Chapter 6

Drake looked out the open window of his kitchen. The warm floral scented spring air gently wafted into the kitchen. He breathed in the fresh morning air and looked to the Muddlefoots' backyard.  On this Saturday morning, Gosalyn was playing baseball with Tank and Honker. Binkie came outside and briefly spoke to the youth before going back into her kitchen. Drake turned from the window and deeply sighed. He went to a dinette chair and plopped down. He hunched his shoulders and began to reminiscence….

Drake thought back to the FOWL Mind Control Mission. He remembered that as Darkwing Duck, he got back to SHUSH HQ with Launchpad and Lady C. SHUSH Director J. Gander Hooter was astonished by the sheer depravity of FOWL's schemes. Director Hooter ordered Darkwing, Launchpad and of course, Lady C to report to SHUSH's top research scientist Dr. Sara Bellum for observation.

Dr. Sara Bellum and her research team had been studying the confiscated FOWL scientific data from Project Pygmalion and The South Pole Consbrainer 800 facility. They had puzzled out how the mind control and programming worked and how to reverse the process. Thankfully, Dr. Bellum was able to fully descramble both Darkwing's and Launchpad's brains from the FOWL mind control damage. Darkwing figured he and Launchpad were acting a little off. Unfortunately, helping out Lady C wasn't going to be so easy.

Dr. Bellum complained there was so little data recovered from FOWL's cloning project, Ditto Design. What little that was recovered pointed to the concept there were special DNA markers in the clones. The FOWL scientists supposedly gave the clones not only the markers to identify them as clones but to also keep track of their "birth order." Dr. Bellum wanted proof of Lady C's identity since Lady C was so adamant that she was the real Binkie Muddlefoot. That claim presented a really grave predicament since there was already a Binkie Muddlefoot. Darkwing had to covertly retrieve feathers from not only Binkie but from the Muddlefoot children. As Drake Mallard, he felt guilty by sneakily plucking feathers off his neighbors. The worse part was getting a feather from Tank, who became enraged and yanked a handful of feathers off of Drake's tail. Drake was so happy that his feathers grew back fast; since there's nothing worst than a bald backside. Lucky for Drake, it was very late autumn and he could cover up.

Darkwing got the Muddlefoot feathers back to Dr. Bellum. Dr. Bellum then sadly revealed she had obtained one other DNA sample from the known Binkie clone who officially perished in the destroyed DD sky facility. Darkwing felt his heart sank, not only because that Binkie had died but he hoped that particular Binkie was Lady C. With that theory obviously incorrect, there were now two remaining possibilities; Lady C was either another clone or Binkie prime.

Dr. Bellum and her research staff worked feverishly to uncover the truth and when it was discovered, Darkwing wasn't all that surprised. It was like somehow in his soul he really knew the truth on the Thunderquack's flight back SHUSH HQ; even though he logically wanted to deny that truth. It turned out that Binkie Muddlefoot and the Binkie clone had DNA markers that were absent in Lady C, Tank and Honker. It meant only one thing—Lady Cleaver was the original Binkie Muddlefoot and the real biological mother to the Muddlefoot children. Dr. Bellum also puzzled out from the DNA markers, the Binkie who had passed away was Binkie #2 and the Binkie who was acting as Binkie Muddlefoot was Binkie #1. It seems FOWL made a perfect unadulterated clone before creating a modified spy clone. Dr. Bellum believed maybe the reason was so the FOWL scientists could study just how good a duplicate they could create before going on to the altered clone creations.

With the horrible discovery that Lady C was really Binkie, it had to be figured out why she was used for Project Pygmalion. Fortunately, the PP files were fully intact and in SHUSH hands much to FOWL's chagrin. Darkwing reckoned instead of pestering Dr. Bellum for answers he would go to the source. He clandestinely got his hands on Binkie's complete classified SHUSH/FOWL files and found out the sick reality. FOWL HC and Steelbeak wanted to use Binkie clone #1 as a test of the greatness of DD reproduction of a higher organism. They planned all along to either have Binkie #1 rescued or released into the wild for later observation. They then in turn used the real Binkie Muddlefoot for their first test subject in PP. The FOWL scientists loved the idea of using an unwilling original test subject for the project. If a repressed unassuming suburban housewife could easily be converted into a fiendish assassin; it should then be a snap to convert willing subjects and mindless clones.

To add to the horror, Binkie's true memories supposedly were erased and new memories were programmed into her mind. She was mentally altered to find bliss in combat and pleasure in annihilation of FOWL enemies, especially SHUSH's independent operative, Darkwing Duck. Binkie was also given extensive and experimental combative physical training to make her an efficient deadly assassin. She mastered techniques in a fraction of the time that would've taken years to learn by conventional methods. Binkie was also enhanced physically, so when her adrenaline response was triggered, her degree of speed and strength would considerably amplify thereby increasing her combative prowess.

