Hello gang. We now return to our regularly scheduled intrigues. Let's see what's going on around. Cape Suzette, shall we?
The room was sealed away. Sealed from the deep, permanent winter outside, as well as from its sardonic, cold people, beaten down into a uniform march of society by the ways of utility and totality. Within, the faint glow of magic warmed the freezing house. Muttered sighs of incantations and fantastic waves of fingers and hands punctured the quickly warming air, pushing against the sealed windows, trying to find a way out of the stuffy hut and out and up to the heavens.
Soon, the glow became golden, and soon after, red. Two items laid in the center of the room, illuminating it with the duel colors, obscuring their form with their sheer brightness. A dry cackle emanated from the throat of the spell-weaver as wrinkled, ancient fingers hovered over the burning glow of the twin objects.
This was two weeks before our story began, in the small, independent nation of Thembria, where plans made beneath cloak and by dagger were status quo for much of the populace.
"Welcome to Cape Suzette!" called Huey as he opened up the passenger door on the Seaduck, letting his three companions out into the sunny equatorial embrace of the island paradise.
First Huey, then Webby, then Louie, cursing his luck for once again being stuck in a warm, damp climate in a costume made for cold city nights. Each passenger looked around for a moment to take in the tall, attractive architecture, letting the grandeur of it fill their eyes before the emptiness and eroded nature of them became apparent.
"All of these buildings," said Dewey, his mind's eye mentally adding up, deducting expenses, and finding all the tax write-offs it could, "They just stand empty?"
"'fraid so," answered Huey, "World War Two knocked this place back to the stone ages, and nobody has bothered to try rebuilding."
Webby sighed. "Shame. It's so beautiful here."
"Those buildings are quite dilapidated, but with the right gumption, this island could make for a nice tourist resort." Dewey scratched his chin, the dollar signs beginning to etch their ways into his eyes. "Who owns them?"
Huey smirked and began to walk towards the shack near the docks where a large sign for "Higher for Hire" was written. "Well, considering the company that used to have most of this town in its back pocket was bought out by a certain 'McDuck Enterprises,' I'd say most likely you do, Dewey."
If they were etching before, those dollar signs were full-on blazing brands of possibilities now, "Yes. Khan Industries." He then blinked, a thought surfacing from his greedy haze, "But why didn't Uncle Scrooge do anything with it if he owned it? It's not like him not to try turning a profit with everything he had."
"Cold war happened," volunteered the Green Phantom, "The island was broken and abandoned after World War Two. If the Russians ever get around to launching part three, there may be no more island left. Not a very safe investment."
"Probably saving it for later," mused Dewey. "After the East and the West have cooled off he would have set up a little paradise here. I could do that, couldn't I?" For an ever so brief moment, Dewey was smiling, looking up at the crumbling skyline as if it was an entire world of riches and treasures waiting to be explored and uncovered. "The Cold War won't last forever, will it? Afterwards I can set up here, make a... a historical playground. This place has one hell of a history after all. Sky piracy, adventure. For the wannabe adventurers I could have daily airplane tours in vintage planes like the Sea Duck. For vacationers, there's the beachside and constant sun. It's a lock, it is. I could take this little lump of land and... and..." in the middle of his reverie, his face suddenly fell.
Webigail, who's own face had been brightening up steadily at her boss's sudden change in mood, similarly switched to a concerned expression quickly. "Dewey...?"
Louie cut in, "But nothing doing if you're on the lamb. They'll take away your business, leave you with nothing. No business, not resort, no gold mine..."
"Enough, GP," admonished Huey, lightly, although his face was clearly sympathetic, "C'mon gang. I want you all to meet someone."
"Hey. Old man! I'm home."
"Good," Said the bear is a small voice, "Come over here."
Huey seemed to pause for a moment as the other three ducks piled into the room. His brows arched, and for a moment something seemed amiss. He then shrugged.
"Anything happen while I was gone?"
"Yes. Productivity in the community is up 15%. Sit. You must fill out paperwork."
Huey laughed, "Paperwork? You never bother with that stuff."
"It must be done."
Throughout all of this, Kit Cloudkicker did not look up from his seat at the desk of Higher for Hire. The entire office was, for once, immaculately clean and clear of debris. He was steadily and quickly working through a stack of papers.
"Er... anyway, that can wait. I want you to meet my Brothers... Brother, and a few of my friends..."
"It must be done," was Kit Cloudkicker's reply as he placed a finished document on the out pile and retrieved a blank one from the in file.
