ways to sweeten the deal. "I'll even take the one with the leg wound. Nobody will miss her."
Braincase turned quickly and looked up into his brother's eyes. There was such hope there behind the cheap domino mask, that the Napoleonic beagle couldn't help but groan at the very sight of it.
"Ooooh all right. Take her. You've got twenty minutes, you hear me?"
"Yippee!" Boner cried, "C'mere sister."
Sister Mary Mixolydian was too weak from blood loss to properly fight off the beagle when he picked her up by the waist and slung her over his shoulder like a bag of potatoes. The other sisters, however, stood and began to approach.
"Not ONE step, ladies," yelled Braincase, "Or Ballast turns your kiddies into swiss cheese."
Instantly, the nuns backed down, with twin looks of fear and concern towards their young charges and to their Sister in distress. They had no choice but to watch in horror as Boner Beagle walked out into the hall, not even waiting until he was out of the room to begin undoing his pants.
Braincase quickly stepped up his game, now having one less guy to control the hostages with, "Now sit down, chickies, or I'll let him have another one of you. Get me?"
The sisters sat quickly, not wanting to risk the amorous advances of the predator outside. However, all of the heads in the room turned towards the exit door as a scream pierced the night. A man's scream. A very high-pitched man's scream.
Ballast giggled, and Braincase out-and-out laughed. "Well she must have gotten a tooth in or something."
"Think again villains!"
Crash! A Boner Beagle-shaped hole appeared in the wall next to the door frame, from the force of Boner crashing through it at high speeds. From the other side of the frame, a Gizmoduck-shaped hole appeared.
"It’s that tin-can! Get him, Ballast!"
The fat Beagle raised the large gun to shoot down the new comer, but Gizmoduck was faster on the draw. A giant magnet appeared out of his arm and pulled the large metal gun towards him. Quickly, millions of tiny metallic hands reached out from everywhere on the power-armored duck's body. Each tendril snaked out and grasped a bit of the gun, mercilessly ripping it apart and hiding the pieces away inside the armor, to be used and processed by the suit's near limitless potential. Soon, all that was left was the wood in the handle and the gunpowder from the bullets, both of which fell to the ground.
"MY GUN!" said Ballast, in a deep booming voice. His eyes then began to tear up, as if his mother had just been killed.
Braincase stared at his two brothers, one writhing on the ground in pain, and the other crying like a baby over a gun. He fumbled in his pockets quickly.
"Don't come any closer, Tin-face, or I'll start the timers on the bombs, blow this place sky high!"
"Nice plan, Birdbrain," said another voice up above, "One little problem with it though."
At that moment, an alarm clock, useless and ticking fell to the ground from a ventilator up above Braincase. It struck the ground with a harsh shattering sound, and clockwork flew out from behind the glass face. Braincase stared at the clock, and his vision slowly scanned upwards towards the vent, where the face of Darkwing Duck beamed down.
"Darkwing. You've finished so quickly!" called Gizmoduck, "I haven't even finished off this brigand yet."
"I had... inspiration." She quickly changed the subject by jumping out of the vent, executing a quick somersault in the air, before landing in a crouch in front of the group of nuns. "Give it up Braincase. It's over. I've disarmed all of the bombs."
"N-not all of them!" He then reached into his pocket quickly, withdrawing a small, plastic button, pressing it before either hero could react. "Ha!"
"I got all five bombs, genius. Give it up. You've lost."
"HA! That's what you think! There were six- Ack!"
A giant hammer extended from Gizoduck's chest, knocking Braincase on the braincase, causing him to crumple to the ground. The children cheered as Braincase went down, and the Nuns couldn't help but give a smile.
"Gizmo!" screamed Darkwing, "There's another bomb! Why did you knock him out? He could have told us where it was!"
"I didn't like his attitude. Besides, I can tell you where it is."
"You couldn't find it before. You said there were only five bombs. We have... five minutes to find and disarm one last bomb. It could be anywhere."
Gizmoduck thought for a moment, before he snapped his metallic fingers, "Ah-ha!" Another dish, subtly different from the last one, began to spin atop his head. Slowly, but steadily, he began to roll towards the children, towards little Susan, before coming to a stop in front of the cardboard box. He began beeping violently, his satellite dish pointing downward, squarely at the brown box.
