Chapter 1: First Meetings
The woman's frantic cries for help echoed against the concrete walls, seemingly falling on deaf ears. Some dastardly fiend had encased the poor soul in a cage of thick glass; who knew what horrible things they planned on doing to her?
Silvery moonlight streamed in through a skylight above, showering her in its glow, her beauty radiating within it. She cried out again, would no one come to her rescue? Her soon to be hero watched from the shadows, keeping a careful eye out for the villain who had done this. It could have easily been a trap.
Deciding the coast was clear, he stepped from the shadows, and sidled up to the prison, his breath fogging up the glass as he spoke, trying to calm the beauty within.
"Don't you worry, my power-packed princess," Megavolt whispered to the newly released 100,000 watt light bulb in its display case. "Uncle Megavolt is gonna bust you out of here, and you can come live with me, yeah?"
The light bulb in all actuality said nothing, but Megavolt giggled to himself bashfully as he imagined the thing giving its hero praise. The demented rodent waved his hand flippantly, shirking away some with modesty.
"Oh, stop it, really. It's just all in a day's work for us heroes, ya know?"
"And hero you are not!"
Megavolt whipped himself around, gasping as he recognized the voice from the shadows. His wild mismatch eyes searched the dark, his head jerking around as he desperately searched the museum. He didn't have to wonder for long as he spotted, from the second floor of the opened room, a puff of blue smoke dissipating and spreading throughout the room.
An ominous voice boomed throughout the museum.
"I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am the overworked debt collector repossessing your house for unpaid mortgages. I aaaaaam-"
A grappling hook shot out from the smoke, and an unwelcoming face lunged from it and dived down to greet the startled villain. Megavolt crashed to the ground, nearly breaking his new electronic friend as the intruder landed upon him.
"Darkwing Duck?!" Megavolt rasped out. The hero on top of him wilted some from the interruption.
"HEY, that's MY line!"
"Well, get a new one." Megavolt mumbled, using Darkwing's temporary lull in attention to kick him off with one oversized rubber boot.
"I'll come back for you, my sweet!" Megavolt told the light bulb, as he bolted past.
Darkwing wasted no time in righting himself, noting to himself he was going to be sporting a boot-shaped bruise on his midsection come morning. Nevertheless, he ran after the fleeing villain.
"Not if I can help it, you won't!"
Megavolt dashed through the different rooms of the museum, as the technological advances throughout history whizzed him by. He made his way to the food court and beyond, completely ignorant of yet another familiar face eating away happily on a chilli dog.
Darkwing Duck was not as oblivious.
"Would you forget about that, Launchpad," he roared, "Megavolt is getting away!"
Launchpad McQuack, Darkwing's burly sidekick, gulped down the last bite of his late night snack before following.
"Right away, DW, I'll try cutting him off at the doors!"
Launchpad, taller and in considerably better shape, managed to do just that with ease. He skidded to a stop in front of the doors, arms outstretched to stop the oncoming convict. When Megavolt showed no sign of slowing down, and instead pointed his voltage gun at LP's head, the pilot yelped and ducked, just in time. He heard the blast ricochet off of the glass door behind him, and glanced up in time to see it completely destroy the head of one of the sprinklers on the ceiling.
This did manage to stop Megavolt in his tracks. He skidded to a halt, looked up at the ceiling, and frowned.
"Oohh, why do I keep breaking into places that have those?" he whined, seconds before the water fell.
Megavolt wasn't alone in his pain, however, as Darkwing crashed into him just in time to be one crispy duck. Both sputtered wildly as electricity hit their system, collapsing to the ground once the electric rodent lost the last of his charge.
"You know, " the charred hero babbled to himself, going cross-eyed in the process, "that NEVER gets less painful..."
Being arrested was always the most humiliating part of defeat, as far as any villain was concerned. But it was doubly so for Megavolt as he had to listen to his arch-enemy go on and on about how he defeated him, as his body ached violently and was dragged towards the waiting police van.
Megavolt groaned, as even the closed door couldn't block out the blabbering.
Mild relief came at last as the van began to pull away, and Darkwing's gloating and taunting finally faded into the distance. Megavolt sighed heavily, and slumped against the wall behind him, muttering an 'ow' every time the van would hit a bump and knock his head against it again.
The rest of Megavolt's night went the same as any other. He was roughly shoved into the police station, then shoved again into a changing room, where he was forced to change into a hideous orange prison uniform. At least his frequent visits to this place allowed him to skip the whole mugshot ordeal.
After all that, he was shoved a third time, into a small cell with uncomfortable bunk-bed cots, and a single barred window too high up for him to see out of anyway. He was dully aware of, and thankful for, the otherwise empty cell. Imprisonment was ever so slightly more bearable when you had a cell to yourself. Megavolt collapsed onto the bottom cot, and fell into a fitful slumber.
The cafeteria in the St. Canard super villain prison was, much like the rest of the building, mostly empty. St. Canard had its fair share of villains, sure, but certainly not enough to aptly fill a whole prison. That, along with the fact that Megavolt was criminally insane, assured he was usually left alone during his stays there. He was just fine with that. Cafeterias always made him feel uneasy, powerless, small, for reasons he could no longer remember.
Megavolt poked at the slop on his plate, as he sat alone in the corner of the room. He jumped when a tray clattered down loudly on the table across from him.
"Nuh-uh, you're doing it all wrong."
"Say what now?" Megs looked up to see... some guy in a clown costume? Great. Why did he always attract the weirdos?
"No, see, if you're gonna play with your food, it should be a little more like this."
Megavolt watched as the duck across from him scooped a spoonful of slop from his tray, bent the plastic spoon back with one finger, and let it fly. It landed with a loud "splat" on the back of a large walrus inmate a few tables over. Tuskernini's glare was ignored, as the strange duck was already looking back at Megavolt expectantly- his grin wide enough to unnerve even the likes of him.
"Er, right," the electric rodent glowered, wishing the other would just leave him alone already, "I'll note that for next time. Now will ya leave me alone already? I'm trying to sulk in my misery, here!"
Some people just had no manners.
That brought the demented smile off of the wannabe-clown's face, as his jester hat drooped downwards- looking as long and deflated as the rest of the guy's sorry mug. It quickly went away, however, as he sprung to life yet again as a figurative light bulb went off in his head.
"See that guy over there?" The duck asked, pointing behind the rodent. Megavolt, his curiosity getting the better of him, followed the feathered finger before his eyes spotted the prison guard currently on lunch duty. The annoying freak went on. "Wanna see something hil-LARIOUS?"
"Uhh, suuuure..." Megavolt answered, cautiously. Was he really going to assault a prison guard? The electrical villain didn't believe him. Before he could turn back around to comment on the stupidity of the idea, the zany duck was already tip-toeing over to the said guard, his sneaking made pointless by the jingling of the bells on his hat with every exaggerated step.
Still, he somehow managed to get the slip on the guy, and Megavolt's jaw dropped when the guard's pants were yanked down around his ankles. Who knew such an uptight guy wore undies with pink stars on them? The clown-jester's insane laughing was contagious. Megavolt couldn't help but snicker, himself, but the guard looked furious. The rodent only laughed more when the wacky duck was tasered.
Megavolt's laughter was cut short, however, as the assaulted guard handcuffed the duck, and began shoving him out of the cafeteria doors.
"See you back at the cell, bunk buddy!" he called, just as the doors swung shut behind them.
"...WHAT?!" Megavolt exclaimed, staring, disbelievingly at the doors. The duck's insane giggling could still be heard down the hall. Whatever little bit of appetite the criminal had was long gone, as a heavy feeling snuck its way into Megavolt's stomach- making him nauseous.
"Ya know, " he said to no one in particular, still staring at the door, " I gotta bad feeling about that guy…"
"One hundred and one, one hundred and twoooo, one hundred threeee…"
The counting echoed down the halls as Megavolt was escorted back to his cell- each number followed by a hollow whacking sound. The noise got louder and louder as he got closer, and the rodent muttered to himself as he wished and prayed to whatever science gods would hear him.
"Please let that be the next cell, please let that be the next cell…"
All hope was lost when he saw the crazed-clown on top of his bunk through the bars. Before Megavolt could give any complaint, the weirdo jumped off the bed as he began bouncing in place- his bells tinkling along with him.
"Hey, it's roomie!" He was far too cheerful for somebody in prison as Megavolt was pushed into the cell, colliding into the other criminal's chest. This did not deter the duck as he giggled madly, wrapping an arm around the rodent as he gave him a slight hug. "'Bout time, too, a double bunker is no fun without a playmate! And an old fashioned paddle ball only takes a guy so far from being so boooored."
"A playmate? In prison? What are you, completely insane?" He demanded, incredulously. His cellmate stared at him, blankly, before giving a simple shrug.
"...Yeees?" he responded, as if Megavolt had just told him that water was wet. The scowl fell from the rodent's face.
"Oh, no kidding, me too. So uh, do you have a name, or what?"
"Sure do, Drew!"
The electrical villain stared at the little guy who apparently lived in this guy's pocket. Who's idea was it to cram three people in a single cell? It's not like it was a crowded prison.
"My name's Quackerjack, and thiiiis..." The little yellow guy was shoved into Megavolt's face. "is Mr. Banana Brain!"
Megavolt scowled as he gently pushed the nosey banana-man out of his face, before something began tickling his brain. Something about those names were familiar, but what? Oh, it was practically there, a memory of something he must have seen on tv- or was it in the newspaper? …. Did he even read newspapers anymore?
And just as it had come it had gone, and the electric rodent was smiling friendly once more.
"Quackerjack, huh?" He took the other's hand and began shaking it- not realizing how lucky he was that the clown had his hand-buzzer confiscated earlier." Well put it there, pal! Folks usually scream and just call me 'Megavolt'."
This seemed to make the other criminal's eyes sparkle playfully, as he gasped- his big maw practically sucking all the air out of the room like a vacuum.
"MEGAVOLT, " he cried, " as in THE Megavolt? The electrical terror of the terrace? Fellow villain of the fuddy duddy and no good Darkwing Duck? THAT guy?"
"Uh… yeah? Last time I checked, anyhow." Megavolt uttered cautiously.
This only caused Quackerjack to laugh harder, as he began to bounce around the room in glee.
"Oooooh, I KNEW there was a reason I felt a spark between us-ey Sparky? Hehe! Oh, Megsy, you and I are gonna have SO much fun- I can see it now! You, me, and Mister Banana Brains here are just gonna be the bestest of pals- three amigos even!"
"Amigos, huh?" Megavolt repeated, thoughtfully. "I've never had any of those before. Neat!" Megavolt tittered then, right before his smile slipped.
"But don't call me Sparky, okay?"
Quackerjack couldn't help but laugh at how serious his tone had been as he said that. It really bothered him, huh? Good to know!
"You got it, pal!" Quackerjack assured, slinging an arm around Megavolt's shoulders again. Boy, this guy really had no concept of personal space. Before Megavolt could find himself being uncomfortable, the jester pulled back again as he turned towards the bunk bed and hopped onto the top bunk. Quackerjack laid down onto his stomach as he began to kick his legs back and forth- eyelashes fluttering wildly as he grinned down at his fellow lunatic.
"Soooo, don't just stand there like an old used lamp, tell me stories! Are your goodies and gadgets really as wonderful as everybody says they are? Did they let you keep any of your toys to play with? OH! Wanna play a game? Eye-spy? Word Association? Guessing the origin story of the stains on the bed sheets?"
As Quackerjack played his game of twenty questions- not even waiting for any of the answers- Megavolt watched as the mad mallard fidgeted on his bed, not being able to stay in the same position for too long. Megavolt just smiled widely to himself, his mind only barely keeping up with all the racing inquiry, as one thought echoed through his mind.
'Maybe this prison stay won't be so boring after all.'
Chapter 2: The Escape
It was surprising to everyone how well the two criminals hit it off. At first there had been bets on how long their friendship would last, as neither Megavolt or Quackerjack were known for playing nice with others. But as days turned into weeks, and nothing more had happened but a few tiffs over being called 'Sparky' had occurred, the jailers and fellow inmates were beginning to think it was a bet they were going to lose.
Ignorant of this transgression, Megavolt and Quackerjack found themselves in the prison courtyard on a nice sunny day- being forced to clean up the trash on the blacktop as their punishment for pranking another set of guards just the day before. Quackerjack beamed happily as he found another piece of garbage, aiming it at his new buddy a few feet behind him- a trashbag stretched out in Megavolt's arms.
"Ooookaay, ready for another catch?"
"Depends, " the electrical rodent began hesitantly, "You're going to actually get it in the bag this time, right? I'm getting REAL tired of you throwing trash in my face!"
"Depends." Quackerjack echoed, mockingly. "Are ya gonna catch it this time, or not? A pitcher can only do so much with a lousy catcher, ya know!"
Megavolt growled as a half-rotten banana peel flew through the air, and landed on his nose with a gross, sloppy sound. It was fried to a black, crispy husk with one well-aimed finger, and Quackerjack couldn't have been more thrilled to see it.
"Oohhh, got some of your old spark back there, Megsy?"
"Yeah, so?" he mumbled. He didn't even flinch or recoil this time when Quackerjack skipped over and leaned in close to whisper to him.
"What say we use a little of that to slip out of here, and play some real games?"
"'Real games'?" Megavolt had to raise a brow at that. In the little time he had gotten to know the crazed-clown, Quackerjack had been known to call almost anything a game. Even things the mad scientist sure as heck wouldn't call 'entertainment'. "You're not talking about seeing what we can flush down the toilet again, are you? Because that was the one that got us into solitary the LAST time."
Quackerjack shook his head, his bells jingling with him.
"No, not that, silly! I'm talking about breaking outta here!"
"Oohhh..." A malicious grin slowly began to spread across Megavolt's face. "Why didn't you say so?"
The bag of trash was dropped, and Megavolt wiped his grimy hands on his prison uniform. He didn't know about his new pal here, but he sure was tired of playing with garbage.
"Oh, goody!" Quackerjack clapped his hands with glee. "Glad you're on board. So here's what we're gonna do..."
As the plan was whispered, Megavolt began to cackle softly. Oh, yes, that was perfect! No more cafeteria slop, no more mandatory showers, no more nightmares involving suffocating in a school locker-
Okay, maybe he would still have to deal with that third thing, but freedom was definitely in their grasp.
Sneaking around a fully guarded prison was surprisingly not as hard as Megavolt thought it would be, having always assumed that having jailers at every corner would be enough to deter anyone. Quackerjack, however, had not been bothered at all as he playfully tiptoed and danced around them. Even being able to stop long enough to make silly faces behind the guards' backs, and mock them as they talked to each other. Boy, talk about a waste of taxpayer's money if THAT was the quality they were getting…
But hey, their stupidity was their gain!
First step in the crazed-clown's multiple step plan was simple enough: what they needed was to find enough junk to construct some sort of tool to get out of the place. While Megavolt was more of a metal and wire kind of guy, the electric rodent was surprised to see that Quackerjack could use any old junk. At first they were reasonable enough, like bed springs and nuts and bolts; but once the other villain began stealing toothbrushes and the old jail filling clerk's false dentures… Okay, he was beginning to think maybe Quackerjack was pulling his leg on the whole scheme.
Megavolt had been wrong as the next thing he knew there was a pair of chattering teeth chasing him around their shared cell. Quackerjack laughed as the teeth ran Megavolt up to the second bunk like a treed cat. Megavolt eyed the thing, warily, as it bounced and snapped at him, just barely out of its reach.
"How did you DO that?" Megavolt questioned, half in awe, and half in disgust.
"Anything can be a toy in the right hands." Quackerjack replied, proudly. His electrical pal rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, great. How is this... toy gonna get us out of here!"
Quackerjack rolled his eyes, making his way towards the bunk bed when he began to push the frame over towards the window- taking Megavolt along with him.
"WOAH, watch it!"
"Ya know, ye of little faith" The toymaker sneered, the amusement of the other's doubt starting to fade" this isn't my first time forced into timeout. How about ya scooch over lil' and let your ol' Uncle Quacky just do what he do-do!"
Quackerjack, after picking up his dangerous dentures, quickly scaled the ladder before pushing the other villain out of his way. Now directly in front of the metal bars, the duck gave another windup to his teeth before placing them on the middle bar.
Megavolt found himself surprised yet again as the thing began eating through the metal as if it was a graham cracker. Quackerjack giggled.
"Talk about getting your iron intake, ey Megsy? Hehe!"
"Whoa, nice!" Megavolt commented, suddenly doubly glad that thing hadn't gotten a hold of him. Without another thought, the rodent stuck his head through the newly created opening, and began to scramble out. He didn't get very far, though, before he was yanked back in and faced with a scowling Quackerjack.
"What do you think you're doing, Megadolt? Remember the plan? Distraction first, and then we make our escape!"
Megs gazed sadly at the exit, so close, yet so far away. But, his nutty friend was right. They wouldn't make it far with dozens of cops and security guards... not to mention the dogs... on their tails.
"Oh, right." He nodded once, vaguely remembering their plan. He cast a glance over at the cell door.
"But how- oh."
The teeth were already chowing down on those bars.
The next step was also pretty simple, but Megavolt wasn't liking it. Sure, setting off fires throughout the prison wasn't that big of a deal, but the fact the demented clown wanted him to short circuit the building- even blowing up all the lights- was enough to make him pause. He was a liberator of electronics- not their executioner! A quick reminder from Quackerjack, and how the darkness and shutting down alarms was the reason behind it, was enough to make him put his feelings aside.
"Well…. C'est la vie, I guess." Megavolt shrugged.
As far as Megavolt was concerned, the various light bulbs in the place had whispered to him, telling them the location of the main breaker box in the building. They had also assured him that they were willing to die for the cause. In reality, the electrical tuned villain had merely been able to sense the electrical currents in the walls, and deciphered the location that way.
The basement where it was located may not have been very heavily guarded, but the halls needed to get there were. Thus, the small office on the other side of the building became a prime target for arson.
That was where Quackerjack's simple paddle ball came into play. Never in Megavolt's life had he seen somebody use a child's toy to knock out guards. All it took was for the crazed toymaker to give them a good thwack at the back of their heads, and they were down for the count.
"Hahaha! Just like cracking a few eggs for an omelette, wouldn'tcha say?"
Quackerjack wasn't the only one doing all the work. When there were multiple jailers in an area it took Megavolt sneaking up behind them and simply placing a hand on each of their shoulders. From there it took little effort to fry the guards into unconsciousness.