Louie raised an eyebrow and whispered to Huey, "Real side splitter you got here, Huey."
"You. Quiet." He turned to the bear, "Old man. C'mon. Ain't you even gonna say hi?"
"It must be done. Personal matters may come on my own time."
"B-but... Old man..." Huey's hackles had begun to rise. This was obviously something new.
"It must be done." He finished another document, and retrieved a blank one from the in pile.
"Stop saying that! What's wrong?" Huey ran around the desk and touched Kit Cloudkicker on the arm, "Are you feeling alright?"
"Productivity in the community is up 16%. I am alright."
"Listen, Huey, I'm glad to see someone with such a wonderful work ethic, but is there a phone around here?" Dewey's eyes darted towards the disconcerting figure at the desk, then back to Huey. "I'd like to try to get ahold of someone in Duckburg, to try to see where I stand in all of this."
"Sure, Dewey, here." Huey began to raise up the phone, an old rotary phone, to bring towards Dewey, when a large, graying brown hand slammed it back down on the table.
"What the hell, Old man!"
"No personal calls."
"No personal calls. This is community time."
There was silence. Huey's brand of silence was just a little angrier than the others', and his face showed it. Dewey cleared his throat.
"I... I can find another phone." He began to back out of the room. "Don't worry about it."
Motivated partially by the need to find a working phone and the need to get out of the creepy atmosphere of the room, Dewey turned and walked briskly out of the shack.
The midday rush of people had started by the time Dewey had found, and subsequently passed by, a payphone out in the street. On his search for a phone he didn't have to drop a dime on, he had begun to look around at all the people, mostly native islanders, with a few old white men like Kit Cloudkicker still sticking around. Dewey had to say he was puzzled. It was around lunchtime, and everyone walked towards large soup tureens set up on every corner in the city. It seems that everyone in the entire city was taking their lunch at the exact same moment, regardless of what job they had to do. The men, and it was almost entirely men, lined up at the soup stands, standing rail straight and looking straight ahead at the back of the head in front of them. With each man who took a bowl and wandered off, the line shortened by one, and every man in it took a single, uniform step, shortening the line by one man. The overall effect was of a big clockwork device, with bowls of soup instead of cuckoos.
Dewey began to sweat as he wandered among the men who quite conspicuously paid him no mind. In his nice, if not clean, executive suit and tie, he stood out among these flannelled and work-shirt-clad man like a sore thumb, and his constant looking around contrasted horribly with the dead, unfocussed vision of each man drinking his soup.
Something funny is going on here, thought Dewey, I at least hope someone will let me use their phone for free.
Suddenly, there was a piercing steam whistle. Dewey covered her ears and gasped, looking around for the source. Every man's gaze, formerly unfocussed and nearly dead, suddenly snapped back on like a light bulb. As a man, they all walked with resolute purpose towards the soup tureens, depositing their empty bowls on the table, before walking in a hundred different directions towards whatever job they needed to continue. The entire dance caused Dewey to scratch his head in puzzlement, and wondered if he could grab up a couple of these devoted, yet creepy, workers on the cheap.
Then, there was a scream. Dewey looked around, and in the sea of men walking down the sidewalks, there was a single figure moving in the opposite direction, swimming against the tide of workers. He broke away from the crowd, falling to the ground in the gutter, before scrambling to his feet.
He was an Orangutan, with bright red fur all over and arms for days. He was quite young, and he looked quite fit. He had freckles thrown all over his face and bare shoulders. He pumped his legs, running towards Dewey Duck with a resolute purpose quite opposite from the calm determination of the soulless ones he ran among.
"You! You're not one of them are you?" He cried, grasping Dewey by the hands and falling to his knees, "Thank goodness. Thank goodness!"
"What's going on?"
"I... I don't know. It started... Everyone just started... They're mindless... I can't... You gotta help... I can't... It started..."
Dewey gave him a ripe crack across the cheek, snapping him out of his babbling stupor, before he spoke again, "What's going on around here."
"I don't know. We all... We just woke up one morning and everyone was like... this. Nobody speaks to each other." Tears of fear began to form in the young man's eyes. "We all thought it would pass, but... but it spreads. It's like a disease."
"What is? What is going on around here?"
"Help me! You're the first person I've seen in days. You just flew in on that plane, right? Please." He grabbed the lapels of the duck's jacket. "Please. Take me with you! I don't want to turn into Them!"
"Turn into..." Dewey looked around, touching the man's shaggy hands, "D-don't worry. I can get help."