"What did you search for?"
"Holes in my instruments. When anything interferes with my sensors, it will leave a conspicuous hole in my perception. I can track those. This box has had strips of lead placed all around it."
"Convenient," said Darkwing Duck, as she swooped towards the box.
"Please," said a sweet little voice of the bald little girl looking over the box, "Be careful of Kitty."
"What?" She said, as she opened the box, before she suddenly understood what that meant.
There, within the box, was the bundle of dynamite. Tiny little balls of fluff lounged around , played, and slept around, beside, and on top of it, revealing no clear way to the wires inside.
"Kittens?" said Gizmoduck.
"Do you have a 'dismantle bombs quick' device in there?"
"Nothing that wouldn't hurt the kittens inside."
"NO! Don't hurt Kitty's kitties." Screamed Susan, tears streaming down her face.
Darkwing raised her arms, "Fine! Fine. I can disarm it by hand. Gizmo. Get everyone out of here."
"Right-o!" he said, before he began the process of herding the sick children out of the room, getting the Nun's help in wheeling the large hospital beds out through the wide doors.
As she listened to the commotion, she pulled out a pair of thin wirecutters and hunched over the box, reaching inside.
"MROWRR!" Yelled the voice of the kitten's mother, who scratched out at the hand.
"Gah!" Darkwing cried, but to the ears of only a few straggling Nuns. Everyone in the room had been herded out, thankfully, so her pride was intact. She looked at her hand, where a thin line of blood had appeared.
"All right, kitty. I'm here to save your life within two minutes." She began to reach her hands inside again, clearing newborn kittens off of the red sticks of dynamite, "I'm not going to hurt your babies, so stop... OWCH!" She tried not to flinch, as her hand was bitten by the angry mother. Her other hand, her left, grabbed the wirecutters before she could drop tem and began to wield them, putting them as close as she could to where the wires attached to the bomb.
Okay, Dad, She though, If this bomb is like the others... "OWCH. Good kitty!" ... then it should be... Red-blue-green-yellow.
The listing off of the sequence of colors launched her mind into a fit of terrified nostalgia. A song, a nursery tune, sung to her almost every night for the first few years of her life, and sporadically after that. The thought of the tune, the quickly fading last memories of her grandfather, and the still fresh memories of her newer one, acted to steady her hand and drown out the pain of the cat scratches and bites.
Close your eyes, little girl blue. Inside of you lies a rainbow. Yellow. Blue. Red. Blue. Purple too. Blue purple and green and yellow.
Snip. Snip. "OWCH!" Snip. Snip.
She breathed, falling backwards. The bomb was disarmed, the kittens safe, and Duckburg was finally cleansed of its little Beagle problem. She stretched her neck muscles, which were aching from stress, but found that when she moved to the left, she felt something cold and thin over it. She froze, finally sensing the body behind her just as a large, sweaty hand closed over her chest.
"I thought there was something fishy about you Darkwing. You're a chicky." Boner Beagle laughed, making the knife in his hand wiggle. "I may not have gotten to have my Nun-fantasy, but I suppose my superheroine fantasy is just as good." He licked his lips, causing Gosalyn to cringe at the wet noise near her ears.
"Oh, Boner. You've just done the stupidest thing you ever could."
Her head came backwards quickly, smashing into the amorous Beagle's nose. Blood spurted out, and the crook dropped the knife in surprise. He yelled out as he tried to hold back the flow from his nose with his hands as a quick kick to the ribs threw him to the ground.
Without a word, Gosalyn left the room, taking the disarmed bomb with her for proper disposal. Around her, a steady stream of policemen rushed in, pointing their machine guns at the three Beagles and screaming for them to stand down or be shot.
Some time later, Gizmoduck, using his retractable adhesive wheel cover, was rolling up the side of a tall building. He went at excess speeds, keeping his balance the whole way thanks to the supports built into the spinal column of the suit, until he finally came to the lip of the roof and rolled straight over, righting himself in the process.