"I'm sure they found that shocking." The electrical rodent laughed. Quackerjack joined in as well with his own retort as he patted the criminal on the back.
"Oh Megavolt, you're simply electrifying!"
By now, despite their cautionary sneaking around, they had captured a little bit of unwanted attention. Backup was sent out, but a couple of rogue criminals running around a tightly sealed prison became second priority to the flames now billowing out of Office A3, and quickly spreading down the hall.
Megavolt tried reasoning with Quackerjack as they fled, that cutting the power wasn't even necessary now, but Quackerjack insisted it was, if they expected a clean getaway.. Megavolt decided he was right when, after rounding a corner, they were met with two very large, and very armed police officers, barrelling down the hall at them. The two escaped criminals yelped, and took off running down another hall; it looked like they'd be taking the long way..
The police officers didn't seem to notice they had been led in a circle, until they saw their targets pulling frantically on the basement door. The officers did, however, stop, and exchange confused looks. What would these two wackos want in the basement? The door's lock-along with the rest of the handle- clanged to the floor, and the officers gave chase again when Megavolt and Quackerjack bolted down into the dark basement.
Quackerjack had taken the lead as he practically jumped down the stairs, not a thought of caution entering his mind in the slightest. Once down the steps the demented duck continued on ahead before disappearing into the jail's clutter- the basement being where they stored their extra furniture and other miscellaneous objects. Megavolt felt a sense of panic hit him as he lost track of his cellmate.
"Quackerjaaaaaack," the electric rodent whined inbetween breaths, just barely being able to keep out of the guards' grasp, "you can't just… just… leave me to these guys!"
Some friend HE was! Before Megavolt could start swearing against trusting anybody just as much of a whack job as himself ever again, the villain had to stop right in his tracks as he found his path blocked. The bricked wall and the two jailers trapping him like a rat in a twisted maze.
"GREAT, a dead end. I'm done for!"
"Alright, Megavolt," the first guard smirked, the baton in his hand slapping into the palm of the other threateningly as he came upon the inmate. "No where else t'run to. How about playing nice and comin' with us, huh?"
"Yeah," said the other, just as menacingly, "or are we gonna have t'do this the rough way?"
Megavolt didn't even get a chance to respond before the basement echoed in a loud cracking sound. The inmate only had to blink before his would-be tormentors were on the cold hard ground- the once missing Quackerjack standing over their bodies with a broken leg from a bedpost.
"Ya know, " the demented duck laughed, grin stretching across his face in dangerous glee, "I do so like it when people play rough."
"I'll, uh, remember that..." Megavolt mumbled, warily, as he stared at the unconscious guards lying at his feet. He wasn't sure if he should be impressed or concerned, so he settled on both. "Thanks."
Megavolt stepped over the men on the floor, as if they were nothing more than discarded trash.
"So, did you find the breaker box?" The electrical villain asked, following Quackerjack as he began strolling away into the darkness.
"Yes. Y'know, it's funny; I found it, then realized I was all out of volt to jolt it with!"
Megavolt caught the mildly accusing sarcasm in his tone, and glared. The glare did nothing in the dark, but he did it anyway.
"Yeah, well, you wouldn't have been, if you hadn't left me stumbling around in the dark with those monsters!"
"Oh, stop being such a worry wart. Like I was REALLY just gonna leave ya. What fun would it be if I broke outta here on my own?" Quackerjack paused to sigh dramatically as he leaned on his glowering pal. "If I left you here I'd be back to playing all by myself again. Just me, myself, and I. Where's the fun in that?"
The rodent found his glare slipping some as he eyed his cellmate on his shoulder, finding himself oddly touched by the sentiment.
"You… really mean that?"
Quackerjack nodded his head vigorously, the bells on the end of his hat jingling just as violently.
"Sure do, pal-a-reeno! Cross my heart, and all that jazz." After quickly miming a giant x over Megavolt's chest, Quackerjack finished the gesture by roughly poking the rodent in the nose. Before the assaulted villain could get angry again, the demented duck was already running on ahead.
"Now come ON, Sparky, we gotta prison to fry!"
"I told you not to call me that!" Megavolt hissed, but was too preoccupied with not losing track of Quackerjack again to get too worked up over it.
When they got close enough, however, he didn't need to worry about it; he could once again sense the currents, and they brought him to life. Megavolt stood in front of the dull grey metal box, rubbing his hands together. The tips of his fingers sparked, lighting up the darkness in quick, blue-tinted bursts, revealing the malicious smile on his face.
"So, we finally meet."
Up stairs, fire alarms squawked their last cry, a split second before the lights went out- throwing the prison into blackness.
However, when the two convicts bolted up the stairs and threw open the basement door, it was not darkness they were met with. The lights were on, albeit dimmer than usual. A low, steady hum filled the building. Quackerjack was the first to speak up as his hat drooped with the rest of him in confusion.
"WELL…. that most certainly was NOT a part of the plan. I thought cutting off the power would make this place darker than sack of Santa's coal at Christmas." Pouting, the duck turned to his partner in crime as as he whined. "Megavoooolt, why didn't it wooooork?"
Megavolt had been wondering the same thing, before his eyes opened widely in realization. He laughed as he hit himself on the forehead at how simple the answer was.
"Duh, of course! Back-up generators! Places like this usually HAVE those. If it was a bug it woulda bit me." The rodent's laughing was cut off as he hummed to himself in thought- rubbing his chin. "Gee, wonder why we didn't think of that?"
"Think we should just run for it?" Quackerjack asked, just as calmly and thoughtfully.
"Yeah, sure. Seems like the best plan, really."
There was a pause before the two began screaming madly, as they ran as fast as they could back to their cell- where freedom awaited them.
Soon, they were slipping through the window of their cell- which is what they should have done in the first place, Megavolt thought- and racing away from the hulking prison. The alarms didn't sound, and the search lights seemed to be out of commission, so perhaps their little trip down to the basement hadn't been for nothing, after all.
Before long, they were both chuckling and giggling as they ran. Megavolt couldn't remember the last time he had this much fun! Then again, he couldn't remember a whole lot of anything. Still, they ran, they laughed, and when they heard the dogs barking in the distance, they laughed even harder.
Out of breath, but safe, the two choked out even more cackling laughter as they sat atop a tall building in the middle of the city.
"Well, that was fun." Megavolt concluded. "...What now?"
"Anything we want, Megsy!" Quackerjack draped an arm over the villain next to him, as he used his free hand to wave at the city below them- showcasing the nightlife. "Saint Canard is our playground, our oyster. We're free to play how we want, when we want!"
Megavolt found himself nearly toppling off the roof when the jester jumped to his feet- stretching his arms to the heavens as he laughed to himself. Megavolt watched him for a while before clearing his throat, getting the attention of the duck next to him.
"Soooo… like going to see a movie or something?" The electric villain asked innocently, never having done that with somebody before. Quackerjack scoffed, plopping back down next to his short-circuited pal as he patted him on the back.
"Boy, how long did they keep you cooped up in that place?" He chuckled. "Where's the imagination in 'going to the movies'? We're talking BIG, Megavolt- BIG!"
Quackerjack leaned in closer, eyes half lidded as they sparkled with childish mischievousness.
"Now think again: if you could do anything, and I mean aaaaaanyyyything… what wouldja wanna do? First thought- GO!"
"Uh-" Oh, put on the spot. The actual first thing on his mind had been going home and telling his friends about the adventure he had just experienced, but he skipped over that and searched frantically for a suitable answer. What did friends usually do together?
"Go... bowling!" He replied, triumphantly. His smile disappeared when he saw Quackerjack roll his eyes, and shake his head.
"With, uh... marmalade...?" He tried, watching his friend carefully for a sign he was on the right track. He was encouraged when Quackerjack smirked and raised a brow. "And, uh, a pack of wild panthers!" he blurted.
"HA! There we go, that's more like it! I knew you had a spark of imagination in there SOMEWHERE. Though…" Quackerjack paused as he thought over the plan. "Yeah yeah, it's there- I can see it now! It'll be a jubilee- a playtime galore! We'll get hyped up on sugar, play some games, all while playing dressup!"
While dressup wasn't exactly his thing, despite Megavolt's usual attire, he did admit it DID sound fun. Another train of thought, however, wiped the smile off his own face as he glared.
"Yeah? And then the next thing you know, ol' Darkwing Dolt will swoop in there and just ruin everything- sending us back to prison just where we started." Megavolt, now feeling down in the dumps when he was actually looking forward for a night out, deflated into his palms as he grumbled. "You'd think that overworked crime-fighting nut could just take a day off or somethin'."
"Well," Quackerjack began, stretching out the remark, "why don't we just make him?"
"And how the heck do you suppose we go and do that, huh? That guy's wound up so tight he doesn't even have anymore coil left to snap with. I don't think he even knows the meaning of a vacation."
The criminal clown beamed wider.
"Vacation, no. But you're right on the money about being one neck turn away from being a broken toy, hehe! If HE can't take a chill pill, I say we make him. Force it down his throat, if we have to! Better yet, we'll do to everybody!"
Megavolt rolled his eyes.
"You want to force people to take prescription drugs?"
"No, I don't want to force people to take prescription drugs." Quackerjack mocked back. "I want to make people so loosey goosey- without a care in the world- that we can play however we want without any fuddy duddies getting in our way! Think about it, we'll relax the city into submission!"
Megavolt stared back, blankly.
"I'm not following." he admitted. He wasn't about to give every person in St. Canard a massage and a foot rub.
"Uhhg... listen, Megavolt-" Quackerjack placed his hands on his pal's shoulders, and gave his a brisk shake, " the way I see it, with your electronic know-how, and my toy and weapon expertise, we could build anything! We would be unstoppable; think of the possibilities!"
"Oohhh..." Build? Now Megavolt was starting to understand. Not only did he understand, but he liked where this was going! He had never built anything like that before... "Yeah, that could be fun! Of course, we'll need supplies, a base of operations..."
"Check and check- I got hideouts all over this dumb city- and one of them is a warehouse full of all kinds of goodies from back when my precious company was up and running." A pause as the duck considered their options. "Though, I DO also have some stuff stuffed away in the sewers that might work too..."
"Are you crazy," he blurted out wildly, pointing at his face. "With a schnoz like this? My sinuses would rebel the moment I stepped foot in the joint!"
Quackerjack playfully squeezed the rodent's nose, verbally honking it before jumping back to his feet.
"Then it's settled then- Quackerjack Toys it is!" Megavolt merely glared up at him as he rubbed his sore nose. The toymaker ignored it as he went on. "Ooooooh, trust me Megsy- I promise you'll have more fun than you ever had before. Double that, even! This rinky dink of a town won't know what hit them!"
Megavolt had to admit… that DID sound promising.
Chapter 3: Ignoring the Issue
Megavolt had been entirely wrong- it had not been promising at all.
Well, that hadn't been entirely true: it at least didn't start out completely terrible. While the electrical villain could admit to remembering enjoying himself- though if you interrogated him and asked exactly what had occurred he would have been left in the dark- the appeal had completely been lost by the smell of rotting garbage just feet away from his sensitive nose. Megavolt growled, sticking his cleaning-issued pole into what looked to be a moldy newspaper- secretly imagining it was the beaming face of the troublemaker that put him back in his orange jumpsuit.
"'Let's zap everyone in the city,' you said." Another stab. " 'Let's dress up like pirates,' you said."
Quackerjack wasn't pleased with being stuck back in the no-fun zone, either, but his anger tended to be less explosive, and more passive-aggressive.
"Hey, why don't you just relax... Sparky." Quackerjack sneered, over his shoulder. He knew that would do nothing to cool his former cellmate off, and he didn't care. Megavolt had the nerve to act like it was all his fault they had ended up back here!
"Don't call me Sparky! And I am relaxed! I! Am! Relaxed!"
Whoa, okay, Quackerjack hadn't expected that level of anger. The electrical nutjob screamed wordlessly once, before stomping off toward the other side of their designated cleaning area.
"And don't talk to me!"
Well THAT certainly was rude! Quackerjack scoffed at his partner-in-crime as the toymaker was left to deal with his own little pile of trash. He was beginning to think it was the city's cleaning crew that had poured all the garbage out on the park lawn, just to give him and his fellow criminals the menial busy-work. Normal people don't miss the trash-can when it's just inches away.
'And they call ME crazy.' Quackerjack mused to himself, a smile on his face as he closed his eyes and thrust his spear into the ground- just narrowly missing his foot. He re-opened them in startlement when he heard something squishy, looking down at the newspaper pile and putting what he captured to his face.
"Well hello, what do we have HERE?"
The crazed villain couldn't help but laugh at the irony of what he saw- a half eaten banana stuck to the paper like an unwanted shishkabob. Quackerjack held onto his head as he tried to control his mirth.
"OH, oh, now THIS is just icing on my smelly garbage cake!" His laughter turned to giggles as he tried to sober up- giving a false glare to the trash as he went on to accuse it. "You know, you're what put me here in the first place. We wouldn't be down in the dumps if you hadn't given Megavolt his spark back."
Quackerjack sighed, momentarily throwing a look over his shoulder as he saw said villain keeping as far away as their jailers would allow. He turned back to his banana friend, vaguely thinking he would look better with little shoes on.
"He doesn't really mean it, ya know." He whispered to the trash. "Megsy is just a little charged up right now. Heh." Quackerjack waved off his joke. This was serious, after all. " He'll forget all about it later, like always, and then we'll go back to having all SORTS of fun again. TRUST me!"
The rotten banana didn't reply, and that was just as well. Into the garbage bag it went. Soon after that, the small crew of baddies were gathered up, and herded back inside, to their cells.
Unfortunately, the little guy in charge of the place had learned their lesson, and Megavolt and Quackerjack were no longer cellmates. Fortunately, Waddlesworth wasn't so great with logic, and now the villainous duo were in cells across from each other, instead.
Megavolt sat on his bottom bunk, slumped over, glaring at the floor and mumbling to himself. Across the narrow walkway, Quackerjack stood, pressed against the door, hands curled around the metal bars.
"Pssst! Megavolt!" Quackerjack hissed. He frowned when his partner-in-crime didn't even look up, or pause in his mutterings. Was he being ignored? Still?
"Megavolt? Really, now. You act like this whole thing is entirely my fault! When you were the one who-"
Megavolt swung his feet up onto the bed, laying down and rolling over. Quackerjack glared and huffed- at least now he knew the old fizzled out spark plug hadn't gone deaf.
"And they say I'M childish!"
Still nothing. Alright, maybe aggravating the guy wasn't the way to go. While it most certainly wasn't HIS fault Megavolt was so sensitive, the toymaker was never going to get what he wanted unless he played by different rules. With the REAL Banana Brains back in his possession, Quackerjack pulled him out of his pocket as he decided to have a thing with his TRUE best buddy.
"Not much for words is he, Lee?"
"No, I'm afraid not," Quackerjack peeked from the corner of his eye to see if the rodent was paying attention to their meeting- that would have been a big fat 'no'. "But, I don't suppose I blame him. It's not REALLY his fault this happened, you know."
"It's not?" Mr. Banana Brain's high pitched voiced mimicked the confusion Quackerjack wanted as he carried on. "Then who's t'blame?"
"It was that no good DARKWING DUCK that took the last cookie from the cookie jar!" A finger was thrust in the air as he walked around his cell, pretending he was making his case in front of a judge- not the first time he had made the speech, either. "Really, we were just innocently having fun, your honor. Just poor souls that were locked up and needing a little breather. A night to paint the town red and blue- was that too much to ask?"
He peeked over at the other cell again, smiling as he caught movement- hopefully the old light bulb was at least listening now.
"Why, it was *I* who noticed Megavolt was looking a little runned down- like a sad non-recycled battery in need of a little TLC:teeters, laughs, and chortles. It was my job, no, DUTY to take out my new pal for some fun!"
Banana Brains sobbed.
"Oooooh that's so SAD, Brad!"
Quackerjack sighed back just as dramatically.
"Darkwing's spoiled-sportiness shouldn't be what ruins a good thing. Now I ask you, the people of the jury, the protectors of friendship… Don't you think I, practically a good Samaritan, deserve to at LEAST be heard out. Huh? Even a little? What say you?"
The defense's hopes were raised as Megavolt flipped himself over, and actually managed to sit back up. Quackerjack was on his toes from anticipation as he bounced, waiting to hear what the rodent had to say.
He instantly deflated when all he got was a 'GUILTY'.
When Megavolt reclined again, and turned back over, rage boiled up within the crazed toymaker.
"OH the cold shoulder, is it? Well, TWO can play THAT game!"
Megavolt scoffed and rolled his eyes; boy, this guy threw more tantrums than a spoiled little kid.
"I INVENTED THE SILENT TREATMENT GAME, MEGAVOLT! You hear me? I INVENTED IT!" Quackerjack bellowed, and the sound of tearing fabric actually had Megavolt curious enough to peek over his shoulder.
The wacko-whom he was glad he no longer shared a cell with- had his pillow in his big teeth, shaking it from side to side like a dog might do to its favorite toy. Megavolt quickly turned back away before he was noticed, and the sounds of ripping fabric gave way to banging and clanging, and the brain-fried rodent shuddered as he listened to the sound of a true maniac tearing apart his own bed with his bare hands.
Quackerjack had a way of making him feel sane, which, if Megavolt admitted it, truly scared him.
Days in solitary confinement seemed to be enough to give the clown a new outlook as he was introduced back to the prisoners- just as happy as normal and acting as if nothing had ever happened. Time locked up had given him the opportunity to entertain himself, as he was always up for guessing who had been in there before him just from the stench of body odour. (It had been Jambalaya Jake, if anybody else had been curious and in need to know. It was hard to hide away from feet that smelled like gator stew, after all.)
Back on the outside Quackerjack was escorted back to his cell, given crayons and paper on the promise of good behavior, as he scrawled out a sign with childish glee.
It didn't even bother him when his fuddy-duddy neighbor ignored his paper airplane of 'iM sOrRy'.
It was a Tuesday when the disturbed duck was allowed into the courtyard- just almost a week since being thrown back into jail. A new day, bright and sunny- just teeming with hope and possibilities. Quackerjack smiled when he spotted his favorite chum sitting on the bleachers, grumpy and glaring as a certain Dr. Bushroot sat next to the rodent almost as glum. Mischief sparkled in the jester's eyes as an idea came to mind.