"Oh god. O please help me... H-help... me..."
And suddenly, the man's eyes began to loll up into the back of his head. The hands gripping Dewey's jacket tightened like vices, before the ape's entire body began convulsing. Dewey tried to call for help as the man, attached his his clothes, worked through a severe seizure. Gently, Dewey grabbed the man by the shoulders and laid him down, alternating between crying for someone to come, and trying to get him to calm down by yelling at him.
Soon, the convulsions subsided, and the grip on the lapels loosened. The man's arms fell limply to his side, and Dewey feared the worst.
"Mister. Hey. Hey, you. Wake up. Don't... Don't die on me." He shook the supine man by his shoulders, trying to rouse him awake. "Come on. You have to tell me what's going on."
Quick as lightening, a hand shot up to grasp Dewey's wrist, causing his heart to skip a beat. The Ape's eyes were glazed and unmoving, exactly like the men waiting in line for soup before.
"Nothing is going on. Productivity in the community has just raised 2.2%."
Without another word, and with no fighting from Dewey, the Ape stood, acquiring that empty sense of task and purpose that had been summoned by the steam whistle, before he turned and began to walk steadily towards his job.
Dewey sat in the gutter, his eyes wide in vague terror. For the moment he had forgotten the phone, and now just wanted to get help. He ran back towards Higher for Hire, hoping to tell his brother, and, even more hopefully, that superhero. This seemed right up his alley.
The clear glass bowl was filled to the sides in cool water, and in the faintest drop of ink, it was revealed the mysteries of all time and space. It had focused its all-seeing vision on the form of a blue-clad Duck with feathery chops on either side of his beak.
No. It is not him, and yet... I sense some kind of great power in this one. Could it be one of the three brats?
It is of no consequence. Nothing can interrupt my plan. Nothing.
Slam! The door to Higher For Hire swung open, rattling the door frame. Dewey stood in the archway, looking around quickly. The office was empty, devoid of both family and friends, and with only a half worked through pile of papers to show that someone was here.
"Huey?" He called out into the lonely office. "Ghost? Are you there?" he began to step inside, letting the door close gently behind him. His fingers itched for a trigger to grasp on to just in case of an ambush, but alas, he had left Scrooge's musket in the Sea Duck. His voice cracked a bit. "Ms. Vanderquack?"
He jumped a mile in the air as he heard the piercing tone of a steam whistle outside, just ever so subtly different from the whistle he had heard at lunch. He ran to the nearest window and looked out, nearly dropping to the floor right there from surprise.
Moored to the docks, dwarfing all of the boats and airplanes similarly moored all over the lagoon, a massive black carrier floated in the water. The boat was big enough for a small town to live on for several months, and the width of its hull couldn't have fit through the thin canyon even on a good day. Dewey thought such things for a moment, before having the presence of mind to duck down under the window frame as, it seems, an entire army unloaded onto the island. An Invasion!
The soldiers were predominantly boars in identical bright red uniforms. Dewey recognized the flag up above as belonging to a small country adjacent to the Soviet Union, which had been able to avoid getting absorbed into the union proper, having hashed out a treaty early in the USSR's life, and by being a good little Bolshevik county. It was called Thembria.
As the men marched down to the shore, another tightly packed army was marching against them. They were all in civilian clothes, but walked in step, two-by-two, as if they were the most precision-trained army in the world. The townspeople of Cape Suzette, under some strange power, began to march their way onto the ship. It was then that Dewey saw a flash of bright red and green. Next to each other, Huey and the Green Phantom marched side-by-side, followed by Webigail. All three of them had that empty look about their eyes, letting Dewey know that whatever was going on had happened to them as well.
As he watched, both armies stopped, and a small man in a high-ranking uniform broke off from the group, approaching the line of motionless civilians. He gave the nearest one an order, and he dutifully bent over. The short man then inspected the civilian's teeth. He seemed to nod and give a gesture, and the entire line of plainclothes people began to march in step towards the ship.
There was sweat upon Dewey's brow as he thought quickly. He had to get on that ship. He couldn't let his Brother and PA get kidnapped by communists, and even that other guy deserved a shot. Stepping lightly, he was soon out the door, spotting the long procession of afflicted civilians walking towards the black ship. He slowed down his gait to match the brisk pace of the marching line and began to walk alongside, keeping his eyes on the line of workers. As he sidled closer, but the tight line of people was too close in to allow him access.
"STOP!" yelled a voice. The entire line screeched to a halt as the short officer walked up, "We've got a straggler."