A portion of making a successful duplicate clone needed the replication of the original's memory data. To make a modified spy clone required the alteration of the memory data and thought processes. To make a successful super solider needed an even more radical approach to the subject's memory banks and mind processing.  Therefore, all that research gave rise to FOWL's achievement of the Mind Control Project; first, the prototype of Consbrainer 45, and then the larger, more powerful, twin Consbrainer 800s.

Darkwing was so thankful FOWL's brainwashing and mind control techniques weren't perfected or he wouldn't have been alive to be horrified by FOWL's sinister schemes. At least, by going through the classified files, Darkwing felt some sense of closure to the mystery of what really happened to the original Binkie Muddlefoot.

Dr. Sara Bellum realized somehow the real Binkie would have to be placed back with her family. Darkwing hated how he had to get the Binkie clone to SHUSH HQ to tell her the real truth of her existence. All things considered, the Binkie clone took it better than he originally thought. She mentioned that for some strange reason she believed she was just going through the motions of her daily life. She stated that she simply felt out of place. The Binkie clone was planning on going to see a therapist for her unexplainable funk. Darkwing felt terrible that he really didn't notice anything was wrong because he had been avoiding Binkie since the cloning caper. The whole situation with Binkie, clone or not, unnerved him.

Dr. Bellum didn't like what she had to do. Dr. Bellum thought it was unethical but it wasn't like there was a better alternative than to re-boot Lady C's memories and give her the apparently untainted memories of Binkie clone #1. That way it would be like the real Binkie never left home, well sort of. Lady C was informed that because the Binkie clone had some memory of being kidnapped by FOWL, she will have to live with those memories. Lady C stated she didn't mind since those memories would be like a picnic in the park compared to what she currently remembered. Dr. Bellum commiserated Lady C's plight and decided to carry out the plan. SHUSH scientists perfected FOWL's memory processing techniques so that there shouldn't be any breach in the processed memories. Dr. Bellum abhorred programming in Binkie's mind a few false memories to fill in memory gaps and inconsistencies, but it was a necessary evil if Binkie was to fully reintegrate into her former life. The memory process was then completed with the real Binkie's memory "restored". The Binkie clone was subsequently taken into a SHUSH rehabilitation program in an undisclosed location.

Dr. Bellum and SHUSH's research team afterward took the real Binkie and successfully stripped her of her super solider mental and physical enhancements. Dr. Bellum assured Darkwing that Binkie Muddlefoot was completely back to normal with one exception. Currently there was no way to deprogram Binkie's physical combative training. Dr. Bellum explained Binkie shouldn't know how to use her physical skills but Binkie will have for sometime an athletic physique. At least, Binkie wasn't super powered anymore so she shouldn't be a danger to anyone. Darkwing groused there had to be a catch somewhere. 

Drake's mind snapped back to the present when he heard Gosalyn screaming like a banshee that she got a homerun. Drake griped he'll probably be paying for another neighbor's broken window. He got up and went to the fridge to get a bottle of water. He went back to his seat in the kitchen, opened the bottle and began to sip the water.

Drake mused how after the real Binkie was reintroduced in her family, Herb really perked up. Herb had no clue what had happened. The times that Binkie disappeared was explained away as emergency family business in Twin Beaks. Binkie's athletic built was accounted for that she exercised and the results suddenly showed. Herb never questioned any of that, but he must've felt something was inexplicably wrong with his wife. Drake remembered Herb commented it was a Holiday miracle and stuff that Binkie was back to her usual chirpy self.  Not that Drake noticed any difference since he stayed away from Binkie as much as possible.

Drake just didn't feel the same towards Binkie since the cloning fiasco and the whole Lady C ordeal made things worse. He knew Binkie's memories were reset but it didn't reset everything. Drake deduced that when he saved Binkie's life about a year ago as Drake Mallard; it must have started awareness in Binkie's mind that he wasn't what he appeared to be. A part of him wished that memory in Binkie's mind was erased but he somehow knew it was probably that memory which saved his life when Lady C was going to kill him. Matter-of-fact, being Drake Mallard is what saved him from killing himself. Drake sighed at the verity of the double-edged sword of having a secret identity. Well, Drake knew if he had to do it again he would still gladly save Binkie's life as Drake Mallard. Saving a life took precedence over maintenance of a secret identity. Besides, so far he didn't believe Binkie at this point knew that he was Darkwing Duck. Maybe she had nothing more than a wild suspicion. And if she ever did know the truth, well … he would have to deal with that dilemma when the time came. At least now he had some warning to his secret being discovered.

Launchpad came into the kitchen from the main hallway. He waved and said, "Good afternoon, Drake."

Drake weakly smiled.

Gosalyn bolted into the kitchen from the backyard door. She yelled, "Dad! Mrs. Muddlefoot has made us all a delicious lunch. There's a lot of food."

Launchpad licked his bill. "Yum, yum!"

Drake grimaced. "Yeah so?"

"You're both invited!" Gosalyn said.

"Goodie, I'm so there!" Launchpad replied.