Quickly, silently, and almost gracefully, Quackerjack sidled up to Bushroot on the bleachers. The plant-duck squeaked quietly and leaned away from him out of reflex when he noticed, but Megavolt didn't even acknowledge his presence.
"Soooo, buddy-ol'-pal of mine..." Quackerjack began. Megavolt grunted.
"I'm still not speaking to you."
"And I wasn't speaking to you, bulb brain. I was talking to my new pal, Bushroot!"
Suddenly feeling less like he was in the way than he had a second ago, Bushroot gaped at Quackerjack, pointing a leafy hand at himself.
"Him?" Megavolt exclaimed, incredulously, finally giving in and looking at Quackerjack. The jester couldn't help but smirk; it was working already!
"Of course him!" Quackerjack spoke more to the electrical villain than the plant-duck next to him, patting the mutant doctor on the back. "Why, we met just this morning, didn't we Bushy?"
Bushroot looked hesitant.
"Uh, well, sorta. I DID accidentally bump into you at breakfast and said 'sorry'."
"SEE," the toymaker exclaimed, "we're already speaking the same language!"
Bushroot fumbled, looking uncomfortable as he threw glances between the two villains- trying to explain the situation as Megavolt stared at the two.
"But, I, he… but didn't you get mad and-"
"Now DOCTOR- M.D or PhD, by the way?" The plant-duck didn't get to answer as Quackerjack went on- talking faster than the mutant could piece together. "Nevermind, we're cutting hedges here- are you REALLY going to argue with your NEWEST best friend? And just when I thought we were getting along so well!"
Bushroot's jaw hung low in astonishment as he tried to understand what was going on- the demented toymaker next to him playing with his purple petals and getting dangerously close to his filaments. A green blush of discomfort tinting his face, Bushroot went on.
"I… I… did you just say 'best friend'?"
"I did say that!" Quackerjack chuckled, giddily, and threw another arm around his new green pal, and pulling him in close. The grin that Bushroot wore looked mildly forced, and didn't quite match the rest of his expression, which read as uncomfortable.
"So, whaddya say, Bushroot, buddy, pal, compadre? In the market for a new best friend, hmmm?"
"Oh, uh, heh heh, the affectionate type, huh? Well uh, I don't know! I mean, that is to say, I, I've never had a best friend before, so I um, I mean, this isn't a no! Oh geez," he had to look away as he forced a breath, " can I have some time to think about this? It's just so sudden!"
About half way through Bushroot's awkward stuttering and fumbling, his voice receded into the background of Quackerjack's world; becoming nothing more than the distant buzzing of a fly. Quackerjack's attention was on Megavolt, as the electrical villain stood up from the bleachers and left. The duck gritted his teeth as the one he really wanted to notice him didn't even act spurned in the slightest. He let go of the lyceum nycanthropus as he jumped to his feet, pulling on the dangling edges of his jester hat as Bushroot shrunk away in fear- falling off the benches as Quackerjack had his tantrum.
"How could he- AND HE JUST UPED AND EVERYTHING! He's not playing faaaaaaair!" Quackerjack whipped his head towards Bushroot as he pointed at him threateningly. "This is all YOUR fault, melonhead. He was nearly silly putty in my hands until YOU went and RUINED it!"
Before Bushroot could apologize, the crazed toymaker stomped away- deciding he was chatting-up the wrong kind of filaments for his plan to work. The plant-duck blinked his blue eyes in bewilderment as he crawled out from his hiding place, staring at the friendship that came and went too fast for him to even comprehend it.
"Oh, uh, gee… was it something I said?"
Being stuck in prison was pretty bad, but being stuck in prison while staying angry the whole time was downright exhausting. Especially when that anger had a tendency of flip-flopping back and forth to mild hurt and sadness every now and then.
Megavolt sat on the cold floor, his back up against the bars of his cell. He could feel Quackerjack staring at him, and it wasn't helping the situation at all. Neither did the unnatural silence, heavy and foreboding. He was actually relieved when Quackerjack broke it.
"Megavolt, I'm sorry." He mumbled.
"Yeah, I know." Megavolt mumbled back, tossing a crumpled up paper ball over his shoulder. It sailed across the hall, and bounced off of Quackerjack's bill. He didn't need to pick it up to know it was his apology note from the day before.
"Well, what more do you want me to say, then! That it was my fault?"
Megavolt shrugged his shoulders against the cell door.
"It's a start. Honestly I don't remember what you did, but it must have been something big!"
"You don't-" This had Quackerjack laughing, but what didn't? "You don't even remember! Oh! Oh that's rich! Well, Megsy, let me clue you in."
Megavolt jolted- thankfully not in the literal sense- when a hand slipped through the bars to set on his shoulder. He spun around and stared at Quackerjack, who was crouched on the other side of the bars. Quackerjack's own cell door stood ajar behind him.
"What... how did... huh?"
"Oh, that?" The duck waved behind him, then stuck his hand in his pocket and took out a rectangular pack.
"Quackerjack brand exploding gum. Does wonders on those pesky locks and the fight against germs, haha! Want one?"
Megavolt, feeling more angry than tired for the first time in at least a day, sprang to his feet.
"You mean you had that stuff this whole time, AND YOU DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING?!"
"You weren't speaking to me, remember?" Quackerjack's cool gaze brightened as he smiled again- knowing he got what he wanted out of his buddy. He certainly wasn't playing dumb now. "But that's another story! Booooring, you don't want THOSE details. You wanted to know what happened!"
Megavolt raised a brow.
"Yeeeah… I think?"
"You did! WELL, let your old Uncle Quacky give ya the abridged version."
The rodent grew antsy, fearing somebody could be coming any moment to see the two of them together- and close to breaking loose. Quackerjack acted like he had no care in the world, and it was most likely true.
"You forgot the name of the game, Megsy! You keep focusing on the fact 'he that flaps in the night' came and spoiled our fun. But he ALWAYS does that! That's the rule of the game, ya dolt. You've been playing for ages, you should KNOW better!"
Before Megavolt could get offended, the toymaker carried on.
"You enjoyed yourself, didn't you? You can at least remember THAT, right?"
He did. He remembered fear, he remembered physical pain, but above all else, he remembered enjoying himself. He also remembered a feeling of kinship; one that differed from the one he felt for his electronic brethren. He remembered friendship, and before his inner monologue could turn into some sappy after school special, Megavolt nodded slowly.
"Yeah... we did make a pretty good team." Alright, he was convinced. "Truce?"
Quackerjack ignored the hand that was offered for shaking, and instead shoved his arms through the bars to give Megavolt a big hug.
"Ouch." Megavolt complained, as his nose was squished against the bars; but he didn't struggle away from the embrace. Quackerjack released him.
"Whoopsie! Let's get you out of here, huh?"
"Yeah, well, you might wanna hurry up with that." Megavolt replied, rubbing his sore nose and eyeing the shadows of the guards about to round the corner. He was surprised when he heard a click of his cell door, and jerked back at how silent the gummy explosion was.
"For somebody that doesn't like interrogating," Quackerjack whispered, "you sure like giving the third degree!"
Megavolt's reply would have to be cut off as the jail rattled and shook, a true and big burst came directly from behind the mad mallard's cell. Alarms blared, voices shouted, and Quackerjack just looked at the hole from where his window used to be- moonlight pouring into the now darkened corridor.
Megavolt screamed, more so he could hear himself talk over the buzzing of his skull.
"KINDA CONSPICUOUS, DONCHA THINK?!"
"IT'S OKAY, " Quackerjack yelled back, dragging his pal towards the hole- giddy and just about ready to throw them both out the window. "IT'S THE WAY MR. BANANA BRAINS WOULDA WANTED IT."
The electric villain gasped, despite the urgency.
"POOF!" The toymaker mimicked an explosion, hands helping with gestures. "BUT THAT'S OKAY, HE HAS A BROTHER!"
"Well, as long as he had a brother…" Megavolt's mumbling went unnoticed as he smiled, grabbing his large nose before jumping down the small way to freedom.
Quackerjack couldn't have been happier as he followed suit, happy to have his playmate back. And if you couldn't beat them…. join them.
Chapter 4: Change of Plans
Megavolt wasn't one for pressure. It gave him vague impressions of feeling like everything depended on that one moment, and if he didn't succeed then he would never get into some prestige college and his life would be ruined. He… didn't quite know WHERE it came from, or why, but Megavolt knew well enough that it made him feel like crud- SO NEVER AGAIN would he allow himself to do anything that wasn't at his own pace.
Unfortunately for him, that luxury had been taken from him when Negaduck had burst into his lighthouse- chainsaw blaring- as he demanded the electrical rodent meet him the next ten minutes at the docks.
"I, but… DOCKS? Are you MAD?" Megavolt exclaimed, despite the fact the chainsaw was just inches from his face and was growling at him like a dog ready to attack. "I don't know what you want, but I'm smart enough to know me and water DON'T mix!"
"Oh, really." Negaduck growled. Megavolt had to lean back to avoid getting his nose removed when the chainsaw was shoved closer to his face.
"Perhaps you would mix better with your organs liquified?"
Megavolt eyed the instrument of doom inches from his face, and swallowed the lump in his throat.
"Eh, heh heh. Is this a formal event, or casual?" He squeaked. The chainsaw quieted, and the mad genius found he could breath again. He watched as Negaduck started toward the door to leave.
"Just be there. Oh..." The caped mallard reached the door, opened it, and glanced back over his shoulder. "and come alone. Or else."
Before Megavolt could reply, the door slammed shut so hard, a box of clutter toppled off the stack, scattering its contents across the floor. Luckily it was only his tools that he had gotten out earlier for… something. Huh, now that he thought of it, he couldn't remember why. It was something he had been looking forward to just moments before, but with the threat of chainsaw-related death looming over him it was put onto the back burners of his mind- and would most likely be forgotten for good.
Megavolt threw a glance over his shoulder, where a large clock sat not far from his work bench. He yelped, seeing that he only had eight minutes left.
"Geeze, I gotta get outta here before my goose is cooked!"
And knowing Negaduck, he probably wouldn't be against such devious activities.
Rushing out of the lighthouse as fast as his legs could carry him, Megavolt made a mad dash to his car. He didn't have time to appreciate the beauty of it purring and coming to life as he stomped on the pedal- the tires screeching as he drove off into the distance.
If Megavolt had bothered to look behind him before he left, he would have noticed a figure had been watching him from the shadows- not in the very least pleased.
Six and a half minutes later, at the docks, brakes squealed as Megavolt just avoided giving his car a wash in the bay. A frazzled Megavolt leapt out of the driver's seat, and looked around, frantically. The docks were... oddly silent and deserted. He scratched his head and gazed out at the bay, which was also mostly deserted, save for the setting sun and a couple of seagulls.
"Was I just stood up? ... By Negaduck?" He asked an old docked rowboat. It smelled like fish, but it didn't answer him. He was more bewildered than offended; that really didn't seem like a very Negaduck thing to do. It was rude, sure, but evil? Not in the slightest.
It was then that he noticed the old, dilapidated, fish cannery shack. It stood dark and unassuming in the growing gloom, the perfect place for a villainous meet up, Megavolt decided. He shrugged.
"Huh. Guess the party's in there." He mumbled, and made haste toward it. He hoped his dawdling wasn't going to cost him an arm and a leg- or worse.
Megavolt cried out in alarm as exactly what he feared happened, and his leg was suddenly attacked by a great force. He nearly stumbled as his leg whined in a high pitched moan.
"Megavoooolt, you traitor! You fiend!"
"Q-Quackerjack?!" Confusion turned to anger as the electrical villain glared down at his leg, where an unwanted toymaker had latched onto him. "What are YOU doing here? Were you stalking me again?!"
While it was true this wasn't the first time Quackerjack had made it a game to follow around his crazed companion over the past four months of their friendship, it was- however- the first time he had tackled the rodent to stop him from doing what he needed to do. Megavolt tried slipping his boot out of the grip, but the jester only pouted more as he accompanied it with a glare.
"I was most certainly NOT! Not not not! YOU were the one that abandoned ME! "
"Abandoned?" Megavolt raised a brow, and scanned the barren shelves of his memory banks. Thankfully, things his mind got charged up over tended not to be thrown out so quickly- the prongs on his helmet sparked as he remembered.
"D'oh!" He smacked his own forehead. "The timetop! I knew I had plans tonight!"
His leg was released as Quackerjack sprung up, still scowling, eyes sorrowful. Whether the sorrow was genuine, Megavolt could never tell.
"Megavolt, how could you forget something like that? I know you're brain fried, but this was important!"
Megavolt sighed. "Right, well, I'll have to take a raincheck on that. Sorry, Quacky, but if I don't get in there soon, Negaduck's gonna turn me into chopped liver!"
"Quackerjack, I'll be right back, okay? Just stay here..." Megavolt slowly began backing up toward the shack, keeping a close eye on his clowny companion. Quackerjack, by this point, looked like a kicked puppy, the tails of his hat deflated and limp against a pouting bill.
"Gooood, just stay right there..." It seemed that Quackerjack slumped more with every step back he took. If he hadn't been so terrified of what Negaduck was going to do to him, it may have been mildly heartbreaking. He kept this up until he reached the door. Finally, convinced Quackerjack was going to stay put, he turned, opened the door, and entered the building.
The smell of fish was overwhelming. Megavolt threw a gloved hand over his nose to try filtering out the stomach wrenching smell. Shafts of moonlight streamed down through multiple holes in the roof, while most of the place was shrouded in shadows. The place seemed empty, and yet he could swear he felt like he was being watched.
"PE-yew! This is what you ditched me for? You don't even LIKE fish!"
Megavolt spun around so fast he would later have to worry about whiplash. Standing right behind him was the insane clown he had left outside. Megavolt growled- sparking dangerously and giving off the most light in the room.
"I thought I told you to stay outside!"
"But it was booooring out there, " Quackerjack whined, "and you never DID say what you were here for, anyhow."
Megavolt placed a hand on his buddy's shoulders as he spun him around and began pushing him towards the entrance. In a harsh whisper he explained as best as he could.
"LOOK, I'll tell ya later, okay? If you don't get outta here you'll be a dead duck and I'll be-"
An ominous voice interrupted from the shadows.
"LATE, Megavolt." Negaduck stepped out from the darkness, where a nervous Bushroot and a curious Liquidator followed. The latter remained silent as the red fedora wearing villain sneered. "What, forget to leave the ball and chain at home? I THOUGHT I said to come alone, and you're one knob too many!"
"Negaduck?" Quackerjack hissed over his shoulder. "You've been... cavorting with Negaduck? THE Negaduck?" The jester wasn't sure if he should be jealous, or worried for his pal's poor life choices.
"Yeah, well, he was just leaving!" Megavolt gave Quackerjack another insistent shove toward the door. "Weren't you?" he urged, through clenched teeth.
It was a little spooky how quickly and silently Negaduck managed to slip between them and the only exit. They both froze and cowered slightly as the menacing mallard stepped toward them.
"Luckily for you two," A hand shot out, grabbing Quackerjack by the front of his shirt, and yanking him forward until he was eye-to-eye with Negaduck. "I know how you morons operate! Quackerjack shows up to the party, even when he isn't invited. ESPECIALLY when he isn't invited."
The worry in the jester's face evaporated as he too put two and two together. He smiled widely.
"So I WAS invited!"
Negaduck dropped him- Quackerjack fell directly onto his grinning mug.
"THIS time, and it better be the last you EVER go against my word again- GOT it, CHUCKLES?"
A glare was thrown at the demented duo, who both nodded their heads vigorously. Good, maybe now they knew who was in charge. Negaduck began to circle the four, like a shark out for blood, as he eyed the lot he had called to his hideout.
"NOW, who knows why I called you here?"
It was the bubbly and energetic water salesman that piped in first.
"Heroes keeping you down? Needing an extra edge to keep your competition at bay? Look no further than Saint Canard's own villain gallery!"
"Right you are, puddle brains! And, unless I'm mistaken- and let's be honest, I rarely am- you four already have a... history... with each other. Right?"
The word "history" had been said in a way that conveyed displeasure, maybe even a hint of disgust. The four villains exchanged looks, and a collection of "Um"s and "erm"s and a few "well"s was his answer.
"Megavolt and me know each other." Quackerjack slung an arm around Megavolt's shoulders. "Two bananas in a double sundae!"
"Yeah!" Megavolt agreed, nodding, as if that bit of information may save their lives. "Real pals."
Negaduck rolled his eyes. "Obviously. And what about you two?"
Bushroot looked shyly up at the canine next to him, as he threw a leafy thumb towards his direction.
"We haven't been formally introduced, Mr. Negaduck, sir." Seeing that his answer didn't please the meeting's ringleader, he stiffened his stem-like spine as he switched up and pointed at the buddies across from him instead. "But I know these guys, honest!"
While Megavolt tried to remember if that was true- only sort of remembering being angry at the lyceum nycanthropus- Negaduck scoffed.
"Geeze... how much of a shut-in ARE you guys?"
"Uh... we're mutants?" Bushroot blinked a few times before becoming embarrassed. " I... sorta don't get out much. Sorry."
"Not to worry, though," Liquidator splashed his way back into the conversation, all smiles as he slapped a friendly hand onto the wallflower next to him. "Five out of five botanists agree: water and plants were MADE for each other. And that's a hundred percent Liquidator guarantee!"
While initially startled by the sudden intrusion on his personal space, Bushroot found that being backed by a team of super powered pals gave him more courage than he was used to.
"Yeah! You can count on us, Lord Negaduck, sir!" Bushroot had puffed out his chest in a show of bravery, but it didn't last long. "... Uh, what exactly are we doing, again?"
"Oh, a little of this, a little of that. Not everyone is worthy enough to be under my tutelage, you know? So! Who's ready to submit to my every beck and call, hm?"
Negaduck snarled when his group of lackies exchanged more looks and mumbled uncertainly. Did they seriously still think they had a choice, here? His trusty chainsaw came out then, to aid them in the correct decision.
"I SAID," he roared over the chainsaw. "WHO'S READY TO DO WHATEVER THE HECK I TELL THEM TO DO?!"
"Sounds like fun," chipped in Quackerjack.
"Uplifting." hummed Liquidator.
"Works for me," echoed Megavolt.
"I'm free for Tuesday's," the silence that followed Bushroot was quickly filled as he continued to bargain. "or, ya know, I'll clear my schedule."
Negaduck nodded, turning off his chainsaw as he leaned against it for support, smugly grinning at the four.