Another, lower ranking officer walked up, "Kinda puny, isn't he? Think he'll be any use?"
"Probably only as a mole, anyway." He yelled at the entire line, and Dewey struggled not to flinch at the sound of it, "Make room! Make room!"
The line gave a little hiccup, creating a perfect little space in the for Dewey to enter from in a way that was disturbing in a rather novel way. Fighting back his nerves, he entered the line, and was soon letting himself be swept away by the thin river of humanity, and into the black ship of Thembria.
After seemingly marching forever, and needing to keep track of his step several times to avoid detection, Dewey and the others came to a halt in front of a team of inspectors. Each one went down the line, writing down each civilian's measurements, as if for a new set of clothes. As they went down the line, the Short officer spoke with his men.
"Well, comrades. Today is a glorious day for the great state of Thembria." He began to pace back and forth in front of his troops as he spoke. "Today we have captured a little-known American settlement, easily, painlessly, and with little effort. Very soon we can expect the Grand High Marshall's infallible master plan to begin."
The inspectors were getting very close now to Dewey. He noted as they sized up an Orangutan, that they took great pains not to let themselves be touched by the bare skin of the afflicted.
The short general continued, "Is everyone clear on the master plan?"
There was a general murmer of agreement.
"Uh. I don't remember the plan."
"WHO SAID THAT!?" the officer jumped up and down, raging at his men, "Come forward! Who had the gall to forget the supreme Grand High Marshall's master plan? You will be shot for this for the honor of Thembrian memory everwhere!"
Nobody stepped forward. Dewey, who had done his best to speak without moving his beak, stared straight ahead, trying to look dead inside.
"Fine! We'll go over it... step... by... step." He then snapped his fingers. A small entourage of destitute servants darted out and set up a large canvas, on which was written the Grand High Marshall's Master Plan. "Can everyone see?"
"Turn it a little to the left," Called Dewey, trying hard to sound like a Thembrian.
"WHO SAID THAT!?" The officer grabbed the nearest soldier and began to punch him in the gut, hard. "It was you wasn't it!? SPEAK UP!" By the time he was finished, the private was coughing up blood, but the officer was convinced it wasn't him. "Fine." He then moved the canvas slightly to the left.
From his vantage point, Dewey could see what looked like a sickle and Hammer, with arrows pointing towards the shapes of various countries. Inside the countries, arrows emanated from a set point on the coastlines, supposedly from where Thembria would land, and eventually covered the entire country.
"STEP ONE! We land discreetly near the coastlines of the following countries." He pointed them out, "England, France, Canada, Japan, India, Australia, and ESPECIALLY," and he said this part with an extra heaping of relish, "the Imperialist satan, the USA."
"YES COMRADE!" Yelled the Thembrians, as a one.
"STEP TWO! We activate... 'the symbol.'" This step was accompanied by a point towards the crossed Hammer and Sickle.
"STEP THREE! We place our moles on the coastal cities, and allow our ideology to spread through the magic of Rasputin!" The officer let his pointer travel along the various arrows. "Our magic symbol will cause those afflicted to think nothing but Communist thoughts, and act communist actions. They will become the building blocks for the worker's paradise that was the dream of Marx, Lenin, Stalin!"
"And step four is...?"
"TAKE OVER THE WORLD. ALL HAIL THEMBRIA!"
Dewey was sure this had to be a lot of horse baloney, but the evidence of his eyes was better than that of his instinct. The men lined up on either side of him, dead to the world except as never ending work machines, were proof that whatever this "Symbol" was, it had some kind of power.
Suddenly, there was a scream. "I touched him! I touched him!"
The entire room went wild. The other inspectors scrambled to get away from the screaming Thembrian, and the Officer struggled to get everyone under control. Eventually, the screamer had a blanket thrown over him so he could not touch anyone else, and was spirited away to some obscure part of the ship. Once he was gone, Thembrian soldiers, hiding all around the room, began to come out.
"Get out here cowards! He's gone!" the Officer yelled, waving his fists at his fearful crew, "Let that be a lesson to you all. Even one touch and the magic of the symbol will overtake you, and while... er... and while surrendering ourselves to become... er... indispensible cogs in the wheel of society is our ultimate goal as a people, we must stay ever vigilant so that we may deliver others to our way of thinking." He nodded, and crossed his arm. "All the more reason to move on with our Grand High Marshall's plan. You all know your parts, We will move out in three hours. DISMISSED!"
