Duck and Cover

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Part Four

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"Any ideas?" Leonardo whispered back to his brothers.

Don pressed a button on the small remote he had palmed in his hand. "Mine'll be here in a few minutes."

"We don't have a few minutes!" Raph hissed back.

"Then we'll have to stall as long as we can," Leonardo replied. He could only watch as Ace and the kids were tied up near the rocket-powered tree, right within roasting distance when the rocket packs were fired. Leo looked around for anything that could help. The previously captured committee members had fled. There were several decorations hanging around, he could use those...

"Isn't this cool!" the little boy exclaimed. The little girl squirmed and "accidentally" elbowed him in the ribs. "Ow!"

"Okay, knock it off you two," Ace said to them. "We have to figure a way out of this."

"We?" the girl asked. "You're the hero."

Ace snapped his head around. "Then listen to me when I tell you to try and get those skinny arms of yours free!"

Both children were momentarily stunned into silence, and then they started to wiggle free of the ropes.

Shredder activated his communicator again once the foot soldiers signaled that they had finished attaching the rockets to the tree. "Krang, we're ready to proceed!"

"Good. I'll be waiting."

Donatello noticed that Foot soldiers moving away from the tree. "They're ready to blast off!"

Without a second's hesitation, Leonardo struck out with his katana and sliced through a string of garland hanging near him. That garland, along with the banner that was hanging from it, fell from it's supporting hooks onto the stage.

Shredder looked up when he noticed the shadow being cast over him. "NO!" He put his hands in front of his face as the giant cloth banner covered him and his gang. As they fought to find their way out the Turtles rushed over to Ace and the kids.

The girl was already free except for some loose rope wrapped around her middle, and she was pulling at the knots in Ace's ropes. Raphael snatched her up and carried her to a safe distance as the others hurried to rescue the other hostages. Leo took a knife to Ace's ropes, but the boy had pulled his too tight for Leo to use the knife without cutting him.

Donatello cast a panicked glance as the engines started smoking and humming louder. "Hurry up, guys, those things are going to take off any second!"

"We're working as fast as we can!" Mike snapped, but at the same time he doubled his efforts.

"Look out!" Leo, Mike, and Don provided cover for Ace and the boy as the engines began vibrating and flames shot out from underneath.

Then, slowly, the tree lifted up into the air. They were all so focused on the airborne evergreen that they failed to notice that one of the ropes connected to the tree was still connected to the boy. That is, until it became taut and the boy was pulled from Michaelangelo's grip. He soared upwards after the tree, screaming his little lungs out the entire time.

Everyone lunged for the trailing rope, but Ace duck was the only one who managed to get a good grip. And soon he, too, was being pulled upwards as the rocket-powered tree made it's way towards its destination.

Ace hadn't even realized what he was doing until he'd climbed all the way up to the boy and looked down.

"Ace, what have you gotten yourself into this time?" he mumbled to himself. "Well, obviously, we can't go down, so..."

Ace grabbed hold of the boy and pulled him around his shoulders. "Hold on!" he yelled over the roar of the engines. When the boy had a tight, maybe a bit too tight, grip around his neck, he undid the ropes around the boy's ankle. Then he climbed up the rope towards the tree.

They were swinging in the wind, and it took all of Ace's strength to keep from slipping backwards. Finally, they reached something somewhat sturdy and climbed up onto the top of the engines. Ace knelt down; boy still attached to take a look at one of the control panels. "Now, let's see..."

"Ace, look!"

Ace turned and looked towards where the little boy was pointing. Right in the path of the tree-rocket was a blimp! And not just any blimp, but one with a big Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles logo on it. Ace instinctively ducked down as the tree crashed right into the blimp. The tree shook violently and Ace just couldn't keep his grip. He and the boy went flying from their relatively safe perch. Ace was lucky enough to hit the rapidly deflating blimp, but the boy was not so lucky. He tumbled, feet over head, down towards the city below.

Ace slid down the balloon and landed right on the glider wing. He quickly crawled into the driver's seat and grabbed the control stick. He only needed a second before his mind fell back into old habits. Standard control placement. So the glider release is... He pressed the button and the glider released with a slight hiss.

Instantly, he was heading downward after the boy. He had to swerve around several giant ornaments that were flying from the beached Christmas tree. He was nearly taken out by a giant plastic candy cane. He swooped down, executing a couple spirals, and snatched the boy just feet above a rooftop.

He took them back up to a safe and stable altitude. "It's okay, you're safe now."

The boy lifted his head up from being buried against Ace's flight jacket. He looked with wide eyes up at his hero, who had just saved his life. "I knew you were a real hero!"

Ace looked down at the kid and chuckled. He spotted the Turtles and Miss O'Neil on a rooftop and brought the glider in for a landing. The boy jumped off Ace's lap and ran over to his blonde friend. "Jessie, Jessie, you're never gonna believe what happened!" He started retelling the story to his friend at super speed, using those animated expressions and gestures that only kids seem to be able to get away with.

Mike clapped Ace on the back. "Dude! I knew you could do it!"

Leonardo smiled. "That was excellent piloting, Ace."

"Yeah, surprised you managed without your stunt man and director," Raph said. Leo elbowed him in the ribs. "Ow! What?"

Don looked depressingly into the distance as the Christmas tree and their blimp balloon landed in the ocean. He sighed. "We lose more blimps that way."

"This happens often?" Ace reached up to adjust his hat only to find it not there anymore. "While this was a fun adventure, I think I'm going to leave the heroics to you four from now on. I'm getting way to old for this."

The group shared a hardy laugh before going to take the kids back to their parents.

***

Back at the lair, the Turtles, Splinter, and Ace, all sat around the TV set to watch April's news report.

"And so, while the City's Christmas tree was not able to be saved, a heroic rescue was made."

The camera switched to a picture of the boy and his friend. "These ugly bad guys tied us up and the tree flew up into the sky and I flew up too and then Ace Duck flew up and saved me!"

April smiled as the camera cut back to her. "And there you have it, folks. Heroes really do exist. Ace Duck was not available for a full interview, but he did comment that, quote, 'I couldn't have done it alone. I owe a great deal to the city's real heroes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.'"

Mike turned to Ace. "You sure you don't wanna stay?"

Ace stood up. "I'm sure. This isn't the life for me. I now understand that my job isn't just to entertain children for a half-hour each day. I'm a role model, a hero, and that's a big responsibility. Hopefully I can instill within this next generation the values and ideas to make them all better people in the future. But don't think you've seen the last of me, I'll be sure to drop in whenever I'm in town." Ace smiled and waved as he left the lair with a new outlook and purpose in life.

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Authors note: Of course, we all know I don't own any of the characters in this story except for the random people, the director, and the kids. (*winks at Azure*)

I just wanna say thanks to all my reviewers, you guys are great motivators. And I wanna thank all the Ace Duck fans out there who ranted about how such cool of a character got an action figure, but no episode. This one's for you guys!