"GOOD, cooperation goes far when you're working for me." His smile slipped as he became deadly serious. "However, don't get comfortable. I'm seeing this as a trial run, here. I want to see how you losers work together, and whether you're even worth my time. I want the best of the best, and while you're all a bunch of fumbling idiots-" This was uttered loud enough to make the four flinch. " You guys got… potential."
This was met with a jumble of flattered replies, but that was cut short with another simple rev from the chainsaw.
"SHADDAP! ... Gooood. Now, for starters, here's what I was thinking..."
"You know, when Negaduck said he had a big, important job for us, this isn't exactly what I had in mind." Bushroot lamented, as he dropped another of Negaduck's undershirts into the dryer.
Just then, the washing machine door not far away popped open, the water spilling out all over the floor. The water quickly reformed itself and stood up, understandably dizzy.
"You've got it easy! Remind me again why this is necessary? The Liquidator is NOT spin-cycle friendly!"
"Sorry." Bushroot apologized, stepping past his watery pal to retrieve the next load. "Water costs extra here."
"Yeah, we're not made of money, Drippy!" Quackerjack retorted, playfully, plopping a basket full of freshly dried laundry on the floor, before falling backwards into the warm pile. He pulled out a pair of Negaduck's underwear from under his head, and waved them around.
"Ohh, skulls, fancy!" He laughed.
"I'm not touching those." Megavolt grumbled, as he folded another shirt. "When does he even WEAR shorts?"
"Now now, it's not nice to think about other's mentioned unmentionables." He stretched the elastic on the band multiple times. "Springy! My tap pants aren't NEARLY as fun to play with!"
"Nobody wants to hear about your drawers, Quacky."
"Yeah," Bushroot muttered, putting his hands on his trunk-like hips as he was busy sporting a polkadot headband around his petals. "And would ya mind not stretching out Negaduck's clothes so much? I don't know about you guys, but I don't want to be the one to tell him we broke his underwear."
"Who broke WHAT now?"
The three not currently busy being the laundry water spun around to face the entrance of the room where Negaduck was lurking. It had been the first time their newfound leader had stopped by the factory in days, usually just communicating by notes stabbed into the walls as a reminder that he was still around- watching. Negaduck stomped his way into the room, half hunched menacingly as he eyed what the knobs had been up to.
"Not bad," he said, after snatching his boxers from Quackerjack's mitts. "Rough, scratchy- just the way I like it."
"N-nothing but the best for you, Negaduck!" Bushroot stuttered. Being in the presence of the guy made him shake like a leaf, even still. He yelped when Negaduck scowled and stomped toward him, swiping the polkadot bandana off his head. He balled it up and tossed it in the trash, and Bushroot slumped.
"Now hurry up and finish, because next I've got a real crime lined up! If you bozos think you can handle it."
Negaduck didn't wait for them to answer; he just left.
"A real crime? Now that's more like it!" Megavolt sparked in excitement. Folding clothes wasn't exactly his idea of a Saturday well spent. Or was it Wednesday? Either way, it had been days of the four of them doing simple activities: stealing candy from babies, walking across the street without looking both ways, cutting in line- all c-list acts of inconvenience than anything else. Why, so far they weren't even on Dipwing Dolt's radar from their crimes- and that was saying something!
It was when Negaduck started making them do his housework that Megavolt had suspected the guy had ulterior motives. With the last of the laundry done, the criminals wearily made their way into the other room- where Negaduck waited.
"Alright, clowns, so you all passed the first test. Now that I know you're all pattsies that'll stoop low enough to do chores all day, I think I'm willing to give you guys a REAL challenge." The leader paused. "So what do you knobs know about SHUSH?"
"Looking for high quality products?" Liquidator inquired," wanting the government's best secret agents at your beck and call 24/7? SHUSH- it's where it's at!" The water canine's bubbliness deflated some as he continued. "Warning: experience with staff may vary."
"Right again, Liquidator!" Negaduck crooned. Despite his crooning sounding more like a sarcastic growl, The Liquidator smiled at being called by his actual name for once.
"This..." The caped mallard pulled out a piece of paper, one of its edges had a jagged tear down the side, as if it had been hastily torn from a book or magazine. He held it up for the four to see, and pointed at it. "is SHUSH's newest little invention. It's shiny, it's sharp, and most importantly, I want it!"
It only took a few seconds for the implications to hit them.
"Wait, y-you want us to break into SHUSH?" Bushroot stammered. "A heavily guarded, high surveillance building, teeming with cops, security guards, and really mean secretaries?"
"That's the plan. Is there a PROBLEM with that, Bushroot?"
Before the plant duck could respond that it was most certainly not a problem, it was Megavolt who spoke up and complained.
"It is if you don't want to get your kiester kicked back behind bars." And the mad genius had enough prison fun for a while. "How would you even expect us to get IN there? That place has gizmos and gadgets even I've never heard of!"
"Aww, come on Megavolt," the toymaker next to him cooed- getting close enough to be touching cheek to cheek. "Doesn't it sound a LITTLE fun? Think of all the toys inside! Think of how aaaaall alone they are without their big strong hero to liberate them, huh?"
Liquidator, seeing a tough sale, also jumped in.
"Not to mention looks good on your resume'!"
Megavolt's frown intensified as he was beginning to get paranoid, eyes cautiously watching the watery appendage.
"Would you two LET GO ALREADY?!"
Quackerjack and Liquidator abruptly let go and stepped away when Megavolt began sparking.
"Fine! I'll go along with your cockamamie plan." He folded his arms, and mumbled, "But I'm doing it for the cool gadgets who need a better home."
As the other three took turns patting Megavolt on the back for having him back aboard, Negaduck turned around, picking his teeth with a sharp bone, and glared at them.
"What? You four losers are still here? I thought I told you to go raid SHUSH!"
After some awkward scrambling and falling over one another, the four managed to exit the building, piling into Megavolt's car, and headed off to their destination.
Chapter 5: The Not-So-Secret Secret
"Wait, this is it?" Megavolt questioned, poking his head up from a bush that currently concealed three of them, growing on SHUSH's front lawn. "Has it always been out in the open like that?"
"Sheesh, for a super secret organization, its location isn't very... well, secret." Bushroot chimed in from beside him.
"Survey says," Liquidator poked his head up from the puddle that was the rest of him, " the best place to hide is in plain sight!"
It was Quackerjack who finally stood up from his hiding place as he groaned in frustration.
"Enough sitting here and talking about how do-gooders are terrible at hide-n-seek, I want to actually DO something!"
He was pulled back into the bushes by Megavolt and Liquidator, just missing catching the attention of a deer agent that bustled out of the building with stacks of paperwork. The toymaker, meanwhile, pouted.
"Heeeey, what's the big deal? Are we going in there or not?"
"Not without a plan we're not. What, do you expect to just go through the front doors?" Megavolt glared, silencing his urge to yell.
"Why not." Quackerjack shrugged, "I do it ALL the time. Nobody notices a guy in a trench coat!"
"That is true." gurgled the Liquidator.
"I wonder why that is?" mused Bushroot, thoughtfully.
Megavolt's gaze shifted between the three, mouth slightly agape, wondering if perhaps they were all more mad than he.
"Trench coats? That's your big plan? Oh, I can taste that prison cafeteria slop already..." He slid to the ground, head in his hands. Quackerjack rolled his eyes, and leaned in to whisper to Bushroot and Liquidator.
"He's just embarrassed because he doesn't own a trench coat like we do." he explained. The two mutants nodded in understanding and muttered a unified "Ooohh."
A short while later, four trench coat wearing figures slipped up the walkway that led to the SHUSH building. Megavolt, unable to come up with a plan to rival Quackerjack's, was clad in a coat borrowed from the nutty toymaker's personal wardrobe.
"I feel ridiculous..." he muttered.
"It's okay!" Bushroot whispered, reassuringly. "No one will see you, promise!"
Megavolt didn't believe a word of that, but as they entered the building, and continued on into what looked like some sort of reception area, not a single person gave them so much as a second glance. It was when the four got to a directory, spilling out details on where all the departments were, that Megavolt had to face palm from frustration.
"They don't even hide THAT?! What kind of secret organization IS this place?!"
It was Bushroot that put a leafy finger up to shush him.
"There's a sign that says 'keep silent'. I, uh… think it might be for the best we follow the rules."
The electric rodent's mental breakdown was ignored as the the water salesman and the toymaker argued over which direction to go.
"If it's weapons you want," Liquidator pitched," nothing says 'arsenal' like a lab. Scientists agree: it's what's in."
"No waaaay," Quackerjack disagreed, "what we're looking for is SECRET! Anybody who is ANYBODY would keep their toys in a vault!"
"Uh, they don't seem to be so good in that regard." Bushroot muttered. "The whole 'secret' thing, I mean. Maybe we should just ask the front desk for help?"
Liquidator and Quackerjack exchanged looks and a sly smile, and Bushroot paled when they were both grinning at him.
"Good idea, Bushy!" Quackerjack spun the plant duck around, and began pushing him.
"Don't forget to smile!" Liquidator added, aiding in the pushing.
"W-wait, hold on, why does it have to be me!" Bushroot pleaded, but it fell on deaf ears.
"You smelt it, you dealt it!" sang Quackerjack.
"What? That doesn't even make any-" One more hearty shove, and Bushroot went stumbling forward, finally colliding with the front information desk.
"Oh hello there!" he blurted, awkwardly, giving his best, forced smile to the woman behind the counter. She was currently busy at a computer, but he did his best to shield his face with his hood, anyway. "I uh, don't suppose you could, give me directions to uh... well you see, I'm looking for this um... well, I don't really know what it is, but it's shiny, with a bunch of blades, sort of scary looking, oh boy. I really wish I brought the picture with me now."
The dog receptionist, not looking up from her computer or down from her big cat-like glasses, just pointed towards the nearest set of elevators.
"If you want scary and sharp, then it's Dr. Bellum you want. Take the elevators to the basement, and take a right turn- that'll be the labs. Can't HARDLY miss 'em."
Bushroot blinked a few times before smiling widely. Boy, maybe talking to people was easier than he thought!
He turned to the guys- where Liquidator was busy looking smug at the jester next to him, Quackerjack stuck out his tongue in retaliation. It was Megavolt, who was tired of standing out in the open, that took charge.
"GREAT, we got directions. Can we just GO already?!"
The villain didn't wait for an answer has he grumpily stomped towards the elevators. Liquidator and Bushroot looked at him concerned.
"Not much for socializing is he?" The water canine's thoughtful expression turned back to a big smile. "But critics agree: he's a go-getter!"
Bushroot's frown intensified.
"If you think that's bad, you should see what happens when they" he motioned between the demented duo " aren't on speaking terms. Now that's enough to get anybody shaking like a leaf!"
"Oh?" Liquidator enquired with obvious curiosity. Bushroot opened his bill to explain, when he noticed the other two were in the elevators, Quackerjack was grinning and waving smugly as the doors began to close.
"Uh, I'll fill you in later. We're about to miss our ride!"
The elevator doors opened, and no sooner had the four stepped off, an explosion rang through the halls and shook the whole building.
"I'd say we're in the right place, Chase." Mr. Banana Brain noted.
"Oh, you bet we are!" Megavolt replied. He was grinning now, his bad mood from earlier seemingly gone. He took a deep whiff of the air in the stuffy hallway, and let it out in a contented sigh.
"This place is loaded with technological wonders! I can feel them, calling out to me, just begging me to take them home! Oh where or where should I start?" He rubbed his hands together, eyeing the three doors along a hall.
He let out a startled yelp as Liquidator twisted his neck around to face him, looking more like a giraffe than dog, as the salesman wagged his finger.
"Ah ah, all play and no work make for unhappy bosses. Business first, shopping later."
Before the mad genius could tell the smug water faucet to get away from him, Quackerjack interrupted them both as he ran down one of the halls seemingly at random.
"I call dibsies on this hall!"
Bushroot was flabbergasted.
"B-but, but… how do you know it's the right one?!"
"I eenied, meenied!" the toymaker called back, laughing. The more sane of the group watched as Megavolt shrugged and followed him.
"You heard the guy, he eenied meenied." The rodent was looking chipper again as he could feel large amounts of electricity being used down the path they were going. There was no doubt they were going the right way. "Oh, don't worry my beauties, Uncle Megavolt's a-coming!"
It didn't take long before Megavolt discovered the true usefulness of a trench coat. They had infiltrated several rooms in search of the weapon they had been sent after, finding other goodies instead. Quackerjack and Megavolt's coat pockets were already bulging with their spoils.
Liquidator watched them from across the room, disapprovingly, as they giggled and drooled over this and that.
"Can you believe those guys?" He asked the terrified scientist, huddled in the corner, doing his best not to attract the attention of the three super villains that had burst in seconds before.
"Psst, guys!" Bushroot leaned into the room from the hall. "I think I found it, follow me!"
Begrudgingly, Megavolt and Quackerjack followed him out, Liquidator leaving last to make sure they didn't linger or get distracted again. He swore it was like babysitting with those two, and the Liquidator was no nanny.
Bushroot led them to a door at the end of the hall. "Testing Lab 4" was engraved into the metal sign to the right of it. The four huddled around the reinforced glass window the door was equipped with.
"Look, there it is! The doohickey Negaduck wants!" Quackerjack announced, poking a finger against the window. Sure enough, there it stood, on a table in the corner of the room, even shinier and pointier in person. Unfortunately, this room wasn't devoid of life; a long-haired female scientist in a long white lab coat stood, aiming a futuristic-looking gun at the far end of the room. The cause of the explosion earlier, no doubt.
"Great, company," Bushroot mumbled, "do you think we can still sneak past her like we did before? I mean… that worked pretty great, right?"
Megavolt threw his arms up in frustration.
"Who CARES, especially when we got THIS now!" The mad genius pulled out a gadget from his pocket as he began to rub it fondly. "THIS lil' baby is a molecular freeze ray. Instead of giving girls the cold shoulder like a NORMAL freeze ray, it drains energy and slows down molecules to the point it causes people to stop in their tracks! Oooh, you and me are going to do wonderful things, dollface."
Bushroot looked uncomfortable as he leaned in to whisper towards Quackerjack.
"Is he talking about the ray-gun or the lady inside?"
The toymaker scoffed.
"To the ray-gun, of course! He doesn't even LIKE girls." Quackerjack stuck out his tongue. "Cooties are positively reVOLTing!"
The lyceum nycanthropus, however, begged to disagree.
Dr. Bellum aimed the gun carefully at a plastic mannequin at the far end of the room, and prepared to squeeze the trigger. Just then, the door burst open, causing her to jump. The gun went off, missing the mannequin entirely, the shot ricocheting off of the window, and turning a potted plant in the corner into lead.
Bushroot cried out in horror. Sarah Bellum lifted her goggles and turned to face her guests with a shrug.
"Whoops! Can I help- oh! Look at that! Four of St. Canard's most vicious villains managed to make it all this way without being stopped, that's impressive! Though it doesn't say much for our security, I suppose."
The group, hidden behind Megavolt and his gun, made their way deeper into the lab. The electrical rodent aimed his newfound weapon at the scientist, taking another step forward.
"Alright, lady, hands up where I can see 'em. We're just here for the… the.." Megavolt paused as he used the gun to scratch under his helmet. "You know, I still don't know what it's called. But, that thing there. Fork it over and maybe you won't have to have your molecules scrambled!"
Dr. Bellum blinked a few times before bursting out into giggles, as she pointed at the device in question.
"Oh, oh my- surely you don't mean THAT old thing? Why would you want something like that, when we got all sorts of goodies here. I mean, I'm holding a LEAD RAY for goodness sake! … Not that you'll be walking out with either if you value your limbs," she added far too cheerfully.
Bushroot cautiously poked his head from behind Megavolt, raising a viney arm in inquiry.
"Uh, is it because it explodes?"
"Oh my, no! It's because the T-6900 has a faulty on switch. Who KNOWS when it might just up and turn on."
"Hmmm, a faulty on-switch, you say?" Megavolt eyed the deadly-looking machine, suddenly intrigued by the thing's inner workings. Why, a quick surgery, maybe a few replaced wires, she would be good as new!
Dr. Bellum watched, partly intrigued, as Megavolt inched his way around her, his molecular freeze ray- no, SHUSH's molecular freeze ray, she was sure of it- carefully trained on her the whole way. It wasn't until he had finally reached the table where the T-6900 sat, that he lowered his weapon. He lifted the glass case- Quackerjack, Bushroot, Liquidator, and Bellum all watched in morbid curiosity as he picked the machine up, and held it up to get a better look at it.
"Hmm, nice, nice, not bad at all! I might-" Megavolt let out a scream as blades began whirring, inches from his face. In a panic, he tossed it to Quackerjack, who yelped and fumbled with it, before tossing it to Bushroot.
"Hey! Don't give it to me!" Bushroot cried, flinching away from it. It landed on the floor at his feet, miraculously not shattering, but instead seeming to bounce after him across the floor. Bushroot took off running.
"It slices, it dices, it maims and it mulches!" Liquidator announced, mildly amused, partly terrified.
"That's what I'm afraid of!" Bushroot whined, skidding and hiding behind his watery teammate. Before Liquidator could defuse it by short circuiting it with his liquid touch, and causing water damage in the process, Megavolt quickly aimed the molecular freeze ray at the T-6900 and fired.
The crazed machine whirled, sputtering as it still tried inching closer towards its would-be-mutant victim, before sputtering and finally coming to a four villains sighed in relief.
Whatever relaxation the criminals felt was destroyed when Dr. Bellum clapped her hands giddily.
"Well what do you know, the first run on the molecular freeze ray was a complete success! I was worried it might have a few bugs in it still."
Megavolt's eyes were wide, jaw nearly hanging to the ground.
"You…. You mean you didn't even TEST it?! ARE YOU INSANE?! What kind of cockamamie scientist ARE you, lady?!"
She smiled wider.
"Why, a mad one, naturally."
The stormy expression on the rodent's face lifted, revealing an awkward, crooked half-smile.
"Oh, yeah? Haha, me too. You know it's too bad we're on opposite sides of the spectrum, you and me; we might've made some shocking chemistry."
While witnessing this little display, Quackerjack's expression went through several changes- confusion, surprise, and finally anger. He reached out and grabbed Megavolt by the back of his coat, and yanked him toward the door.
"Alright, that's enough, Romeo. Time to get out of cootie central."