In every direction, Thembrian's dispersed, until it was only the line of civilians and the officer. The diminutive one continued his harried, official pace, this time in front of the unmoving, unseeing victims of their plot, and Dewey had to struggle not to follow him with his eyes.
"Find something productive to do, and follow all orders. DISMISSED!"
As Dewey began to disperse with the others, he noticed that the Thembrian that had been touched before had been discreetly added to their ranks. Dewey looked down at his wrist where he had been touched by that Orangutan. If it's so contagious, why hadn't he been changed? Is it only a matter of time before he, the de-facto richest Duck in the world, turned red once and for all?
The cold steel of the floor gave out light taps as Dewey Duck wandered around the ship, trying to look busy, while also trying to overhear something useful. He realized something there, that to people with means, the help can look less than invisible. After a while, he realized that he didn't even need to try looking busy, as long as he kept moving, holding a broom, nobody would bother him.
He passed a large door that he heard whispering through. Counting on his newfound powers of invisibility, he entered and proceeded to sweep up nothing near the entrance of the door. The room was some kind of science lab. Within, he saw two Thembrians in white lab coats, having a harried argument.
"I say this thing is patently ridiculous," Said one, "There is absolutely no possible way having that thing on the ship could possible make the Americans bend to our will. There must be some other trick to it."
"No, comrade," said another, "It is magic. We don't have to explain it."
"Magic! Pah! I say that 'court wizard' or whatever is bad news. He is taking advantage of the Grand High Marshall's infirm state to enact his own plans."
"Comrade! Such talk is treason!"
"I don't care. There's nobody else here. Nobody ever comes to see us."
The other scientist began to lean his elbows on a desk. Judging from the dartboards and various other time wasters, the two did not have much to do on this expedition. "The State Magician is the reincarnation of the great Rasputin, in the body of an Italian. We must not doubt that which has been told to us by the Grand High Marshall's government."
"All right, all right." The other said, "But still, if I had my mind right, I would go down to Cargo Hold three and run some tests on that thing once and for all, and see if this 'magic' really exists or not."
"Even if you were allowed, you would never come back out yourself. Even getting near the symbol causes your mind to change."
Both scientists sighed.
"Want to play Monopoly?"
As the two scientists went to get the board game, Dewey was already out the door and rushing down to cargo hold three. If the symbol is down there, it could certainly be destroyed.
Speed walking through the halls, broom firmly in hand, Dewey went down, down towards the cargo areas. As he passed the odd soldier that would wander by, his heart would skip a beat, but his broom was his shield. Nobody paid him any mind if they thought he was already busy. However, even that can't stop everybody.
"You there! Halt!"
He stopped, turning slowly, trying to look as hypnotized as possible. A mop and bucket were thrown towards him, clattering on the floor.
"Clean up this hall. It's filthy."
Dewey, with not much choice, nodded, and picked up the mop and bucket. The Thembrian who had given him the job turned around to walk away from the Duck. Thinking fast, Dewey's eyebrows gave a twitch.
Clang! There was now a dent in the hard bucket as it bounced off of the Thembrian's head. He collapsed into a heap on the ground. Dewey dropped the mop and bucket on the floor and turned to continue on his way.
"What was that?" cried a voice, to Dewey's horror, "It came from over here."
No more pretending, the jig was up. He ran, full-tilt towards the stairs heading down towards the cargo holds.
"There he goes! Get him!"
The loud pops of guns pursued him as he ran. He jumped onto the railing of the stairs and slid down it quickly, colliding with another patrolling Thembrian at the bottom, and knocking him off of his feet. Dewey swore loudly and stood up before anyone could recover.
He gave a quick look over his shoulder and counted at least five men pursuing him. Looking back forward, he hoped that the cargo holds were close.
Lo and behold, he veritably jumped down another flight of stairs, attracting the ire of a few more Thembrian soldiers, when he noticed the tall, wide doors of a ship's cargo. He counted, one, two, three, and ducked inside the door.
In the new room, he looked around until he found a large, heavy crate. He ran to the other side of it, and pushed, steadily moving it in front of the door, trapping himself inside and the Thembrians out. He then turned around, and had to shade his eyes from what he saw.
It shone bright red and gold obscuring its form in its own dazzling light. Dewey had to shade his eyes, as it hurt to look directly into the blaze of light and color assaulting his vision. He could see a glass case surrounding whatever it was. It was faintly hypnotic, this light, and he couldn't help but begin walking towards it.
