by Roaming Tigress
On one muggy night on May 26th, 1982 in the city of St. Canard, a small, shadowed figure carried a small box through a dimly-lit parking lot. In the poor lighting, the figure revealed to be a daintily built she-duck with a black patch of feathers over each eye. Her disheveled hair was black as ebony, and the expression on her face was a mix of sorrow and desperation.
Her name was Fantine. Already she had five children from the same abusive drunkard that was her husband. She was either too blindly devoted - - or afraid - - to leave him. At the age of twenty-eight she looked twice her age after years of drug abuse and prostitution.
In her arms was a small, well-worn cardboard box covered with a blanket. Inside was a quiet, shivering infant duckling, white, with a black patch over its right eye. The sound of a motorcycle zooming past startled him into a crying fit, but the soft voice of his mother he soon calmed down.
Written in permanent marker on the side of the box was "Javert Adair, please take care of him." The child was only a few hours old, and the woman's husband had threatened to kill her and the child if she did not give him up. Before she could even cut the cord, she was ushered out the door and ordered to drop him off at the social service's building.
"Alright, we're here . . . " She spoke softly, cautiously crossing through the dimly-lit parking lot of The Fiendish Organization for World Larceny. Clutching the box against her chest, she crept along the wall and approached a large, metal door. Believing this was the orphanage she was directed to, she knocked on the door and waited a moment.
"I don't want to do this, baby Javvie, but it's for the best . . . " Fantine whispered, reaching into the box and giving the infant one last kiss.
It had been a week since a bomb had been detonated at the evil organization's headquarters and security had stepped up. Any suspicious persons, especially ones with packages, were shot on site. Already they had lost two agents and High Command was not going to take any more chances. Each agent was worth more than gold to the organization, and the loss of even one could mean the difference between the company's success and failure.
Two F.O.W.L guards, one a middle-aged Lanier Falcon wearing a black body suit. Sitting next to him was a young beige American Bulldog in an old-style police uniform, watched Fantine from inside the parking lot's security night stand. The falcon, upon seeing her, drew out an assault rifle only to have the bulldog motion for him to lower it down.
"Easy with the aim, Millfried . . . " The muscular dog growled. "If you hit that box, you might set off the bomb."
"I know what I'm dong, Thorton!" The falcon hissed, smacking his companion upside the head and taking aim for her again. "I won't set off the bomb if I take aim for her head, ya idiot!"
Fantine placed the box down on the porch, and slowly began to walk away. Feeling herself tear up again, she took off, sobbing quietly. She rushed past the night stand, and with two well-placed shots to the head, she crumpled to the ground, dead.
The guards walked out of their night stand a moment later and approached the box with a bomb detonating device. The sound of a baby crying had startled the guards enough to drop their weapons.
"But I thought . . . " Thorton murmured to himself, looking over at the body of the child's mother. For a rare moment in his life, the dog felt sympathy.
"If only I knew . . . "
Millfried remained cold to the infant's plight. Whatever would become of the orphan was none of his business. He looked to the box at the infant with disgust, and gave the same look back to Thorton. A hardened agent, the falcon had no remorse for anyone, or anything. Be it a small child, a friend, or family member.
"Don't tell me you feel sorry for the kid!" He scoffed at the sight of the fellow FOWL employee going soft. "Just dump it off at the orphanage and help me drag that dead broad to the wood chopper. Better yet, toss the kid in wtih her then the two can be together in Hell!"
With a heavy sigh, the bulldog reached into the box and looked the child over. He took notice of the name on the box and looked back at his partner. "Well, in a way - - "
"Sap!" Snarled the falcon, roughly snatching the child away from Thorton and shoving him aside. "This squalling brat may be of use to High Command!"
The bulldog slid on a patch of ice and abruptly fell on the ground with a loud thud. He looked up at Millfried with a raised eyebrow, curious of whatever was on his smarter partner's mind. "You surely jest! Whatever would High Command do with a baby? Aside from killing it, anyways?"
An evil grin, the falcon helped the dog up onto his feet and lead him into F.O.W.L headquarters. "You'll see soon enough!"