As the door slammed behind them, Bellum stared for awhile before shrugging, and taking aim with her gun again.
Outside, Bushroot held the deadly machine up, triumphantly, no longer fearing it now that it was still and silent. It glinted in the sunlight.
"Heh-hey, guys, we did it! The T-6900 is ours! ... Er, well, Negaduck's, anyway."
"A job well done, satisfaction, guaranteed!" Liquidator added.
"If this baby doesn't please Negaduck, nothing will." Megavolt said, grinning, and in high spirits over everything actually going so well. He really needed to get one of these coats for himself.
When they didn't receive input from the team jester, all three of them shifted their collective gaze to him, expectantly. He wasn't smiling, which was even more unusual than his silence.
"What? This game's lost its fun; I'm bored. Can we just go already?" he whined, before turning and stomping down the drive, climbing into the passenger side of Megavolt's car, and slamming the door. His three teammates stared at him sitting there, slouched in the seat, arms crossed.
"... What's his problem?" Megavolt asked. Bushroot and Liquidator shrugged and shook their heads.
So Quackerjack was throwing another tantrum, big deal, Megavolt thought to himself. So why did he suddenly feel so guilty about it?
The further they got away from SHUSH headquarters, the less moody Quackerjack seemed to become. And in practically no time at all he was back to joking around, turning his head back to face the others as they continued to congratulate themselves and tease each other- making fun of Bushroot's running away from the machine was enough to make them all laugh from the memory… well, except for the plant duck who had nearly been compost. He was busy pouting and telling the others they would have done the same.
Megavolt, however, was preoccupied with thinking about Quackerjack's sudden mood swing before they made a clean get-away. Honestly he didn't get what could have made the demented duck so upset anyway! QUACKERJACK was the one that talked him into going along with the crazy scheme, QUACKERJACK was the one that insisted he lighten up a little and have FUN for a change. And right when Megavolt was beginning to enjoy himself, it was QUACKERJACK that had a fit and demanded they all leave. It didn't make sense!
His questioning on the matter was put on hold, however, when the said duck in question grabbed the wheel- jolting Megavolt back to reality.
"ARE YOU TRYING TO GET US KILLED?!"
Quackerjack beamed as he finally got the rodent's attention.
"Nope! I WAS having a conversation until SOMEBODY forgot it takes two to tango." The toymaker pouted. "And nobody likes being ignored, ya know."
"Oh, sorry." Megavolt mumbled. It was nice to see Quackerjack was feeling like his old self again. "You were saying?"
"I was saying..."
Megavolt leaned away when Mr. Banana Brain was shoved in his face.
"That was some nice shooting back there, Clair!"
"Oh, uh. Thanks. Nice, y'know, idea. With the coats." He paused. "Quacky."
He didn't want the banana to think he was praising him; he hadn't been any help at all.
The foursome's chipper mood lasted until they arrived back at the hideout, and gathered outside the door. Then the argument over just who would get to present the item to Negaduck began.
"It was my idea that got us in there!"
"Yeah, well, we never would have found it if I hadn't gotten the directions from the front desk!"
"So what! I'm the one who prevented it from turning us all into deli meat!"
"When it comes to presentation, you can't get any better than the Liquidator!"
Bickering soon turned to brawling as the four of them dogpiled onto each other and began kicking and pulling- those with powers using them to their advantage, and those with none proving they could more than take on the others. Bushroot was the first to sneak out of the fight, as he made his way towards where they had left the T-6900. He was at the door of the seaside hideout when the bellowing from behind him caused the floral fiend to spin around in his tracks.
"And where do you think YOU'RE going, fertilizer breath?" Megavolt glared, already getting back onto his feet.
"He was sneaking inside without us! Cheater cheater pumpkin eater!" Quackerjack cried, already ready to pounce and attack.
Bushroot protested as he fumbled to open the door behind him.
"That's not true! I'm not even vegetarian!"
The door was opened, but it was too late. Back into the fighting he was drawn, as the demented duo attacked- the three of them fumbling and rolling around inside. The plant duck's grip on the machine was loosened, and with one mean kick to the stomach from a floppy red shoe, Bushroot oofed and the T-6900 went flying.
Luckily to be caught and saved by the Liquidator, who had shapeshift himself into a large watery catcher's mitt.
"Careful with the merchandise, or our relenting leader will give us more than a grand slam for our efforts!"
To Liquidator's surprise, the other three didn't bother coming after it. In fact, they were looking at him as if they were terrified of him... and a second before he realized it wasn't him they were looking at, the horrible machine was swiped from his watery grasp from behind.
"Soooo..." Negaduck growled, looking the item over, thoughtfully. "You four actually managed to swipe this baby, right out from under SHUSH's collective noses, huh? AND it's still in one piece?"
The four nodded, but said nothing, silently hoping the blast from the ray gun hadn't put it out of commission permanently. They cringed when Negaduck found the on-switch, and yelped when it whirred back to life. Bushroot cowered behind Liquidator, Quackerjack behind Bushroot, and Megavolt behind Quackerjack.
Negaduck turned, and his hired hands watched as he fiddled with it. The sound of grinding metal sent shivers down their backs. They gasped when he turned back around.
"Not bad!" Negaduck announced, through a forkful of tunafish. In his hand he held an opened tin can of tuna.
"A can opener?" Megavolt gawked. "The T-6900 is a CAN OPENER?!"
The group was just as stunned, but it didn't take long before the jester broke their silence with his own mirth. Holding and gripping his sides as if his laughter would split him in two.
"Oh! Oh that's too rich! Hehe!" Quackerjack took a break of air, but ended up holding onto his pal next to him for support. " Can you believe it, Megsy? What a punchline!"
"More like a waste of time," Bushroot mumbled bitterly, sulking as he realized he was almost done in by a kitchen appliance. "I thought we were supposed to show we were REAL criminals."
Bushroot was startled as Liquidator grabbed onto him, wagging a finger playfully.
"Ah ah, no need to start looking for receipts just yet. Survey says Negaduck has another trick up his sleeve!" The salesman splashed himself towards their leader, as he piped up enthusiastically. "The Liquidator remembers something about testing for customer satisfaction, no?"
Negaduck, who had just finished the last bite of his snack, threw the can over his shoulder. Thrusting his hands inside the fluid midsection of the canine in front of him to wash, he quickly went on to wipe his mitts on the fabric cladded toymaker- who let out a whine from having his favorite duds soaked. The evil masked mallard ignored him as he began speaking once more.
"I wouldn't call anything you losers do 'satisfactory', Drippy. But you morons managed to pass my test- so I guess a congratulations is in order."
The praise was more of a mock, but the sinister grin that followed was as genuine as any they had ever seen Negaduck give.
"You just got yourself an exclusive membership to the Fearsome Five."
Chapter 6: Toy Terrors and Tribulations
A bustling city like St. Canard was by no means quiet, even after the sun set and many of its occupants were fast asleep in their beds. However, the screams of a hundred or so fleeing bystanders was still ever-so-slightly peculiar.
Peculiar, perhaps, but not entirely unwarranted, nor completely unwanted by a certain caped crime fighter. What, after all, was a hero without his hero duties?
"You hear that, LP?" Darkwing Duck asked his sidekick, currently munching a corn dog as he rode in the side car next to him. "Those are the cries of helpless citizens, crying out to be saved by the protector of this fair city, their fearless hero, namely- me."
Gosalyn rolled her eyes at her father's ego trip, but said nothing that time- calling attention to herself and the fact she was supposed to be at home and in bed was something she was trying her best to avoid.
"Help! Darkwing Duck!" A fleeing man cried. Darkwing had to swerve to avoid hitting him, along with several other people running in terror.
"Wow, you were right!" LP replied, as the ratcatcher was parked along the street. "They really are calling your name!"
"Yep, all in a night's work, for-"
"Help!" A woman screamed. "Darkwing Duck is destroying the city! ... Again!"
"Wait, what?!" Darkwing gaped. "I am not! And what did she mean, 'again'?"
"Oh no, not again..." the little redhead face palmed and shook her head. Not able to stay silent anymore, the full attention on her as she pointed in the direction of the commotion and yelled. "GEE, dad, how about you use some of those heroics and actually CHARGE IN THERE AND DO SOMETHING!"
Darkwing blinked before he glared.
"I was just about to do that," he cried. "And I don't think I need to be told how to do my job by somebody who's up way past their bedtime, young lady."
Nonetheless the masked mallard sped towards where the action was. His jaw nearly dropped at what he saw. It… it really WAS him. Or, well, very good replicated facsimiles of him, anyway. What looked to be little Darkwing Duck action figures were busy tearing the city apart- brick by brick, signpost by signpost. One of the little terrors even ran by the front of his motorcycle, flamethrower lit as it chased after a stray dog.
Darkwing Duck sputtered as he tried to find words, but it was Gosalyn that spoke up first as she nearly jumped out of her shared seat in excitement.
"Kean gear! Talk about my kind of toys!"
"I don't know, Gos," Launchpad added," I don't think you should be following your father's example in this case."
That idiotic comment was enough to get Darkwing out of his shock as he slammed the breaks of the ratcatcher. Anger rushed through him as he defended himself.
"That is NOT me! I, I mean, it is, sorta me, but I'm not- that's not ACTUALLY me doing all of this!" The hero sighed in defeat, sinking into his handle bars. "Great, somebody decides to finally get me a deal in merchandise and look what happens. Well, no more!" Darkwing lept off of his seat, landing onto the road before quickly pulling out his gas gun. "Time to put an end to my deranged doppelgangers' dangerous deeds, and take back my wholesome copyrighted image!"
"Go get 'em, Darkwing!" Gos cheered from the bike, as LP struggled to get out of the cramped side car.
"Eh, right behind ya, DW!" He called. He was stopped short, however, when he felt a tug on his pant leg. He looked down to see a tiny Darkwing climbing its way up his leg.
"Yaaah!" He cried, grabbing it and yanking it off of himself. He vaguely remembered having a nightmare like this once. "Boy, clingy little fellas, ain't they?"
He shook the thing, arched an eyebrow, and held it up to his ear. "I think this one's voice box is broken, too; it's just making this weird ticking noise."
"Launchpad, look out!" Gos yelled, jumping up and down on the ratcatcher's seat. "Throw that thing away, it's gonna-" she cringed as the doll exploded, leaving LP blackened and dazed. "Explode."
"Launchpad, be careful!" Darkwing scolded, kicking off two pint-sized versions of himself, and shooting another with his gun. "There's no telling what these pocket-sized plastic pests might do; especially if they belong to whom I'm assuming."
By that point LP had scurried out of his seat as he too began fighting and kicking off the troublesome toys. Backing up into Darkwing and becoming literal backup, he threw a look over his shoulder and down at his hero.
"Who're you thinking, DW? All I'm coming up with is you must have made somebody really mad at that Hamburger Hippo meeting we had last week. Where you yelled at 'em for turning down your idea of putting autographs in the Happy Hippo meals."
Darkwing rolled his eyes.
"While their food might be slowly killing the citizens of St. Canard, I doubt they would pool their resources into unprofitable revenge." Another kick sent another action figure flying. "No, Launchpad, what we're looking at isn't motivated by any sort of NORMAL logic we SANE people are used to. We're looking at the handiwork of the underhandedly unjust toy-tinkering terror: Quackerjack!"
While monologuing, the Darkwing dolls surrounding them began ticking as they continued to make their way toward the masked mallard. Thinking fast on his feet, Darkwing fired his gas gun at one of the toys- shooting out a pink sticky substance. The targeted toy flew backwards, sticking to the nearest fire hydrant before exploding- causing water to shoot up into the air and rain down on the surrounding area.
Completely soaking and short-circuiting all the mini masked mallards.
"Yep yep yep," Darkwing Duck uttered cockily, blowing the remaining smoke from the end of his gun, "Bubblelicious Big Red's Bubblegum- never leave home without it."
His victory gloat was short lived, though, when an all-too familiar shadow fell over them. Darkwing froze, and then spun around, already aiming his gun- and immediately his gaze snapped upward. Way upward.
"Darkwing Duck, what a surprise!" Quackerjack lilted sarcastically, standing atop a nearby building. The gleaming moon behind the demented toymaker gave him an extra menacing presence.
"Quackerjack, I knew you were behind this! Trying to soil my good name, for shame!"
"No, silly! For fun! But oh, what a pity; we already have enough Darkwings!"
"Ha!" Darkwing smirked, and gestured to the wrecked toy debris that covered the area. "I took care of your rampaging replicas, Quackerjack; now it's your turn!"
"That's what you thiiink~" Quackerjack sang, and pointed behind them, just as what sounded like an enormous stampede of hamsters shook the street. Darkwing turned around slowly, and gulped when he saw hundreds more tiny toys, marching steadily up the street.
"Oh. I see." DW squeaked, before steeling himself and gathering his courage. "Well, no matter! Twenty toys, or twenty thousand, I can take anything you throw at me, Quackerjack! I've got courage, I've got skill, I've got-" His gun clicked hollowly as he squeezed the trigger. Empty.
"I got nothin'."
Launchpad and Gos ran over to the crime fighter- mostly to avoid being swallowed up like the ratcatcher soon was. The trio decided it best to run- that was, Darkwing assured them, make a tactful retreat to give them time to think of a better plan.
Quackerjack's howling laughter echoed through the streets- providing an eerie soundtrack to this already nightmarish predicament- as the three bounded down the street (the parade of destructive dolls hot on their heels).
Ducking into the nearest alley way, the gang pressed themselves against the building as they did their best to remain silent so the army of terrible trinkets would pass without noticing them. They held their breaths as they heard the creaking of plastic and the whirling of the insides of the playthings as the Darkwing dolls passed them by- Quackerjack still giggling behind them as he followed by pogostick. Darkwing and the others found their exhales bursting from them as the three panted for air.
Whatever relief that was felt was suddenly stolen as they jumped, the sound of glass breaking coming from the opening on the other side of the alley way.
"What NOW," Darkwing cried incredulously. "Quackerjack just passed us, there's no way he could have gone around that fast!"
"Yeah, unless it's not HIM." Gosalyn reasoned. "Doesn't mean it's not one of his lame dolls, though."
"Think we should check it out?" LP asked. "Could be somebody that needs our help."
The masked mallard sprung back to life, throwing his finger triumphantly in the air.
"I'm thinking we should check it out- who knows? It could be somebody in need of MY heroic expertise!"
Leaping out of the alley, Darkwing aimed his gun and swung it around in a wide arc, surveying the area and spotting a broken window across the street.
"Ah-hah! Looks like someone's doing a little late-night shopping at the electronics and appliances store- and I'll bet I know who!"
Megavolt had just finished picking up the last items on his shopping list- and deploying his four-finger discount in the process- when a familiar and loathsome blue smoke began wafting in through the shattered storefront window.
"Oh no..." he groaned. Where did that guy always come from? "Looks like it's time for me to jolt on our of here!" He hefted the bag over his shoulder, and leapt through the entrance he had made, screaming when he came face-to-face with the one duck he hated the most in the world.
"Not so fast, ozone-breath!" Darkwing shoved his gun in the criminal's face- so what if it was empty? Megavolt didn't know that!
"That's fine." Megavolt growled, and to Darkwing's surprise, grabbed his wrist. The masked mallard cried out as a powerful jolt of electricity shot down his arm and through his body. "I prefer FRIED food over FAST food any day!" Megavolt let go and cackled as he took off down the street, leaving Darkwing to collapse to the ground, mildly dazed and in a fair amount of pain.
"Oh no, Darkwing, are you okay? Because if so, you might wanna get up, because Megavolt's getting away!" Gosalyn offered, and helped her father to his feet.
"And that's not our only problem! Look!" cried LP. Sure enough, two of Quackerjack's toys were racing up the sidewalk at them. But this gave the caped hero an idea.
The electrical villain skidded to a halt, and glanced back, mostly out of curiosity. It was hard to tell what his foe had chucked at him in the darkness, but he managed to catch both of them- one in each hand. He stared at them, and frowned.
"Darkwing Duck action figures? No fair! How come he gets his own toy line, and I- say, I think their voice boxes are broken, they're- oh. Oh no."
Too late. Both of them exploded in tandem, successfully putting the rodent out of commission. He fell to the pavement.
The blast had also loosened a large neon sign atop the nearest building, causing it to fall- landing on the defeated villain.
Darkwing, who had just finished strutting towards the crushed criminal, started to gloat at their expense.
"Well whad'ya know? Defeated by his own lightbulbs he's so fond of. REALLY, Megavolt, you should consider getting better friends."
"Oh, you mean like ME?"
The masked mallard and his mini gang turned around with a jump, standing there with an army of toys was the crazed clown they had been trying to slip earlier. Launchpad found himself shaking as he cried out in alarm.
"The one and only!"
Said toymaker bounced his way towards the other side of the hero and company, as his curiosity got to the better of him as he investigated the fallen neon sign- more interested in the blue rubber boots peeking out from under it.
"Well, what do we have here? Squashing witches now, Dorothy?" Upon further investigation Quackerjack could see a large familiar nose sticking out from the other side. The toymaker gasped, visibly distraught. "Megavolt! Oh, what have they DONE to you, buddy?!"
Before Darkwing could defend himself, it was Gosalyn who spoke up- pointing a thumb at her father.
"Darkwing Duck thought Megavolt looked better as a pancake than a super-villain."
"Gosalyn!" The hero yelled in disbelief. The young red-head threw her hands up in defiance.
"Well, you DID!"
Ignoring that comment, Quackerjack lifted the sign off of his pal, with some effort. The toymaker grunted as he shoved the heavy debris away, and scooped up the squashed rat, holding him up in front of him like a tired puppy.
"Oh, hey, Quacky, heh heh. When'd you get here?" Megavolt slurred, before passing out again. Quackerjack sighed and shook his head. That blasted Darkwing, always breaking his toys.
The three do-gooders watched as Quackerjack hoisted the unconscious villain over his shoulder.
"Shouldn't we uh, do something about that, DW?" LP offered. "I mean, the two of them together can be a real handful!"
"Don't be ridiculous, LP!" Darkwing assured. "Quackerjack took the bait. Yeah! All according to plan. Megavolt is quite clearly down for the count; with Quackerjack lugging his dead weight around we're sure to be at an advantage!"
The demented duck clearing his throat loudly got their attention in a hurry.
"We have to go now, Darkwing Dunce and friends; but there's no reason you three have to miss out on playtime!"