Drake sighed, "You two go. I have housework that needs some catching up."

"You can't just wait 'til later to start your chores?" Gosalyn dejectedly asked.

"No," Drake coldly answered.

Gosalyn frowned then bolted back out the door.

Launchpad sat down on a dinette chair and lowered his voice, "Gee, Drake how long are you going to avoid Binkie? Are you still mad that she beat you up really bad?"

Drake growled, "No! She was physically enhanced! There's no way she could've bested me otherwise." Drake deflated and moaned, "Launchpad … ah … you wouldn't understand."

Launchpad puzzled aloud, "What—your little crush on Binkie?" Drake's eyes bulged in shock. Launchpad continued, "Remember, I've seen how you ogled Binkie's sister Trudi. Then I saw how you leered at Lady C when you thought she was a clone. I figured then you might really have a crush on Binkie."

Drake twitched his bill and embarrassedly looked downward.

Launchpad patted Drake on the back and said, "I've been your sidekick long enough to understand you better than you give me credit. Don't worry, Drake. It happens to the best of us but I know you're a good person and you wouldn't act on those feeling."

Drake's head lowered a little more and his shoulders slumped.

"Besides, with crushes before you know it, they disappear. You'll be fine."

Drake looked up with a little bit of hopefulness in his heart.

"You should try to reconcile with Binkie, don't you think it's about time?" With that said, Launchpad got up and went out back.

Drake thought about what Launchpad said. Drake sighed and realized that despite his little slip up with the Binkie clone, he acknowledged what he did was wrong and he vowed never to give in to such temptation ever again. Actually, he didn't give into his dark nature in the Thunderquack with Lady C. Drake acknowledged that he has been around long enough to know everyone has dark impulses; but it's not acting upon them that separates the virtuous from the villainous. 

Drake got up from his dinette chair and tossed his empty water bottle into the wastebasket. He went out back and walked over to the Muddlefoot backyard.

Gosalyn ran over to her Dad and gave him a hug. She gleefully laughed, "You finally decided to stop moping."

Drake wrapped an arm around his preteen daughter and hugged. He replied, "Yup."

Gosalyn happily ran over to the little spread Binkie had put out. Binkie kept with the baseball theme. On the picnic table were hot dogs in buns, chili con carne, cheese spread, various relishes, potato chips and lemonade. The youth and Launchpad were seated at the picnic table where they were happily munching away. Drake was famished since all he had this morning was a pot of coffee and some water. He thought about eating but first he wanted to address why he really came over.

Drake saw Binkie step out of the house into the backyard. He walked over to her and bashfully grinned. He timidly spoke, "Um … Hi, Binkie."

Binkie beamed at Drake and replied, "Hi, Drake." She was so happy Drake came by. She hadn't really spoken to him since about this time last year; the time of their unfortunate kidnapping by some fiendish underground organization. Something about that incident must have greatly unsettled Drake. He became extremely reclusive, far more than normal. Binkie had no concrete idea why Drake was so reclusive but she did have her theories. She exhaled and ran her hands through her fluffy canary yellow coiffure.

Binkie and Drake vacantly stared at each in an awkward silence before Drake spoke up, "Um … er … Binkie?"

"Yes, Drake?"

"How have you been doing lately?"

"Oh fine, how are you?"

"Great," Drake replied. He glanced over Binkie and sighed. She looked like her usual Binkie Muddlefoot self and she seemed like her usual Binkie Muddlefoot self. So it seemed that everything was back to the status quo. Drake grinned contentedly.

Binkie flushed slightly when she noticed Drake was staring at her a little too long with a giant goofy grin. Drake blushed when he realized that Binkie was a little agitated.

Drake nervously coughed then said, "If you need anybody to talk to, about anything, I'm here." Drake jumped when a big nasty fly buzzed past his eyes.

Binkie delightedly clasped her hands and responded, "Why, thank you Drake. That's so nice of you. I'm always here for you too." The same fly whizzed around Binkie's head and startled her.

"I love springtime but not the nasty bugs," Drake griped as the fly landed on his bill. He shook his bill to get the fly off then waved his hands around in an effort to get the fly away from him.

"Oh yes, sometimes the flies can get a little pesky," Binkie agreed. The fly hit her square in the head. She scowled, jumped back and snatched the fly out of the air. Binkie opened her hand with the fly. She looked at the squashed bug and grimaced. Binkie whined, "Oooh! Gross!" She disgustedly shook her hand. 

Gosalyn saw Binkie's feat with the fly. Gosalyn ran over to her dad. She looked admirably at Binkie and commented, "Keen gear! Don't mess with Mrs. Muddlefoot!"

Drake nervously laughed. He knew in the pit of his stomach that he will have to let go of the idea of having any serene suburban normalcy in his life.

Darkwing Duck with all respective characters and references are copyright of The Walt Disney Company. Used without permission for non-profit entertainment purposes. All other characters and story are copyright of Honey Bear.