He was knocked out of his trance by bangs and scrapes at the door. The Thembrians were trying to get in, impeded by the heavy crate holding the door closed. Dewey gulped and looked back towards the shining light. He needed to destroy it. Maybe then everyone would go back to normal.
He took a step forward, then another, and then another. As he walked towards the symbol, he could feel something inside his head, like a finger poking around where it doesn't belong. He shook his head, trying to get the feeling out, but he couldn't shake it. As he cog closer, the feeling got stronger.
It's the symbol's power, he thought in horror, It's changing me like it changed everyone else.
He held his head, trying to will away the invasive headache he was developing as his instincts fought against the communist reprogramming. He took another step and could feel a strange, alien urge rise up in his head, an urge to distribute his wealth among the lower classes. He could feel his feathers standing on end as his mind raced to squealch such thoughts.
Suddenly, he could hear a buzzing and feel a slight vibration in his pockets, but no matter. He had to destroy the symbol. He was close. Close enough to touch, and yet...
He fell, his body suddenly going into mild convulsions as the disconnect between his mind and body began to get larger. He fought for control over himself, and managed to hug his arms to himself, trying to get under control.
Suddenly he could hear laughing. The voice had a strange quality to it, as if it was being run backwards through a tape player, and yet was perfectly understandable.
"Dewey Duck. Last of the three brats," taunted the voice, "Soon you too will be under my power."
"Wh..." His mouth tried to form the right words, "Who...?"
His eyes darted around, but there was nothing there.
"You should know that nothing in the world can resist this seductive energy. Soon you will be one of my slaves, still a prisoner of foolish ideology, but now of one that is alien and foreign to you. A fate worse than death."
This caused Dewey to uncoil his arms and resume trying to crawl towards the case containing the symbol.
"HA! You can barely walk, boy. What do you think you can do to my beautiful symbol. Face it. You will be absorbed into the collective. Do not fight, just give in..."
The voice took on a seductive quality, and Dewey had to struggle not to listen. He could feel it, the ideas, the images, the urges. He could feel his self slipping away. He slowly lowered himself to the floor, unable to support his body with his trembling arms as the voice laughed horribly.
"Must... not... distribute... wealth... Must... not... accept equal salary... for unequal work... must... not... give fealty to... the worker..." He struggled to move beyond a convulsion, and tried to tink capitalist thoughts, thinking back to the magic of seeing the money bin for the first time, hearing about Uncle Scrooge's adventures becoming the richest duck in the world, travelling around the world, being better, faster, smarter, and harder than any other guy. Being tougher than the toughies, and sharper than the sharpies, and all along the way making it square.
Suddenly, he thought of his uncle, or at least how he had always pictured him from that portrait of him in the mansion, dressed as a prospector, with bandages wrapped around his feet instead of shoes, and a set of clothes he most likely trapped and skinned himself. Uncle Scrooge walked through the driving snow of northern Canada, through towards White Agony Creek, where he had made his first million prospecting gold. He imagined his uncle holding a large, mud-covered stone, dipping it into a pool, and pulling out a perfectly round hunk of solid gold ore.
The scene of Dewey's fevered dream changed suddenly, into a memory, of a few months before. The driving snow changed to a scene of hot, wet greenery. The visions of his uncle's winter shack changed to a vision of a tent and campsite at the foot of a hill. An inspection Dewey had conducted, all alone, on a site in India. Dressed in Pith helmet and light khakis, he wielded a shovel on a patch of ground laid bare at the foot of a small mountain. He brought up a bucket of dirt and stone, and hauled it towards a hastily set up Sluice connected to a nearby river. He dumped the dirt down the chute and quickly waited at the bottom with a pan, like the old prospectors of the old days.
In his pan, he saw glittering dust, not much, but enough to let him know that this site was worth exploring further.
Should I have stayed? He thought, suddenly, reality warbling away as he escaped into his memories, was it the right thing to leave soon after? Uncle Scrooge was killed and I had to go back to Duckburg. Huey had to escape the country. Uncle Donald disappeared. Louie and I took over the company. I had no time to go back. Was it right to send other men in my place? To dig up the gold I had found. Is it really my gold anymore? Am I just not as good a man as Scrooge McDuck?
Suddenly, he was knocked away from his stupor violently by a painful burning sensation in his pocket. He yelled out, and noticed that the voice was still laughing. His dream had only lasted a moment. On its own, his hand reached down into the pocket of his jacket, and withdrew a case, containing something buzzing and vibrating.
"What?" cried the voice as Dewey began to stand up, wobbling weakly, "It's not possible."