The three noticed a bit too late that they were surrounded on all sides by the army of mechanical mallards they had been trying to avoid. It was with another mad and gleeful laugh that Quackerjack waved them off, before running and skipping away with his damaged goods of a friend.
Darkwing Duck found himself gulping as his daughter and sidekick clung to him in terror, just as unnerved as he. The dolls got closer and closer, some holding blow torches, others knives and equally pointy objects. Darkwing pulled at his collar.
"Aheh heh… stay tuned? I hope."
While it was assured that the masked mallard would always save the day- Darkwing Duck was going to learn a very unpleasant, but equally valuable, lesson in suffering from one's inflated ego.
Chapter 7: Fixing and Breaking
On the other side of town, Megavolt found himself distressed and with his own problems. Visions of explosions and tap dancing Darkwings made his unconscious self twist and turn, as he couldn't escape his injury induced nightmare. It was with a groan that the wounded villain eventually found himself opening his heavy-lidded eyes- his vision an equally blurry mess.
"Oh, ooooh my head. My back. My everything!" Megavolt tried to sit up, only then noticing he was laying down at all on what felt to be something like an inflatable mattress. The pained rodent flopped back down in defeat. "Geeze, what happened? I feel like I got runned over by a street sweeper or something."
"Close, but no candy cigars!" A familiar voice cried out chipperly, helping to break Megavolt's mental fog. "Flattened, yes, but what happened was not NEARLY as hilarious!"
His vision slowly clearing, Megavolt blinked up at the dimly lit ceiling of the long-since shut down remains of the Quackerjack Toy factory- which was, if memory served, and it often didn't- where the wacky jester tended to reside.
"Darkwing." Megavolt croaked simply, as fuzzy memories began drifting back.
"Yes, Darkwing!" Quackerjack replied, and suddenly his big grin was hanging over the rodent's line of sight.
"Darkwings everywhere. Everywhere!" His raving only ended there because shouting caused bolts of pain to shoot through his skull.
"Shh, shh, calm down, Megavolt, you're gonna strain something." The toymaker scolded, sounding more snarky than concerned. Quackerjack disappeared from his vision with a tinkling of his bells, and suddenly Megavolt felt hands grasp him firmly under his arms. With effort from both of them, and some mild complaining from Megavolt, they managed to get him into a sitting position.
Megavolt glanced around the room, trying to distract himself from the painful everything. He frowned when he saw his battery laying on a nearby table; it looked as destroyed as he felt. Batteries that size were never easy to replace.
"So, why am I here?" Megavolt muttered, not bothering to look at Quackerjack as the nutty duck dug around in a drawer.
The toymaker huffed, turning around with what appeared to be a big roll of bandages.
"You didn't expect me to carry you all the way to your lighthouse, did you?" Finally making it back to the makeshift bed- which the rodent now realized was really an inflatable raft- Quackerjack began wrapping one end around Megavolt's aching head. "You're not exactly a light sack of potatoes ya know. Though, you certainly got the pudginess of one."
Quackerjack tickled Megavolt's belly playfully, which the hand quickly was swatted away. If the jester was offended he didn't show it. He carried on.
"So! When I got close enough to MY place, which was way nearer than YOUR place, I called for Teddy to come and do the heavy lifting for me. And POOF! That's how you magically wound up on my front door step!"
Megavolt side-eyed his pal.
"I certainly don't FEEL magical, Quacky."
"No one ever said magic didn't come without a price!" The toymaker turned nurse found his smile slipping off his face as Megavolt tried to take the bandages from his hands. Quackerjack yanked his arms just out of his patient's reach. "Hey now! No touchy, Megavolt!"
"I can take care of myself, you know, " the electrical eccentric grumbled. His half attempt of a glare went ignored as Quackerjack continued to fix him up.
"And spoil all my fun? For shaaaame. It's not every day I get to play doctor on REAL people. Dolls can lose their appeal after a while when they don't want to play along. TERRIBLE patients."
Megavolt sighed, and winced when even that hurt. The wince was not missed by his nurse. Quackerjack's frown deepened.
"Not gut, not gut!" The toymaker had put on his doctor accent, and that worried his patient. He was further worried when Quackerjack pulled out the tongue depressor.
"Now, open up and be saying ah!"
"I don't want tUGH!?" It wasn't ah, but it was close enough. Megavolt nearly gagged as the depressor was shoved into his mouth. The electrical wonder glared, but allowed Quackerjack his fun. For now.
"Ohhh, zis is worse zan I was thinking, three broken ribs, at least! No good. Lose ze shirt, mister Megavolt."
Quackerjack had to stifle a giggle when Megavolt actually complied, mumbling and grumbling to himself as he carefully stripped out of his jumpsuit down to his waist.
His giggles were successfully stifled when he saw how bruised his poor pal was.
"Oh Megsy," Quackerjack cooed, lightly touching over the bruised skin- his fingers more of a flutter. " I don't think I like the spotted look on you. Doesn't suit you at ALL. Here, give me a second- be back before you can say 'bicky bunches bickering bananas'!"
Megavolt watched as his temporary caretaker ran off into another room, leaving him alone. While the demented duck made all sorts of strange noises from the other room- even the sound of something crashing onto the floor followed by a 'whoopsies, butter fingers'- Megavolt looked down at his chest and stomach, and winced. Oh, great, that was going to leave him out of commission for a while. He might not have been locked up behind bars by that loudmouth no-good do-gooder… but having to stay in bed and not able to do anything was its own punishment.
Megavolt was just beginning to wonder what was taking his friend so long with whatever he was doing, when- as if summoned- Quackerjack reappeared. Making all sorts of noise as he went through the door, Megavolt raised a brow as Quackerjack came in carrying a wooden chair in his hands and a bag of ice with his teeth.
"Tada," the toymaker said with a full mouth, as he set his chair down next to his patient. Spitting out the bagged ice into his hands, Quackerjack was all reassuring smiles as he sat down and gently placed the bag on the bruised area. "THERE, that should help!"
Megavolt cried out in alarm.
"AH, it's FREEZING!"
"Of COURSE it's freezing, ya big dolt. It's ICE." Quackerjack rolled his eyes. "But if it'll make you stop being a big baby about it, I'll go look for a rag or something. SHEESH."
Megavolt gave Quackerjack a threatening look, removed the bag of ice, yanked his jumpsuit back up over his stomach and chest, and replaced the bag. Then he not-so-carefully fell back into the raft, his arms flopping over the sides of it, and sighed loudly and over dramatically.
Silence followed that. Complete silence. Megavolt couldn't see Quackerjack over the walls of the raft, so his silence was slightly worrying, but Megavolt's frazzled mind drifted to other things. It was he who broke the silence.
"So, uh, this was..." This had been a very nice thing for Quackerjack to do. "I mean, um. I never really." He had never had anyone bother making sure he was alright before, he was always pretty alone in his assured well-being, and he had never really thought about that being unusual. Was this what having a true friend felt like? Megavolt decided it was a pretty nice feeling.
Another short span of silence followed, until suddenly, a blanket was catapulted over the side of the raft, and landed on him. Quackerjack's face popped up over the side soon after.
"Looks like we're having a sleepover tonight, Megsy!" He sang. Megavolt huffed, but flashed a crooked half-smile. So he had been talking to himself that whole time, what else was new?
Quackerjack disappeared again, just to reappear a few seconds later.
"And you're welcome."
The rest of the night mostly consisted of the toymaker equally taking care of the wounded criminal and entertaining him. When he wasn't replacing melted ice or making sure Megavolt had SOME sort of fluid in him- even if the blue raspberry popsicles were a little too sickly sweet for the rodent's taste- Quackerjack was busy making puppet shows with the homemade hand-puppets he had made of Darkwing and the Fearsome Five. Megavolt had to admit even he found himself snorting in laughter as Puppet Bushroot began literally kissing their cruel leader on the felt rump.
"Just recreating true events, honest!" Quackerjack had said in a song-song voice.
But a night of villainy, plus playing doctor and comedian, was enough so that even the crazed clown eventually found himself yawning loudly and dramatically.
"You know," Megavolt said, being as stern as he could. "You don't HAVE to stay up with me all night. I mean, sleeping eventually happens at these sleepovers, don't they?"
That had been a genuine question, seeing as Megavolt didn't recall ever having been invited to one… nor friends from his youth, now that he thought about it.
"Noooooo," Quackerjack whined through a yawn, his head already drooping and bobbing from his need for sleep. "The point… is to play until the sun rises. Last one to stay awake wins!"
The rodent scrunched up his face in a way that expressed that was a dumb game as far as he was concerned, but kept his thoughts to himself. Finally sighing and feeling like he had to be the mature one of the two of them- yet again- Megavolt spoke up.
"Fine, will ya go to bed if *I* go to sleep first?"
Quackerjack nodded his head vigorously, the bells on the end of his jester hat jingling violently.
"So I'll win? Naturally! Now you lay down," the toymaker was on his feet as he pulled up the blanket higher, tucking Megavolt in tight. "And you close your eyes right this moment, Megsy. Don't think you can trick me! I'll be keeping my peepers peeped on your peepers, mister. So no cheating."
Megavolt rolled his eyes, but did as he was told. Closing his eyes he waited five minutes, then another ten, and after a little while after that the rodent dared to reopen them- just a smiggen. When Megavolt didn't see Quackerjack's big mug staring down at him he opened both eyes all the way and turned a little to see just the end of the demented duck's jester hat leaning against the raft- Quackerjack having fallen asleep in the chair next to him.
Which left a wide awake Megavolt the winner of a game he didn't want to play- in pain and alone with his thoughts.
These thoughts came with an unsettling nagging feeling, that familiar confusion and displacement that comes with deja vu. Megavolt wrinkled his brow and stared deeper into the darkness, as if staring hard enough would lift the fog that perpetually surrounded his memories.
He had felt friendship before, hadn't he? Yes, it was coming back to him now, in pieces, but there. Back in high school, he had felt this way, this sense of elation, that fluttery, happy, warm feeling, yes, it was there, and he had felt it. A young woman's face suddenly came to mind, and the pieces fell together. Of course! He had a friend! Way back when he and Kelly, they were-
"Wait a minute, we were never friends!" Megavolt told the darkness. "I just had a huge... a huge crush on her. A-heh. Huh."
Yes, his brain was most certainly right- it was a crush he had on Kelly Molemer. While he couldn't quite remember what she looked like, though words like 'round' were coming to mind, he could recall comforting embraces and the cutest little snort she would give whenever she found something Elmo had said especially funny. It was strange what Megavolt's fried mind would latch onto, despite his memory not working most of the time.
"Quackerjack has an interesting laugh." The rodent mumbled to himself, as an afterthought.
It wasn't a laugh that Megavolt would call 'cute', that he was sure of- in fact it could be downright unnerving half the time. But he could admit that there was an excitement that ran through him- a pleasurable chill- whenever Quackerjack found something especially hilarious. Specifically when Megavolt was the one that got him to laugh.
As cheesey as it sounded, his best buddy had the ability to make Megavolt feel like he wasn't alone. Of course his lightbulbs he liberated were good enough for conversation, and while he shared the same frequencies as his radio… his electronics didn't know what it was like to have flesh, and bones, and all other things having a meat body consisted of. They didn't know what it was like to feel charged up when a friend thought to include them on their crazed scheme. Or to have their heartbeat accelerate and feel like it would thump out of their chest when said pal gave them that funny half-lidded look that spoke of mischief, adventure, and that it was going to end with the mad genius having something horrible happen to him- and yet he won't mind in the end because the friend would just throw that look and send him spiralling down the same path all over again.
Megavolt paused that train of thought, as he jumped onto another one. And then there was what happened that very night. A warm feeling hit him as he looked down to his side and saw the jester hat still there.
'He drives me crazy.' Megavolt couldn't help but think with a sigh. 'But he's really somethin', huh?'
These thoughts had Megavolt smiling without him knowing it, and then that smile was slowly slipping, wilting into a troubled frown.
"Wait, what?" Megavolt asked the ceiling. "Sheesh, that billboard musta' hit me harder than I thought..." He rubbed his head and tried to shake off the creeping dread.
Morning light streamed through the windows, and Megavolt was still staring at the ceiling, adding two plus two over and over again, and not liking the answer.
"No, no, no, it's wrong, all wrong..." He was mumbling to himself like a mantra. Suddenly, unable to take any more, feeling suffocated and anxious, Megavolt sat up with a jolt.
"I gotta get out of here!" He cried out.
Megavolt's yelling was enough to wake Quackerjack with a snort, before slowly raising his head as the duck sleepily looked at his pal. He yawned.
"What's all the fuss about, Megs? Some people are trying to sleep." He had finished it with a whine, but was quick to cut himself off as he finally noted the hurt villain wasn't lying down anymore. Feeling more awake than before, he jumped out of his chair. "Heeey, you're supposed to be laying down! Are you TRYING to make things WORSE?"
Megavolt felt himself flinching as Quackerjack's eyes seemed to look straight through him. The rodent slowly, stiffly, turned his eyes away, staring across the room at nothing, instead.
"I have to go." Megavolt muttered, sternly and carefully. A beat of silence followed.
"Oh! Yes, of course; the bathroom's right over there, around the corner, you can't miss-"
"Okay, good to know, but I meant, I'm leaving." Megavolt spoke calmly, patiently, and this was oddly unlike him. It was as if he was carefully picking and choosing each and every word.
"Leaving?" Quackerjack whined. "But you can't leave, you're not all healed up yet! Nope, you're staying; doctor's orders."
Quackerjack folded his arms over his chest, and shook his head, slightly annoyed that his pal still wasn't looking at him, and therefore did not see it.
"Yeah, well, thanks a lot for the doctoring, Quackerjack, I feel oh so much better."
A moment of burning rage flickered behind Quackerjack's eyes at the biting sarcasm in Megavolt's tone, but it was quelled slightly when his partner-in-crime shakily tried getting to his feet.
"It's not just, this, I've been battered before, time and time again." Megavolt had managed to get half of himself flopped over the side of the raft. It was sad and pathetic to watch him struggle, and under other circumstances, it may have been funny.
"It's my brain, it's all fuzzy, I gotta, I gotta recharge, reprogram my channels, reconfigure my frequencies..."
Quackerjack watched Megavolt stand up finally, out of the raft, and begin to redress himself. The duck remained silent. It was almost as if Megavolt was muttering to himself, more than to him. Did he even register he was there?
"Back at my lighthouse, surrounded by my fellow electronic pals, I'll heal quicker, I'll-"
"Oh, so that's it, is it?" Quackerjack couldn't remain silent anymore. Megavolt stopped talking, but he still would not look at him.
"You're ditching me to go back to your lightbulbs? Answer me this, Megavolt; was it your lightbulbs who saved your sorry patootie back there, brought you back to their home, patched you up? Huh? Was it?"
Megavolt whipped around so suddenly and fixed him with a glare so cold it actually made him flinch.
"MY LIGHTBULBS DON'T MAKE ME FEEL LIKE REALITY ITSELF IS UNRAVELLING!"
Quackerjack blinked a few times after that. Confusion washed over the duck's face as he silently mulled over what Megavolt had just told him. If the electric villain was in a better mood, he might have been impressed he could verbally get one over the usually quick-witted jester. Megavolt had to look away as Quackerjack's eyes kept trailing him up and down- as if he was trying to dissect him then and there. If he had been watching, he would have saw the sudden change as Quackerjack's eyes shot open wide. It didn't last long, and it was the demented duck's laughing that brought Megavolt back to looking at his fellow villain.
"Unraveled, huh?" Quackerjack purred. The rodent stiffen as the crazed clown came closer, but thankfully gave him space. He went on. "Fine, go ahead. Playdates DO eventually have to come to an end, I suppose." Taking another step closer before placing both hands on Megavolt- one on his shoulder and the other on the curve of his back- he began escorting them towards the exit. Megavolt's heart raced in his chest as his friend's breath was hot on his face. "But trust me, Megsy, I'll be checking in on you real soon."
If Megavolt was honest with himself, he didn't know if the thought excited or unnerved him.
Chapter 8: Play Hard - Win Easy
Quackerjack's promise of seeing Megavolt sooner than later ended up being the truth, as fortune was against the rodent. It had been a mere two weeks of healing and solitude before Negaduck had called for the Fearsome Four to meet him at his latest hideout- some bar around the seedier part of the city. A secret room had been added to the back of the establishment, where the notes the four had been given stated their nefarious leader would be meeting them shortly. Nowhere did it mention what his plan was for them, and Megavolt grumbled as entered the room.
"I'm tired of ducks with over-inflated egos; can't Negaduck just be straight to the point?!"
Luckily for him said Negaduck wasn't there yet, and instead the only one that heard his complaint was the wettest villain of Saint Canard: the Liquidator. The water dog chortled.
"Tired of the mundane? Then try Negaduck brand of criminal mystery: keeps customers hooked and DYING for more!"
"Don't even start with me, wet nose, I'm not in the mood."
Megavolt winced as he made it towards the table in the center of the room, taking the chair the farthest away from the salesman. Despite the fact his powers made it so that the rodent could heal faster than the average civilian, not enough time had passed since his accident. He felt like a kicked can, and what was worse he also looked the part. When he looked back over the table, Megavolt was surprised to see the Liquidator giving him a concerned and questioning look.
"Darkwing Duck?" he simply asked.
"Darkwing Duck." Megavolt grumbled in confirmation- not in the mood to talk about it.
He didn't have to as Bushroot was the next one to make his way into the secluded room. After peeking his head inside, the plant-duck had smiled as he perked up and made it to the seat next to his aquatic acquaintance. Bushroot was enough to keep the Liquidator busy and from refraining to get chummy with the injured villain- the way Megavolt preferred it.
That old familiar sinking feeling took up residence in Megavolt's stomach when he realized the remaining empty seat was right next to him. He would have to do a lot of acting that night, it seemed, and he wasn't in the mood for that, either. He cringed and sunk in his seat until his head lay atop the table, when he heard the fourth member of their team enter.
"Playtime again already? Negaduck sure does know how to throw a party!"
The free chair was pulled out, spun around, and Quackerjack plopped himself into it, reclining comfortably and placing his feet up onto the table- right next to Megavolt's face. Megavolt wrinkled his nose.
"Oh, hi, Quackerjack." Bushroot greeted, with a nervous, but friendly smile.
"Not one, not two, not three, but four super villains for the price of one! The gang's all here!" Liquidator announced.
