Shades of Grey
Frantically, Joey raced through the wreckage. 'This can't be happening,' he thought. 'This is our base! Nobody should be able to do this! Not to us! Not here...'
Suddenly, he heard the sound of glass shattering. Joey skidded to a stop and quickly looked around for the source of the sound. Almost immediately he spotted a gaping hole in the wall. "Just through there..." Grimly, Joey pulled out his gun. "Whoever's responsible for this is about to get a very rude awakening...."
Joey dove through the hole and rolled to a crouch. There was only one other person in the room, and he was standing next to a shattered wall of glass. Without hesitating, Joey leveled his gun and fired off several rounds into the figure.
Slowly, the figure turned to face Joey. "Defective weapons got you down? Tired of bullets that just don't seem to work?" Joey gaped in astonishment as he realized who the speaker was. "Well then... Tough luck!"
"But-- But-- You work for me now! How is this... How are you..." Joey began staggering back away from the Liquidator. Finally, he got out a coherent question. "What's going on here?!"
"Inquiring minds want to know..." Mocked the Liquidator. "I should tell you, inquiring minds really piss me off!"
Joey's nerve failed him and he bolted away. The Liquidator began laughing menacingly, making no overt move to stop Joey. As Joey ran, a rumbling sound filled the building. Suddenly, the ground beneath Joey crumbled and gave way. Before he could stumble, water began shooting up through the holes. Joey let out one last scream of terror before he was engulfed in the geyser.
The geyser died down as Liquidator approached. He took a moment to survey the wreckage before nodding his approval. "Whomever you were, you may now consider yourself 'wiped out.' Now, what store should I destroy next? Survey says..." Liquidator trailed off as he heard the loud whine of a jet engine. "This bodes ill..."
Suddenly, an explosion wracked the far wall of the building. Liquidator turned just in time to see the Thunderquack crash right through him. The Liquidator was torn apart, while the Thunderquack continued through the next wall before coming to a stop.
Slowly, Liquidator began to reform himself. "Oy... Experts agree, being hit by a jet hurts..." Still only half re-formed, Liquidator tried to look around. Liquidator spotted the Thunderquack and started to move towards it. However, halfway there he almost lost cohesion, and had to take a moment to steady himself. "I do not feel well. I may need to..."
Liquidator's concentration was broken when a purple smoke cloud appeared near the Thunderquack. "I am the terror, that flaps in the night! I am the Deux Ex Machina, that foils your perfect scheme! I... Am DARKWING DUCK!" Darkwing triumphantly stepped out of the cloud. "Hiya, Liquie. Did'ja miss me?"
"Not in the least duck!" With that, a still partially re-formed Liquidator lunged at Darkwing. And missed completely. Darkwing smirked as he watched Liquidator slam into the wall next to him. Liquidator slowly got up, even shakier than he was before.
"You did miss me!" Beamed Darkwing. Liquidator rushed him again, but Darkwing easily sidestepped out of the way. Liquidator turned and threw several wild punches at Darkwing, none of which connected. This amused Darkwing to no end. "Be honest with me Liquie. You just crawled out of the bottle for this fight, didn't you?"
"Shut up!" Yelled the Liquidator. The combination of Darkwing's taunts and his own inability to even see straight was making the Liquidator very angry. Howling in frustration, he charged Darkwing. However, Liquidator's cohesion gave out, and he 'tripped' and collapsed into a puddle. At the sight of this, Darkwing started laughing out loud.
Frantically, Liquidator tried to reform himself. "No," he gasped. "No! I'm-- I'm disincorporating! I can barely even stand up!" Even as he said this, Liquidator collapsed again. This only made Darkwing laugh even harder.
Liquidator tried to reform himself again, but could only make it up to his torso. Desperately, he called out. "Darkwing! Please, you've got to help me! I've-- I've--"
"Fallen and you can't get up? Don't worry Liquie. I'll give you a hand." Darkwing grinned mockingly and extended his hand in a token offering of help.
Suddenly, some movement in the background caught Darkwing's eye. He glanced up and saw a column of water shooting straight at him. The Liquidator was consumed by the blast before Darkwing could even react. He only had time to let out a muffled scream before the water slammed him into the wall.
"That was not part of the plan..." From her perch on the parking garage, Angela Redwing stared at the mall. She had had watched as the Thunderquack crashed into the mall. But that was several minutes ago, and she hadn't seen anything since. Now Angela was worried that she might be watching her plans fall apart.
"Darkwing Duck... It just had to be Darkwing Duck. The only one in town who could stop this, and he just has to show up..." Angela thought for a moment. "Liquidator don't stand much of chance. Darkwing's gonna stop him, and find out who he's workin' for. Then he'll come after me... I gotta get outa here!"