Dewey screamed, raising a glass case up in the air. He sent the small case down, smashing into the glass case of the symbol of Communism, sending glass showering everywhere. Dewey's hand was cut to ribbons and began to bleed, but he paid no attention. He simply searched the glass shards for what had saved him.
He reached down, and picked up the tiny dime, which was shaking violently in the communist magic permeating the room. As he touched it, it burned his fingers, but he was too far gone to care, thankful for any sensation at all. The burn quickly spread up his arm, and ceased being painful soon after. It was a warming sensation, and in its wake, his arms and legs and body ceaced convulsing and wobbling, and once it reached his head, any thought of letting his wealth get away simply melted away. He was the master of what he owned, and he was the only one responsible for what happened to it, for better or for worse.
"No! It can't be! The dime! The number one dime! It's cancelling my magic." The voice sounded terrified, and began to scream as it faded away into nothing.
With dime in one hand, Dewey reached into the shattered case with the other, less lacerated hand. He grasped the symbol, which he could suddenly see for what it was with the haze of magic suddenly gone. It was a glowing red hammer, crossed with a glowing golden sickle. He grasped the handles and pulled them out of the broken case. As he touched them, a cold, clammy sensation snaked up his other arm, before being fought back by the glow of the dime.
He dropped the twin tools on the ground before he fell to his knees and grasped the hammer with both hands. Using one tool, he took careful aim at the other before bringing the heavy head down on the sharp blade. Almost instandly, the blade cracked. In another impact, the blade broke altogether, and the golden glow dispersed into the air. The red glow of the hammer similarly disappeared when Dewey broke the handle of it over his knee.
Dewey breathed deeply, staring at the debris of the two farm tools. He suddenly felt very light headed, and looked down at his hand. It was cut deeply, but the biggest danger was loss of blood, and maybe scars. Using his off hand, Dewey picked stray bits of glass out of his hand, too numb to even wince at the pain. He then took off his tie quickly, and wrapped it around the bloodied hand, trying to stymie the flow of blood.
With a moment to himself before the Thembrians broke in and ended him, he looked down at the dime he had set aside on the ground. He thought back to his Uncle, and smiled, thanking him for having saved every coin he had ever earned.
Then he saw the timestamp of the dime.
Crash! The crate was suddenly knocked aside, and an avalanche of people poured in. However, Dewey was too woozy to really care, and, closing his hand in a death grip around the dime, he drifted off to sleep, to dream of mining hundreds of dimes from his claim in the jungle, and of waving hello to his young Uncle Scrooge doing the same in the White Agony Creek claim across the way.
He woke up a few hours later, and saw faces looming over him. His hands rushed up, and he punched the nearest one straight in the jaw.
"YOW! Dewey! It's me! It's us!" cried the Green Phantom as he nursed his aching beak.
Dewey sat up, rail straight, and took in the scene. It was Huey, GP, that guy, Kit Cloudkicker, and Webigail. Webby had bloody bandages in her hands, and she was looking distractedly at Dewey's hand. He looked himself and noticed that his hand was being held together by imposing black wires, like Frankenstein's monster.
"Hold still," said Webby, throwing away the old bandages and fetching new ones, "You'll rip your stitches." She then carefully wrapped up Dewey's hand, being careful to place gauze between the bandages and the wounds.
Huey laughed, "You tell us. We all just woke up on some crazy ship. Everyone rallied together to escape, and GP and I found you unconscious in the cargo hold. We dragged you off the ship, just before some magic pixie dust made it fly away over the high wall. Now you tell us. What were we doing there?"
Dewey breathed deeply and proceeded to tell them everything, about the voice, the dime, the symbol, and even began to elaborate on his half-remembered dream of mining dimes alongside their great uncle.
The Green Phantom scratched his head, "Well I'll be."
The large, brown bear then began to speak for himself, "Well, I wish it was in better circumstances, but it's nice to meet Huey's family. He talks about you all enough."
Dewey turned his head towards Kit and nodded, "Mr. Cloudkicker, I presume."
"Yep. I own that heap you've been running around in, and I also run Higher-for-Hire." He chuckled. "Considering your circumstances I won't charge you for the free trip to Rio."
Dewey gulped down some saliva, imagining how much a plane ride to Rio from Duckburg would cost, "Thanks." He then looked down at his now mummified hand.
A horrible thought struck him.
"Where... where's my dime!?"