Quackerjack lifted a brow and gave Megavolt a side-glance. "What, no hello from my best pal?" He lilted, teasingly.
"Hey, Quacky." Megavolt mumbled.
"Aww, still not feeling good, huh? Poor Megsy." The toymaker plopped his feet back down, scooting his chair closer to the miserable villain- much to Megavolt's dismay. Megavolt jolted his head back up, however, when Quackerjack wrapped his arms around him in a snug- and non-escaping- embrace. "You know, I can help you with that if you want. My special touch did WONDERS for you the last time, if you recall."
"'Special touch'?" Bushroot asked in confusion, more to himself as he and Liquidator watched and overheard the conversation. Quackerjack quickly elaborated.
"Oh, Megavolt just loves it when we play doctor. I had him spread out at my place, practically half naked. I couldn't help but give him the love he needed when he just looked so miiiiserable."
Megavolt glowered, doing his best to fight the embarrassment he felt from Quackerjack's description of what happened.
"Oh yeah, I just loved being in pain and having broken ribs." He eyed the others watching him as he explained. "He found me before Dipwing could finish crushing me under neon signs, and then patched me up." He turned back to the toymaker. "And would you let go already?! I got enough issues right now to have to fight claustrophobia too!"
The crazed clown smiled mischievously, but otherwise did what he was told. Before Quackerjack could tease his partner-in-crime some more, Megavolt was lucky when the Liquidator saved him by speaking up first.
"Sounds to me like you're in need of a second opinion. Get two doctors for the price of one when you throw in the help of Saint Canard's very own Dr. Bushroot!" The salesman put a friendly hand on the plant-duck next to him. "Sources say his knowledge of herbal remedies is second to none!"
Bushroot found himself feeling shy, but gave a flattered smile.
"Oh, well, I wouldn't say all that. I'm a plant doctor, not a people doctor, after all." He turned towards Megavolt. "But I could at least give you one of my aloe plants from the greenhouse to help with bruising. And ginger for inflammation, if you want."
"Oh, um." Megavolt smiled, perhaps for the first time since he had arrived. "Yeah, sure, thanks."
" Sure, no problem, what are friends for, anyway?" Bushroot smiled back, more relieved than anything that Megavolt didn't seem angry with him anymore. Megavolt, still trying to figure out what friends were for, did not have an answer.
The rodent's smile was gone when he felt fingers walking delicately up his back. He turned to glare at Quackerjack, and even that backfired when he was met with a flirty expression that frazzled what was left of his nerves.
"And if you need any help at all rubbing it on, you know where to find me!"
There was a crackling sound as Megavolt's plug hat sparked, but he had the advantage of it easily being mistaken for anger.
"Would you cut that out!" He growled. "I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, thank-you-very-much!"
Megavolt's unsettled nerves were made worse as the door suddenly burst open with a violent kick- Negaduck making his presence known.
"Alright, nerds," he growled, taking up his chair at the head of the table. "Enough chit-chat. I didn't call you here to socialize over tea and dainty cakes. We're here to talk football."
The four other villains remained silent for a moment as they tried to comprehend what was just said to them.
"FOOTBALL?!" Megavolt shouted skeptically. "You brought us here to talk about a dumb SPORT?!"
"It IS America's favorite and most famous past-time," Liquidator piped in, " fun for the whole family!"
Bushroot wilted next to him, rubbing his leafy palms nervously.
"I, uh… actually don't know anything about it. Never went to any of my teams' high school or college games. That's not a problem, is it?"
Negaduck facepalmed- not believing how dense and easily distracted his lackies were.
"You idiots, don't you knobs know ANYTHING?!"
It was then that the evil masked mallard slapped down a newspaper onto the table, following it up by stabbing one of the articles. The front page read, in bold print: ST. CANARD CRASHERS MAKE IT TO PLAY-OFFS.
"Usually this lame city's team is too busy crashing and burning to win one game, let alone enough to get them close to the super-bowl. There's a game this weekend, and with the Crashers being a priority this season, it's estimated to bring in thousands of fans from other cities. And with tickets costing as much as nine hundred bucks a pop, we ain't talking about cheapos either."
Negaduck smirked evilly.
"I want in on the action."
The bleachers were really starting to fill up now, excited chatter buzzed throughout the stadium. No one could quite believe the Crashers had managed to get that far, and the ones who did were lying through their teeth.
"Wooo! Yeah gooooo Crashers!" one particularly rambunctious redhead shouted from her seat.
"Reign it in a little, would ya, Gos?" Drake Mallard told his daughter, who sat back down on the bench she had previously been standing on. "The game hasn't even started yet!"
Gosalyn flashed her dad a sarcastic frown. "I'm just showing my appreciation, dad. Come on, where's your St. Canard Crashers spirit, huh?"
Before he could answer, a thick arm wrapped around him, pulling him into a suffocating side-hug.
"Boy, Drakeroonie, this sure is settin' up to be some game, ain't it?"
Drake glanced back over to his little girl and hissed, "Gee, I have no idea, where oh where could it have gone?"
Drake Mallard didn't know how the Muddlefoots did it- whether it was the latest technology, elaborate themed parties, or (in the current case) connections to big expensive football games that even superhero crime fighter couldn't make on a SHUSH benefacted salary. And yet, there the Muddlefoots were: living it up and able to get into places Darkwing Duck would have to sneak into.
"There's no WAY Herb makes enough money selling Quackerware," the short duck grumbled to himself, fully ignoring the crowd, " no, I smell a seedy criminal element at play here!'
"What's that ya said, Drake?" Herb asked as he turned back to him, his wife, Binkie, having distracted him as she brought hot dogs back for him and the kids. "Ya say something smells funny? Naw, that's just the smell of pre-game excitement! It's always like that!"
Drake sighed, wishing Launchpad would hurry up and return from the concession stands to give him a buffer from his neighbors.
"Oh, but of course, how could I have possibly missed that?" He muttered back sarcastically. Gosalyn gave him a stink eye.
"Aw, dad... can't you just be thankful for once? I'll bet he paid a whole lot of money just to take us along!"
Drake's expression softened. His kid had a point. He sighed, and even managed a smile, gaze drifting out onto the field, where the game was finally getting started.
"I suppose you're right. And besides, I think I deserve a little 'r and r' this afternoon. Yep, just me, the game, and that foreboding rumbling sound under my feet. ... Foreboding rumbling sound under my feet?"
"Sorry, Drake, that'd be my stomach!" Launchpad replied, plopping down on the other side of Gosalyn, and handing her a hotdog and a soda. She took the offered goodies, but only as a reflex; her attention was on the field.
"I don't think it was! Look at that!"
Just then, the well-manicured soil cracked, and then broke apart as a large, whipping vine thrust its way upward, followed by more, and soon the entire field was a destroyed mess. The players not already snared by the groping vines fled in blind terror.
"Oh my, " Binkie said in concern. "Is that how these games usually go? How awful!"
"Don't worry 'bout it, Binkiekins," her husband reassured in-between a drink of his large soda. "That's just one of them there half-time shows. They do all sorts of crazy stuff for the fans!" Herb paused. "Though, that's funny, I've never seen a half-time show BEFORE a game before."
Drake Mallard felt the urge to facepalm from the stupidity, but didn't get the chance to before he was distracted by the sounds of screams around the stadium- and more noticeably, by Mrs. Muddlefoot. Whipping his head over towards her, the civilian hero watched as Binkie and the rest of the group stared in horror at the water bottle shaking violently in her hands. The bottle's fight was stronger than the housewife's grip as it leapt from her mitts and threw itself onto the ground. Her's wasn't the only one as other spectators in their section all watched as the bottles shook themselves upright and burst open- sending streams of water all towards one source in the middle of the stands.
The growing orb gurgled and bubbled as a voiced echoed over the crowd.
"Feeling parched? Salty foods at the concession stands leaving you panting and begging for something more? Then look no further!"
The orb burst, a body quickly swirling and forming in its place. The crowd gasp as they recognized what greeted them.
"The liquid magic of Liquidator brand water is sure to have you a repeat customer- whether you like it or not!"
"Bushroot AND the Liquidator? Why? What could they stand to gain from something like this?" Drake wondered out loud. "Oh, it doesn't matter! This is job for... not this guy, be right back."
Under the bleachers, and safely out of the public eye, Drake Mallard made a hasty change, to Darkwing Duck.
Out in the field, amongst the chaos, billowing blue smoke rose up, seemingly out of nowhere.
"I, am the terror, that flaps in the night! I am the raincloud, that postpones your- HNGPH!"
The terror that flaps in the night as trampled by a herd of screaming football players.
As if to display his humiliation for all to see, the lights shining down upon the field began to glow brighter and brighter, until the glare was almost painful on the eyes. Now people weren't just running in blind terror; now they were actually blind! At least to a certain degree.
Darkwing pried himself out of the ground, just as familiar, insane cackling crackled through the loudspeaker. He shielded his eyes and tried his best to spot the electrical nutjob. There was no sign of him, but he did spot a group of fans making a break for it through the gates- only to come running back in a panic, dangerous-looking teddy bears with gnashing razor sharp teeth hot on their heels.
"Megavolt and Quackerjack, too? This, is not my day."
First things first- the toys had to be put out of commission. Shooting his grappling hook onto one of the overhanging bars above, Darkwing swung into action and kicked the terrifying teddies with great force to knock them down and allow the good citizens a chance to escape.
"Hey, shouldn't you guys be hibernating or something?" Darkwing mocked, while using the time the toys were getting up to pull out a different cartridge for his gun. The stuffed bears snarled, showing off their chompers as they readied for another attack. Darkwing gulped. "Aheh… Looks like it's time for my own game: disappearing duck!"
With that he threw down a gas pellet, smoke shooting up and blinding the dangerous teddy bears. The masked mallard used that time to sneak up on the toys to shoot them with a net from his gun- causing them to fly backwards and into the Crashers' team water cooler. Being dunked in lemon flavored sports drink was enough to short-circuit them- sending the teddies out of commission.
"You'd think by now Quackerjack would learn to waterproof his playthings."
"Nice shootin', DW!"
Darkwing, shocked, turned to notice he was now accompanied by his sidekick and his Gosalyn, both of whom he had forgotten about up until that moment. This was no place for his little girl! A little girl who was currently glancing around the destruction, an adventurous glint in her eye. He didn't like that look. It was the same look a certain Quiverwing Quack tended to have.
"Launchpad, Gosalyn! You guys need to-" he fumbled, realizing there was no way they would leave willingly, unless they thought they were helping in some way. "Uh, you need to, get the Muddlefoots to safety!"
"Aw, Darkwing, seriously? And miss out on all the action? Again? I don't think so!"
Ah, such a defiant little spitfire. Darkwing knelt down, placed his hands on her narrow shoulders, and gave her his most pleading eyes.
"Please? I can't take care of these guys AND get all of these people to safety! Come on, Gos, I need you on this one."
Miraculously, this half charade worked, and Gos relented. She sighed, and slumped.
"Oh alright. Go get 'em, Darkwing."
Meanwhile, across the way, a certain lyceum nycanthropus watched the chaos ensue from the safety that the now empty bleachers provided. He found he had a lot more confidence when he was attacking from afar, or rather, watching his plants attack from afar. He snickered with glee, a sound caught between a giggle and a chuckle, watching his leafy friends destroy the battlefield ... in a very literal sense.
A sinking dread befell him, when Darkwing charged in, intent on making them his next target.
Reloading his gun with a handy weedkiller canister, the masked mallard took aim, but never got the shot off. A powerful bolt of electricity shot out, frying his hand and knocking his weapon from his grasp. Yep, that hurt just as much as it always did. He turned and squinted, both Megavolt and Quackerjack stood side-by-side, not much more than blurry shadows against the glaring lights.
"Nah-ah-ah, Dipwing!" Quackerjack scolded, playfully. "No skipping out on your vegetables!"
As if on cue, the vine he had been meaning to shoot reached out and coiled itself around the hero, tightly. He grunted, his cheeks puffed out as most of the air left his lungs. Darkwing struggled in its grasp, to no avail.
Megavolt thoroughly enjoyed himself as the vine squeezed his foe tighter.
"Oh no, Bushroot's plant is crushing him," he mocked, holding the sides of his face in false alarm. This quickly turned into mirth as both he and his partner-in-crime laughed. Megavolt went on, looking up at the struggling hero. "Let's see how YOU like a few broken ribs, Darkwing DORK!"
"Why Megavolt," Quackerjack cooed, as he rested his head on the other villain's shoulder with a playful sigh. "Revenge looks GOOD on you."
Megavolt glared, fighting the jittery feeling that overcame him- cutting his laughter off short. The electrical genius growled as he pushed his buddy off of him.
"Would you cut that out already?! You're making it hard to focus!"
And that was enough of a distraction as Darkwing needed. Seizing the moment, Darkwing bit down- hard- onto the overgrown weed. The vine, surprising enough, squealed in pain as it flailed- dropping the masked mallard to the ground.
Disappointment was evident on Megavolt's face as Darkwing freed himself. He had really wanted to see that jerk squeezed like a tube of purple toothpaste. That disappointment gave way to anger, and he turned it upon his partner-in-crime.
"Oh, great job! Great distraction! Who's side are you on, anyway?"
"Oh please, I was only giving you a compliment..."
"A compliment?! I'll give YOU a compliment!"
"That'd be nice for a change."
These two were about as compatible as oil and water, Darkwing mused to himself as he scurried to retrieve his gas gun.
"Oh, would you two give it a rest already?"
Megavolt and Quackerjack stopped bickering long enough to retrain their attention back to Darkwing, who had his gun pointed at them. Not good.
"May I suggest, hugging it out? In prison!"
The gun went off, and out came a snare, rapidly wrapping around the two. They fell to the ground, wrapped tightly together, and unable to do anything but struggle pointlessly like a fly in a spider's web.
Up in the luxury box, far away from the commotion on the field, a very wealthy man hid under a desk, huddled and afraid. He had been busy counting the profits of the day's game when the disaster started. He clutched a heavy metal box to his chest, a box that was overflowing with cash.
When the door burst open, the man screamed, and shut his eyes tighter, trying to make himself as small as he could. He imagined being anywhere but there, to try and calm his frazzled nerves.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are..."
The owner of the stadium could hear the footsteps as the stranger sauntered menacingly around the room. Feeling his heart race in his chest- the pounding enough to echo inside his head- the old man began to sweat. Oh, there wasn't enough blood pressure medication in the world to calm him as he feared for his safety. The owner could hear the stranger on the other side of the room and took that moment to crawl some from out under the desk- maybe he could make a dash towards the exit?
That ended up being a huge mistake, as the moment he peeked out his eyes locked on with the criminal- black mask and red hat revealing to him just how much danger he was in.
"Well well well, " Negaduck uttered with sadistic amusement at seeing the man cowering, "what have we here?" It didn't take long for the villain to make it to the desk where he practically threw the table to the side- showing the full body of the owner. And more importantly, to Negaduck, the money box.
"P-p-please, don't hurt me!"
The evil masked mallard sneered at the man groveling at his feet.
"Aww, you think I could hurt a poor old man like you?" Negaduck laughed. "You'd be right, fatso. That is, unless you fork over what I came for. Then I MIGHT be persuaded to think otherwise."
The owner didn't have to be told twice as he quickly handed the criminal the money box- hands shaking as dollar bills fell to the floor. Negaduck yanked it from him, watching his victim fall onto his face.
"Thanks," he said sarcastically. "Been nice doing business with ya."
"There! It's yours, just like you wanted! So you… you won't hurt me then," the old man asked in fear.
Negaduck placed the box onto the nearest table as he began tapping his bill- his face scrunching up in thought. It quickly switched to mad glee as he pulled a giant hammer out from behind his back- slamming it down onto the owner's head. The old man was seeing stars as he fell onto the ground- knocked out.
"THERE," Negaduck spat," I thought about it."
Retrieving his loot, the masked villain sauntered away as easily as he had came- just millions of dollars richer.
It didn't take a genius to see the team had been beaten, and as far as the Liquidator was concerned, there was no shame in a tactical retreat. With Megavolt and Quackerjack tied up like late Christmas presents, and Bushroot equally tied up- in his own vine arms- it was time to admit defeat and get the heck out of there.
The gun was aimed and ready to shoot, no doubt loaded with powdered concrete or pudding mix, both of which the watery villain had grown an immense distaste for.
"Buh-bye!" No fancy slogans needed for this hasty retreat. Darkwing's confidence ebbed over so slightly when the Liquidator let his semi-solid form go, and he was reduced to a puddle on the ground- a puddle that quickly absorbed into the soil and vanished.
The crime fighter immediately went to his knees on the ground where the villain had just been, but it was too late.
"Well, that's a new one." He muttered. Still, three out of four wasn't too bad, he supposed. Now what, exactly, had these four been up to? It was almost as if...
Darkwing stood up, and looked around. It hadn't been Megavolt's demented cackling over the loudspeaker this time, that was for sure.
"Please, help! Negaduck just ran off with the ticket money!" In all honesty, the man didn't know how long ago Negaduck had run off with the ticket money; all he knew was he had a knot on his head that was going to be sore for days, if not weeks.
"Negaduck?!" Darkwing exclaimed. "Of course, Negaduck! You guys were just a distraction! Oh, how could I have been so stupid!"
"Do you really want me to answer that?" Bushroot muttered. It was ignored.
As Darkwing was struggling with the inner struggle that was going after Negaduck and chancing these guys escaping, of seeing these three off to prison and letting Negaduck escape, Launchpad and Gosalyn returned.
"The Muddlefoots are safe and sound, DW!" LP reported, proudly.
"Yeah, just in time for all the fun to be over, it looks like." Gosalyn moped.
"Right right, good job, that's great! Now I need you two to get a hold of the police to haul these four, eh, three, away. Meet up later, promise!" Darkwing called over his shoulder, already on his way to the parking lot.
"Huh, I wonder what that was all about." LP questioned.
"I don't know, but I'm getting pretty sick and tired of playing errand boy," was Gosalyn's reply. The two made their way back to the phones, in no real hurry now that the danger had passed.
"What are you doing now?" Quackerjack asked the guy sharing an uncomfortably close space with himself. Megavolt's eyes were shut tightly, and he was mumbling something over and over again. When the jester had asked his question, the chanting had become defiantly louder, as if to drown out his voice.
"Megavolt, I asked you a question."