"More than you realize, sister!" Angela whirled around to find herself staring face to face with Rachael. "Now really Redwing, did you honestly think you could get away with this? That we wouldn't find you?"
Forgetting her earlier concerns, Angela walked up to Rachael. "Actually, it really doesn't matter how much you know. 'Cuase its already too late to save your gang. The Greys are finished!" Angela paused, while Rachael continued to glare at her. "And if you don't show some respect and get out of my face, you'll be finished too." Rachael didn't move. "Have it your way..."
Angela reared back to punch Rachael. However, Rachael ducked, grabbed Angela's arm, and threw her over her shoulder. Angela landed hard, but quickly got back to her feet. Angela moved in for another attack, but a few swift kicks drove her back into a defensive position.
Rachael decided to press her advantage and charged. Angela saw what was coming and jumped to one side. However, Angela jumped away too soon, as Rachael hadn't yet committed herself to her attack. Rachael did a quick sidestep and leapt at Angela, hitting her with a flying roundhouse kick. Angela fell to the ground and made no attempt to get up.
"So this is the 'mighty' Angela Redwing," mocked Rachael. "Pathetic..." Rachael kicked the fallen Angela. Angela doubled over in pain, but at the same time, grabbed the led that had just kicked her. Before Rachael knew what was happening, Angela kicked her other leg out from under her. Rachael fell back, her head cracking on the pavement.
Angela was instantly on her feet, while Rachael struggled to even sit up. Angela leapt over to Rachael and delivered a swift punch to her head. Rachael fell back down, and Angela rushed on to her motorcycle. Angela started the engine and sped off before Rachael even got to her feet.
Angela's bike raced through the corridors of the parking garage, and her thoughts raced just as quickly through her situation. Darkwing Duck had figured out what was going on, or he would very soon. The Greys also knew what was going on. Both would come after her. And worst of all, her ace up her sleeve, the Liquidator, had most likely been defeated.
By the time she left the parking garage, Angela had reached one undeniable conclusion. "I need help..."
"He just ruined my best hat," muttered Darkwing as he dragged himself to his feet. "All right Liquie, you're going to pay for that! Nobody drenches Darkwing Duck and gets aw-- Auuuuguuh!" Darkwing's threat was cut off by another blast of water. Darkwing got back up sputtering.
"The Surgeon General warns that taking Liquidator Brand Mouthwash in large doses could be hazardous to your health." Liquidator reached out his arm and sent another blast of water at Darkwing. "Boy, talk about stating the obvious..."
Darkwing dove to the side avoiding the blast. Liquidator quickly launched a second blast, catching Darkwing before he could dodge it. Darkwing was panting hard, and decided he needed a breather. Fortunately, he knew just how to buy time against the Liquidator: idle banter. "Well, you sure perked up quickly. Did you find a can of Jolt, or what?"
Liquidator smirked confidently. "Really, Darkwing, you me better than that. Would I ever use anything that didn't bear the Liquidator brand name?" Liquidator finished his statement by launching another token attack at Darkwing, which was easily avoided.
'That's it Liquie, just keep yapping,' thought Darkwing. 'Don't pay any attention to what I'm doing.' While Liquidator had been talking, Darkwing had begun discretely changing the cartridge in his gas gun. To keep Liquidator preoccupied, Darkwing continued the banter. "Well, there was that once incident at the jello factory a few years back... Or did you mean besides that?"
Much to Darkwing's surprise, it was not Liquidator who answered him. "Liquidator, stop fooling around! Finish him!" Darkwing whirled to face the speaker, who turned out to be a young duck in a leather jacket and gray bandanna. The speaker was also soaking wet, and more than a little ruffled.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah..." Muttered the Liquidator. Before Darkwing could react, he was driven into the wall by a blast of water. A second blast caused the wall to collapse, completely burying Darkwing.
Liquidator turned to Joey and bowed. "Viola, monsieur. Your 'Canard a la Rubble' is finished."
"Whatever," muttered Joey. He was still sore from his encounter with the first Liquidator, and was in no mood for flippant remarks. Plus, he still hadn't quite figured out how there could have been a 'first Liquidator.' "Just keep quiet while I try and figure out what's going on..."
Silence fell over the mall for a moment. Abruptly, Joey's cel-phone began ringing. "Now how'd that thing survive?" Liquidator opened his mouth to say something, but a stern glance from Joey kept him quiet.
"What'da'ya want?' Demanded Joey into his phone. "Yeah Rach, I'm in the mall. Yeah, I'm fine. Yeah... Really..." There was a long pause as Joey listened to his phone. As he listened, his face hardened into a scowl. "So Redwing is behind this... Listen Rach, I'll call you back. I've got a hunch I need to follow..." Ignoring Rachael's protests, Joey folded his phone and stuck it back in his pocket.