There, crouching on the side of a water tower, was Darkwing Duck.
"I suppose we did well," she said.
Gizmo seemed peeved off by her very presence, "Captain O'Hara was disappointed to see you sneak off after the situation. He wanted to give us both medals."
"I don't like medals. They make me stand out in the crowd too much."
Gizmo grunted and crossed his arms, "That doesn't sound like the Darkwing I remember."
"The fact that you're standing there staring at me and just now might think something is a bit different makes me doubt very much that you ever met Darkwing Duck before you and I first met."
Gizmo was visibly robbed of speech after this, and sputtered with what to say next.
"Stop. I know. 'I'm the only Gizmoduck you need concern yourself with' or whatever. I'm the same way." She then stood and pulled out her bow, knocking an arrow with a rope attached. "Thanks for the help today. When we stay out of each other's way we make a good team."
"I suppose so."
Without another word, she fired off the grappling arrow, letting it sail off into the night until it latched onto something. She then began to swing away, off towards the Audubon Bay Bridge to make her way back home to Saint Canard.
Gizmoduck, on the other hand, stayed for a moment, breathing in the night air, still tinged with smoke from the recently quelled flames. He turned on a dime and began to make his way down the side of the building with his adhesive wheels, in the direction of the Duckburg trailer park.
Through the now empty streets he rolled, a beacon of hope in the town, and a hero for his part in the hostage situation today. He rolled on for a solid half-hour before he came to rest in front of an empty, abandoned trailer hitch with the name "Ma Crackshell" written above it. He stared up at the name and wondered briefly at its significance, before he pressed a button on his arm, which caused a hidden elevator under the "welcome" mat to lower him down.
Down, down, down he went, deep underneath the subterranean caverns that Gizmoduck had carved out underneath the trailer park he used as a base of operations. The plush-carpet of the elevator stopped and let the hero off at the bottom, where there was a collection of what must have been trophies from earlier adventures in Gizmo's career. A Beagle Boy's mask, dropped in the haste to get away. A residue of magic powder from a run-in with the sorceress Magica DeSpell. Freeze Rays, Heat rays, Giant versions of several different countries' coins. Gizmo passed them all by at an unaffected clip.
Soon, the armored Duck came across a set of computer consoles that illuminated the darkened cave. At the large keyboard of the wide, tall computer that dominated the display, there was a man, a duck, sitting in a wheelchair with his back to the hero.
"You're back," said the voice, grumpy and wise.
"I am. The Beagle Boys have been driven out of the city. I got some help from Darkwing Duck."
The figure seemed to perk up, "Darkwing. Interesting."
"I think that's about all I can do for tonight, Mr. Crackshell. Can I go now?"
The figure turned his wheelchair revealing a tall, thin duck with a lined face exhibiting a tough expression. He was seated very firmly in the chair, with a blanket over his useless legs.
"Not yet. There is one more thing I need."
Gizmoduck sighed lightly, but nodded, "Yes. Anything, Mr. Crackshell."
"I have gotten a call from an old friend. It seems he does not feel as safe as he once did, what with Dewey Duck still at large. He would like to interview you as a possible bodyguard."
"But sir, That would interfere with my nightly patrols. Can't he hire..."
"Quiet, boy!" The duck snapped, causing the armored duck to flinch backwards. "This man is in real danger. You must keep him safe, and do whatever he tells you. Understand?"
"Good." Fenton Crackshell then turned back towards the computer and struck a key, making the fancy operating system whiz around until it settled on a photograph of a young tiger. "His name is Farid Kagan. You will take the next flight out to Bombay tonight."
"Can't I change out of my costume first?"
"No. You will be met by a car. You can sleep when Mr. Kagan says you can sleep. Understand boy?"
"Good. Don't forget what I did for you, boy, or why I chose you to take up my work."
"I... I don't. I won't forget. I'm going now, Sir." Gizmoduck, the second to wear the name, turned and started towards the back of the cave, back through the trophy room, and up the elevator.
Fenton Crackshell twined his fingers together and leaned his elbows on the table. He stared up at the face of the tiger, which stared down at him. Both made no signs of emotion at all.