"Would you PLEASE stop MOVING AROUND so much!" Megavolt paused in his chanting to scold Quackerjack. "I am TRYING to calm my NERVES before I blow a FUSE! This has NOT been a good week for me, NOT at all!"
Quackerjack raised a brow at this, before a cryptic look crossed his face. Very much like the time at the toymaker's hideout, Quackerjack's expression changed to one of playfulness that had grown to be the bane of Megavolt's existence. The demented duck started wiggling again, this time seeming to the frazzled rodent like he was snuggling in closer.
"Why Megsy," Quackerjack said teasingly," I know it's a little cozy, but it's not all THAT bad. Sure, you smell a little like old gym socks-"
"Quackerjaaack," Megavolt warned with a growl. He was ignored as the toymaker went on.
"Buuuut, I can honestly say this is the closest I've ever felt to you. Heh. I kinda like it."
The rodent remained silent in the air as he felt like he was being psychologically tortured- all week had been nothing but that awful joking, and unwanted touches, and words that made him simultaneously happy and angry all at the same time. It was simply MADDENING. And not only was he now trapped in an embrace he didn't asked for, hanging like bait, but the chances of them being hauled off to prison was great- where there would be no escape from the crazed clown at all!
Megavolt was brought out of his thoughts as Quackerjack squirmed again, this time feeling more like a big thrust against his suit and swinging them both. The electrical villain sparked, just small enough that it wouldn't be noticeable to anyone unless they were looking for it.
By the twitch on the toymaker's bill, Megavolt would say he most certainly noticed it. Great.
" WELL, Sparky, while I can genuinely say this has been oodles of fun... " Quackerjack began, purposefully cutting himself off as all of a sudden the rope around them fell loose- freeing them as they fell to the ground. He continued, barely phased, as he showed the hand he had hidden suddenly filled with chattering toy teeth. "How 'bout we make like a banana and split?"
Megavolt struggled to his feet, and the sirens in the distance were reason enough to put aside his anger.
"Yeah, let's do that." He nodded, agreeably, and they took off running, careful not to trip over one of the gaping holes in the ruined football field.
Bushroot watched them go. He considered calling out to them for help, but he had a feeling he wouldn't need to.
"The burning question on everyone's mind this week; is it friendship, or is it love?" Asked the familiar voice of the Liquidator as he swirled out from the soil.
"Heh heh. No kidding."
Bushroot gratefully accepted the help of his watery companion, and between the two of them, they managed to undo the knots his body had previously been subjected to. Together, they made a swift getaway, and the police arrived fifteen minutes later to an empty football field.
Chapter 9: Exposed
Megavolt found that being a criminal on the run for over twenty years had some of its own advantages- one of them being the ability to keep under the radar and hidden. And with having hideouts all over the city, he had many locations to help him dodge the blind eye of the law. The problem was, however, that he wasn't just hiding from the sometimes oblivious Darkwing Duck- he was hiding from much more pressing matters than simply being locked behind bars.
He was hiding from Quackerjack.
The plan had come to him after his close encounter with the other criminal. Once he and Quackerjack had escaped and gone two separate directions- in order to avoid the police if they DID end up catching up to them- Megavolt realized he couldn't just go back to his lighthouse. All the Fearsome Four knew that was the place he liked to frequent the most, and would be the first place anyone would look for him. Especially Quackerjack. No, the electrical villain needed someplace a little more obscure, a place that wouldn't instantly come to mind.
Since there was no way he could pack up and move into the basement of NASA, he chose his second option: his apartment on the other side of the city.
Sure, the rent there was a little high, and it had an odd, stale smell to it, but desperate times called for paying a little more for peace of mind.
Unfortunately, peace wasn't so easily found, not even there.
Megavolt laid low for as long as he could, not leaving the sanctuary of his new hidey hole unless he absolutely had to for one reason or another. He lived off of cocktail weenies and strawberry jam for four whole days before his rations ran out, and he had no choice but to venture out. So, under the cover of night, he slipped out, with one mission in mind: find enough food to last until everyone in St. Canard died.
Slinking through the shadows was second nature to him, and he found that, even though he was a little bit terrified, he had missed this a little.
Every noise, every passing car, every gust of wind had Megavolt jumping. He was on edge, paranoid, and for what? Just when he began to feel a little silly, footsteps on the sidewalk behind him caused him to quickly scurry into the nearest alley way.
The alley was very dark and smelled like garbage and urine, but it provided the cover he needed. He watched as a man and woman passed, completely unaware he was there. He was hiding from civilians now? That was just ridiculous, he was Megavolt, he was-
The tinkling of bells and a heavy thud on what sounded like the lid of a dumpster had his heart leaping up into his throat. Oh, he didn't dare turn around, did he? He did. Slowly.
"Mrow." A friendly cat sat on the dumpster behind him, its curious green eyes shining in the darkness. A collar was fitted around its neck, a tiny bell hanging from it. Megavolt sighed loudly in relief.
"Oh, this is stupid!" He told the alley way. "It's been four days, what, do you think he's LOOKING for you? And I thought *I* was paranoid! ... Wait."
He flinched and stumbled backward, almost tripping and falling over discarded trash, when the cat jumped down and began rubbing against his leg. Megavolt never cared for cats; they made him uneasy for some reason.
"Go away. Shoo!"
The natural charge from Megavolt's body ended up reacting to the cat's fur- causing it to puff up into a ball far more fur than cat. And to the villain's horror, the feline of his discontent meowed pathetically as it couldn't move away- stuck against his leg.
"GREAT, now look what you've gone and done!" Megavolt yelled, shaking his leg to try and get it off. The kitty cried out in fear, digging its nails into the rodent's jumpsuit and tender flesh. He hollered. "YOWCH! WHY YOU NO GOOD STUPID CAT!"
With another strong kick the cat went flying off his leg and landing feet away- safely on the sidewalk. The cat took the opportunity to run away, preferring the legs and company of people much less dangerous to their fluffy self.
"Good riddance!" Megavolt spat, now with an aching leg on top of all his other problems. He grumbled. "I'll probably need to pick up some disinfectant now, too… if I ever GET there."
Luckily for the villain there was an open all hours convenience store not too far from his apartment, and soon enough he reached the place and was able to buy the sustenance he needed. Megavolt clumsily stuffed his arms with cans of spaghetti, peanut butter and bread. When he saw the strawberry jelly he shuddered, opting out for the grape- even if the grape always did leave a funny aftertaste in his mouth. Grabbing a few other miscellaneous junk food items, and barely able to see, the criminal made his way towards the front of the store where he ungracefully dropped all his food onto the checkout counter- where a young teenaged clerk shook nervously.
The clerk quickly began bagging everything as Megavolt patted his person- looking for where he had put the few bucks he stashed on himself. His eyes went wide as a sudden jolt of memory hit him- he had left the money on the table. Making all his sneaking and trying to keep under the radar COMPLETELY POINTLESS!
Noticing the super-villain's distress- and realizing the situation could quickly end badly, for HIM- the young clerk thrust out his hands with Megavolt's groceries in them.
"H-here you go, Mr. Megavolt, sir! Free of charge!"
The rodent blinked a few times from confusion, before a genuinely pleased and goofy smile crossed his face.
"Really?" Megavolt took the bags, looking down at them as if he was just handed valuable treasure. He turned back towards the teenager. "Say, what a lucky break! Thanks a lot-" Megavolt leaned forward, squinting his eyes to read the sweating clerk's name tag. "Carl. I owe ya one!"
As far as Carl was concerned, he never wanted to see the crazed criminal ever again. But that fact went ignored as Megavolt happily left the store, making his way back to his home and feeling much better about his night. Why, he couldn't even REMEMBER what had him so upset in the first place!
Three days prior, a mischievous toymaker bounced down the street on a pogo stick, on his way to a rather infamous lighthouse. He found the place empty, quiet, abandoned. Odd, he thought, but all the better! He had come there to have a much needed talk- and then some- with his brain fried friend. He would just wait inside for him, and when he got home, wouldn't he be surprised!
When the next day came and went, Quackerjack came to the realization that Megavolt wasn't coming home. Was he hiding? From Quackerjack? The jester grinned; Megavolt didn't stand a chance. Quackerjack just so happened to be the very best at hide and seek.
Quackerjack bounced away back down the street, leaving a flooded kitchen and a melted rubber boot behind him- both the result of insanity and boredom. The excitement of a brand new game afoot fuelled his glee.
Megavolt made his way down the sidewalk, much less paranoid than he didn't remember being earlier, arms full of newly purchased groceries. He couldn't wait to get home and open up a can of that spaghetti. He could almost taste it now!
His good mood soured and turned back to fear when he heard an oddly familiar sound approaching. The 'boing jingle-jingle, boing jingle-jingle' from around the corner, oddly, conjured up a picture of a small cat with large green eyes. That was ridiculous; cats didn't go boing! That meant...
Megavolt stood in the middle of the sidewalk, frozen in terror, staring helpless as the far too familiar bouncing shadow, cast by a nearby streetlamp, rapidly neared.
Quackerjack was quickly running out of places to seek. It had been nearly five days now, and still no sign of Megavolt! The stubborn duck refused to admit defeat. He scanned the darkened streets as he bounced his way down the sidewalk- the night-owl pedestrians giving him a wide berth.
Rounding a corner, he halted, and put his pogo stick away as he grinned at- a mostly empty street. It was only mostly empty, for a lone, unopened can of spaghetti laid on the sidewalk. How strange! The toymaker frowned as he used one hand to pull out Mr. Banana Brain from his pocket.
"You're gonna be late for your date, Nate!" The doll warned. This caused Quackerjack to smile.
"Oooo, three rhymes. Impressive."
With that he giggled before running down the street- making his way towards Megavolt's hideout.
Back in the alley on the practically empty street, Megavolt dared to peek from his dumpster hiding place. Sure, it smelled of old pizza and diapers, but it had been the only sanctuary he could think of to escape the horror of the bells. Not hearing anything, he felt safe enough to crawl out of his concealment box of offensive stench- making sure to take his groceries with him.
"That demented duck has a bad habit of getting me into awkward spots," Megavolt grumbled grumpily. His mood turned worse when he realized that meant he couldn't go back to the apartment, seeing as the toymaker would be stalking the place. Rats. That left him with no other options but to try hideout number three: the warehouse by the power plant.
"Which is… all the way over on the west end. UUUGH!"
Stomping his way out of the alley, he started to make his way down the opposite end of the street- planning on breaking into and hot wiring the next car he found. The villain paused, before turning back around and snatching up the can of spaghetti a foot away.
He was going to need all the food he could come by, after all.
"And at least THIS one wasn't in the dumpster."
Morning dawned far too early that morning. Spiteful rays of morning sunlight crept through a broken window, awaking a groggy Megavolt. He simply opened his eyes, and stared at the stained ceiling, too achy to do much else.
It had taken only thirty-four hours for Megavolt to run out of places to hide. Quackerjack always seemed one step ahead of him, like the guy was part bloodhound, or something. Under other circumstances, Megavolt may have been impressed.
Even moving from place to place had become dangerous- the electrical villain had quickly decided he was getting a little bit too old to be playing ninja. Barrel rolling out of sight, dropping to the ground to avoid being seen, none of it did any favors for his back.
He swung his legs over the side of the dilapidated couch that had served as his bed the night before, and groaned as his back and head throbbed in protest.
"So, here I am. Nowhere left to run. Cornered, trapped like a ... uh. Something, that's easily trapped, I guess."
If he was being honest with himself, the thought of giving up was a comforting thought. Not only was he tired of running, but he was tired of running alone. Despite everything, Megavolt found he really missed his friend.
If they were still friends at all, after all of this, that was. That thought sent icy daggers through his chest. He held his breath as he fought the tears. Suddenly, he whipped around, ignoring the flaring pain in his back from doing so, and pointed accusingly at the broken toaster in the corner.
"This is all your fault, you know." He growled. He shot up off the couch, and snatched up the appliance. He glared down at the face reflected back at him- as good a place as any to direct his anger. "You finally had a friend, and what do you do? You ruined it!Ruined, ruined, ruined!"
Though the room was silent, Megavolt glared at the toaster as he heard it speak perfectly clear in his head- really just a buffer of his own thoughts.
"Is having feelings really all that bad? So you love the guy, big whoop."
"YES. It's a VERY big whoop- the biggest whoop a guy can have! It's worse than a power plant having a nuclear meltdown-dooming all life on Earth as we know it!" A pause. "Well, okay, no- that really does sound a lot worse on a global scale. But feeling this way is a disaster- for me!"
The villain, taking the toaster with him, plopped lethargically on the couch. Megavolt sighed sadly, before giving the household appliance a look of contempt.
"Oh, what do YOU know. The only love you've ever known was with the blender- and you guys are happily engaged! You couldn't begin to comprehend the madness I'm going through." He set the toaster to the side, before slumping forward and holding his head in his hands. " I miss him. But I can't be around him without feeling like I'm mere milliseconds from everything I once enjoyed falling apart. I can't focus when he's around, I feel like my systems are overloading and I just don't like it!"
Megavolt peeked over at the toaster, taking in his own miserable expression.
"But I MISS him." The rodent admitted again. "I miss him and want to see his stupid self, with his stupid grin, and hear his stupid laugh- even if it's at my expense! I want to go out on some random adventure he made up off the top of his head that makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE BY THE WAY, all because I like playing his dumb games. Because I like HIM. "
He just couldn't win, could he? No matter what, he was going to be miserable. Of course he was. Because that was what being dragged deeper into madness was all about. That's what being pulled into Quackerjack's orbit did to people. And he was hopelessly trapped, never to escape.
Megavolt didn't get to last in his self contained misery for long, before he was jolted from his thoughts by his front door exploding into a million pieces.
"WHAT IN THE NAME OF EDISON'S GHOST?!"
No, not ghosts- but standing in the big hole that had once been his door was just the guy he had been lamenting about: Quackerjack, sporting a large mallet that was bigger than he was.
"THERE you are, Megsy!" The toymaker cried joyously, abandoning his mallet and leaping through the entrance. "I gotta say, buddy, you put up a real good fight. But, alas, nobody can beat ME at a game of hide-n-seek. I win!"
Megavolt didn't even put up a fight when he was wrapped in a big hug. It was nice. He had missed these, too. He actually returned the hug, awkwardly.
"Yeah, uh, good job. You win." This whole thing was oddly surreal, and not nearly as horrible as he was making it out to be, boy did he feel silly.
"What did I win?"
The whisper in his ear made Megavolt freeze. He shoved Quackerjack away, roughly, and glared daggers at him.
"Don't you dare start that now! That kind of thing is the exact reason I'm in this mess to begin with!"
Quackerjack laughed, and Megavolt had expected nothing less.
"No, Bulb-brain," He replied, after he had gotten his giggles under control. "You're in this mess because you're terrible at flirting.Honestly, Megavolt, you're doing it all wrong! When you like-like someone, you're supposed to give them hugs, and kisses, and their enemy's head on a silver platter! Not run across the whole city trying to avoid them."
Megavolt just stared at his guest. He couldn't tell if he was being made fun of or not.
"So... you knew?" He questioned, not in anger, but out of genuine fascination.
"Well of course I knew, Sparky! Why do you think I've been chasing you for a whole week?"
"... Because you really like hide-and-seek?"
"No, silly!" Quackerjack paused. "Well, okay, admittedly I DO absolutely LOVE it. But I REALLY was looking for you because we seriously need to talk about your issues, Megavolt. Suppressing isn't healthy, ya know."
The serious way in which the toymaker said his concern was enough for Megavolt to do a double take in surprise. He looked as his pal skeptically.
"Is that more of your fake psychological mumbo jumbo? C'mon, Quacky, I know you're not a REAL doctor."
"No," Quackerjack retorted with a huff, leading the rodent back to the couch and forcing them both to sit down. "But I'll have you know my minor at college WAS in psychology. So close enough! Now do I need to pull out the paperwork, or what?"
Megavolt still doubted that fact, but let it slide. He sighed again as he brought them both back on topic.
"So… you knew, huh? So you're telling me I went through all that trouble of hiding for nothing?!" Frustration at himself turned into anger at the demented duck as something else dawned on him. "And that means you've been making fun of me the whole time for it!"
Quackerjack rolled his eyes.
"Now don't you start that with me, Mister Hide-Away-Jones. It's not my fault you're so easy to work up! Besides, I wanted to see how long you were going to take until you finally SAID something."
"Oh and tell you what? That I find myself drawn to you more than the magnetism between two magnets? And have you laugh at me, make me feel humiliated on top of everything else, before being outright rejected and having our friendship ruined?" The electrical villain glared. "Yeah, no thanks."
The toymaker on the couch was silent as he looked offended, crossing his arms across his chest as he turned himself away with a huff. He sat like that for a while, and that stupid passive-aggressive behavior was starting to make Megavolt feel like he was going to blow a fuse from anger. Right when Megavolt opened his mouth, ready to say something, it was the other villain that beat him to the punch.
"You really think the worse of me, don't you? Think just because I choose playtime and enjoying myself over being a big ol' fuddy duddy, that I'm some childish monster with no heart what-so-ever." His glare softened. "You were so busy thinking about how YOU felt, you didn't even stop to think how *I* felt. You weren't playing faaaair, Megsy."
Megavolt scrunched up his brow in confusion.
"'How you felt?'" He asked.
"Yeah, how I felt." Quackerjack said with an assured nod.
Admittedly, Megavolt hadn't put much thought into that. Whether it was because he genuinely didn't think to ask, or he was afraid to- even he didn't know. But the idea was so new and foreign that he felt his jaw slack and he looked at his best buddy in wonder."
"How DO you feel about me?"
The toymaker smiled widely, grabbing both sides of Megavolt's face so that his focus was on him completely.
"Why, Megavolt, isn't it obvious? I've considered you mine for a loooong, long time."
"...Yours?" Megavolt lightly grabbed Quackerjack's wrists and removed his hands from his face.
"So does that mean we're ...?"
"More or less."
"Huh. Well, that sure makes this whole thing a lot less embarrassing." He finished with an awkward chuckle, and an awkward silence followed it. He cleared his throat, and glanced away.
"So, um. What now? I've, never been someone's 'more or less' before." That was when he was shoved backward onto the old couch, Quackerjack tackling him like an excited puppy.
"Ohh, I can think of a few new games we can try!"
As he stared up at that mischievous grin, he thought that just maybe, the occasional system overload might not be so bad, after all.