Stoically, Joey began walking out of the building. "C'mon, Liquie. We're outa here." Obediently Liquidator followed. "And don't start with the wisecracks. I've got a headache..."
Once again, silence fell over the building.
This time, it was broken by a very uneasy Launchpad. "Uh, DW... You still here, DW?" Launchpad nervously walked across the wreckage. "You all right, DW?" Launchpad heard some mumbling coming from a pile of rubble. He hurried over to the source of the sound and began pushing away the wreckage.
"Launchpad, I thought I told you to stay in the Thunderquack." Darkwing's voice was still very muffled and distorted, but it was undeniably his.
"Well, yeah," replied Launchpad as he continued to dig. "Its just that things seemed a little quiet out here, and I figured you might need some help handling things."
Darkwing's beak was unearthed, but that was it. "I assure you Launchpad, I have things completely under control."
"Right..." Launchpad rolled his eyes as he continued digging out Darkwing.
Saint Canard business district... Nighttime...
Angela Redwing's motorcycle screeched to a halt in front of a run down store. Angela leapt off the bike and dashed into the store, letting the bike collapse onto the ground. Only when she was safely inside did she pause to catch her breath.
After she left the parking garage, Angela had headed straight for this building. However, while on her way, Angela ran into some trouble. The Grey gang was more disciplined than Angela had anticipated, and had not panicked when she attacked their headquarters. Quite the opposite, in fact. They had become more serious. More brutal.
During her flight, Angela ran across a pack of Greys routing her Angels. Two of the Greys had tried to come after her. Angela had lost valuable time loosing them. Even now, she still felt as if she had been followed.
"All the more reason to do this now," she mumbled. Trying to calm herself, Angela walked up to the desk and rang the bell that was on it. For several moments, nothing happened. "Come on..." Angela rang the bell again, becoming quite agitated. Again, nothing happened. Angela started pounding on the bell. Still no reaction.
Angela slammed her fists into the desk in frustration. She glared at the bell as she tried to rein in her temper. Slowly, her gaze shifted to the sign next to the bell. The sign read 'Closed. Please come back later.'
"Like heck I will," muttered Angela. Angrily, she hopped over the counter and over to the door. Angela checked the door, and found that it was locked. "Easy to fix..." Angela pulled out her gun and shot the lock. Because she was still angry, she then kicked in the door.
As the walked through the doorway, Angela found herself looking at a vast array of shelves, chemical vats, and machinery. "Whoa..." In spite of herself, Angela was impressed.
While Angela was gawking, a shadowy figure in a trenchcoat and fedora walked into view. The figure cast a disdainful glance at Angela. "Perhaps my message wasn't clear enough for you, so let me put it in simpler terms: Go away."
Angela was startled by the figure's sudden appearance, but quickly regained her composure. "I would, but I'm kind of pressed for time. I need to talk to you now!"
"Indeed," said the figure, harshly.
"Yeah. I ran into some trouble. I need one of your thugs again."
The figure's voice lost its edge. "Ah, I see. I believe we might be able to work something out. I don't have one ready at the moment, but it shouldn't take too long to get one ready." Abruptly, the voice hardened again. "But first... Show me the money!"
"Now?!" Angela was taken aback. "But... Last time--"
"Last time, you didn't barge in here after business hours. And you didn't ruin my door. So I'll say it again. Pay up front, or get out."
Angela was becoming quite unnerved. "But, I don't have anything with me right now! Can't we--"
The figure turned and walked away from Angela. "Sorry. no money, no deal."
"You... You can't just walk away from me!" Yelled Angela.
Furious now, Angela screamed at the departing figure. "Nobody walks away from Angela Redwing! Nobody!" With that, Angela whipped out her gun, and shot the figure in the back.
As the bullet ripped through him, the figure paused. He sighed, and in a very exasperated tone said "Now, you've made me mad..."
There was a loud scraping sound as Joey's car slid into his parking space. As he got out of his car, Joey smiled with grim satisfaction at the state of the motorcycle he just ran over.
Liquidator got out of the car and examined the wreckage. Then he glanced up at an imaginary sign above the cycle. "Warning, no parking after dark. Violators will be crushed at owner's expense." He glanced at Joey. "I guess she should have paid more attention to the signs."
"Yeah. Lets go in. You remember what to do?"
"Of course. You need only give the word..."
Silently, the duo entered the building.
From the cockpit of the Thunderquack, Darkwing gazed down at the streets below. "Okay Launchpad, they've stopped. I'm going in."