Webigail smiled kindly. "Don't worry, Dewey. It's right here." She reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the dime, which had been attached to the inside of his pocket securely with a bit of string. "And Uncle Scrooge's is still inside its case."
Green Phantom crossed his arms, "So, your dime protected you?"
"I think so. It... It fought off the magic."
"I'm amazed it's so powerful." Huey said. "Uncle Scrooge never actually believed his Dime had any power."
"But Magica was always after it. It may not have literally been a 'Lucky' dime, but it could certainly have been made powerful by virtue of belonging to him," said the Phantom, scratching his chin, "Your 1967 dime may be the same way. You're technically the richest duck in the world, and that is the first coin you ever earned yourself, therefore, that dime is powerful, at least in matters pertaining to ideas about money. Perfect for fighting off Communism."
Webigail rolled her eyes, "Greed wins out in the end after all."
"I have no idea what you boys are talking about," said Kit Cloudkicker, "Anyone want some Coffee?"
"Yes Please!" said all four ducks.
After everyone had acquired a cup of potent java, Dewey continued to stare at his Dime.
"I want to go see it."
"See what?" asked Huey.
"My gold mine. I want to go see my gold mine." He looked up at Kit, "I'm sorry to ask this, but can I charter a flight to the McDuck Enterprises offices in Bombay?" He twitched. "We can... I'm sure we can pay you this time."
Kit Cloudkicker looked up at Dewey, and then to Huey, who had both hands twined together and was mouthing, "please?"
"No charge." Dewey's face relaxed. "Little Breeches. You pilot him up to India and stick around him. I'm sure you'll be needed."
"Right. Thanks Old man!"
"I need to speak with Farid as well," continued Dewey.
"It'll be kinda hard, what with being wanted internationally and all that," Said Louie.
"Yes, but I'm sure I can pull through."
Webigail scratched her head, "But wait. What about what happened here? Who caused it? Something important happened here, don't you think?"
"Yes, she's right," agreed Kit.
Green Phantom shrugged his shoulders, "There's no way we can know for sure who it was, but I have a feeling we'll find out sooner or later."
"Still..." said Webby, "...I wonder..."
Lavish red carpets and drapes were the first vision of the great hall of Thembria, required in the name of the people from the Czarists towards the end of the Bolshevik revolution. The art and paintings, however, had been looted and plundered, so that only the fancy carpets had remained. At the end of the hall, there was no throne, but a bed. A grand four poster bed, with an IV drip beside it.
Inside the bed, laying motionless with eyes half-closed, was the ancient ruler for life, the 97 year old Grand High Marshall, who had survived his reign for so long by not trusting anyone until the very end.
In the bald, wrinkled boar's eyes there was the slightest glimmer of fear. He could move nothing now, except his mouth. He could barely breathe without assistance, and he had to be fed through an IV in his arm. It was only a matter of time before he ceased being the ruler for life, and the thought of it scared him half to death.
A door at the end of the great hall opened. A thembrian servant walked towards the Marshall quickly, before whispering in his ear, "The State Magician is here."
He tried to nod, but he could not.
The Thembrian walked all the way back towards the entrance to the hall before opening the door and letting in a shrouded figure. The figure was short, and walked with a hobbling waddle that took it forever to reach the side of the bed. The shroud lowered as the figure sat.
"I am afraid," said the Marshall, weakly, "My sources tell me your plan has failed."
The voice was accented with an Italian lilt, and was gravelly and scratched. "My plan was nearly perfect, but for a single flaw no one could predict." Before he could speak, the figure went on, "Our symbol of ideology was hampered by another symbol, one of equal power, wielded by an American of dogged courage and a great love of Capitalism. He will be the death of all of us, Comrade."
"And... how do we..."
"Ah. That is the good news. I can fight him. If I can retrieve his own symbol, the dime of the former richest duck in the world, then I can use it to ensure your hold upon the world..." The figure leaned close, exposing a long, elegent duck bill to the light, "...and perhaps even restore your former youth, and allow you to live forever."
His eyes opened a fraction, before closing again. "Make... it... so."
The figure nodded. "Thank you comrade. I shall get on that right away."
She smiled, causing the lines upon her face to move about as she thought, Little does the fool know that I shall be the one to reap the benefits of the dime. I will once again be young and beautiful, all thanks to the power still remaining in Scrooge McDuck's dime.
She then stood and put down her hood, as she walked away, exposing her full face to the light of the grand hall. She was old and haggy, and her hair was shock-white, but around her eyes there was still the glimmer of the temptress she once was. The glimmer of Magica DeSpell.