"Wha'd'ya want me to do DW?"
Darkwing glanced back at his sidekick. "Stay up here LP. Fly a holding pattern around that building." Darkwing pointed down at the building below them. "And watch for anyone trying to get away. If anyone leaves, follow them. Especially that guy in the gray car..."
"Sure thing. Good luck DW!"
"Thanks, LP, thanks. Open the hatch." Launchpad complied, and the canopy of the cockpit opened up. "Goiiiiiiing down." With that, Darkwing leapt out into the night.
With panic in her eyes, Angela began backing into a corner. "No! It... You can't... It isn't possible!"
The advancing figure paused. "Now, without knowing exactly what is it your talking about, since you haven't actually specified anything, I'd hazard a guess and say it IS possible." The figure let out a mocking chuckle. "Have you always had such a hard time excepting reality?"
"Actually..." Both Angela and the figure whirled to face Joey, who was standing in the broken door frame. "Miss Redwing has always lived her own little fantasy world. Drop the gun, Angel."
Realizing she was outnumbered, Angela dejectedly tossed down her gun.
"Smart girl..." The figure moved forward to retrieve the gun. However, before he could reach it, a bullet struck the barrel of the gun, sending it skidding across the ground. The figure whirled to face Joey again, but this time found himself staring down the barrel of Joey's pistol.
"Don't think you're getting off easy either," growled Joey. "Did you think I wouldn't find out? That I wouldn't notice the Angels were using the same 'muscle' as I was?" Joey didn't give the figure time to answer. "Well, I did. Let me tell ya, I don't take kindly to double dealers." Joey raised his gun. "Any last words?"
The figure stood his ground and stared back at Joey. "Go ahead. Make my day..."
"Certainly." Joey pulled the trigger.
The sound of shattering glass suddenly filled the warehouse. Reflexively, Joey, Angela, and the figure looked up to find the source of the sound. What they saw was a billowing ball of smoke falling straight down through the skylight. The smoke ball hit the ground and mushroomed out, quickly engulfing the whole enclosure in purple smoke. And out of the smoke, came a voice...
"I am the terror, that flaps in the night..."
"Never thought I'd be glad to hear that phrase," muttered Angela as she slunk back against the wall.
"I am the lightning, that strikes from the blue!"
The figure glanced around in annoyance. "I do not need this..."
"I... Am DARKWING DUCK!"
"And you're supposed to be dead!" Furious, Joey began firing randomly into the smoke.
"Be careful where your shooting." Joey turned around to see the figure appear out of the smoke. "I've got some very delicate machinery in here."
"You're supposed to be dead too!" Joey raised his gun and shot the figure in the face.
The figure winced as the bullet passed through him. "You know, that is becoming quite annoying..."
"Aw, blast it," muttered Joey. "I was afraid of that..."
"If you can't play nice with your toys, you'll loose them." As he said this, the figure's arm morphed into a tentacle. The tentacle quickly lashed out and snatched the gun from Joey's hand. "Get my drift?" The figure grinned menacingly. "So now its my turn to say it. Any last words?"
Joey smiled in a cocky manner. "Just two. Flood it!"
Before the figure could react, the ground beneath him crumbled, giving way to a geyser. The gun flew from his hand as he was completely immersed in the column of water.
Elsewhere in the building...
As the smoke cleared, Angela found herself crouching next to a shelf of vials. She glanced at the labels of the vials. An evil grin came over her face.
"That's enough, Liquie!"
The geyser abruptly died down. As the last of the smoke cleared away, the Liquidator could be seen standing where the geyser had been. He raised his hands, ready to accept the adulation of an imaginary crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen... The Liquidator has arrived!"
"...And is about to leave!" Liquidator turned to the face the speaker, but instead found himself looking at a cartridge flying straight at him, trailing smoke. Instinctively he dove away. When he looked up again, he saw Darkwing Duck standing triumphantly, holding his gas gun. "Oh, and Liquie, you out-did my entrance. You're going down. And its going to hurt."
"Wanna bet, Deadwing?!"
Darkwing cast a sideways glance at Joey. "'Deadwing?' That's a new one..."
"Remember the odds Darkwing." Liquidator was preparing himself for another attack. "Two-to-one. While those may be good in Vegas, its not something most people like in a fight." Liquidator launched a blast of water at Darkwing.
However, halfway to its target, the blast was intercepted by another blast of water. Joey saw this and was infuriated. "Liquidator! What was that about?!"
Liquidator looked at Joey with a shocked expression on his face. "That wasn't me!"
Joey was interrupted by a voice from above. "That would've been my doing." Joey looked up at the hole in the roof. Silhouetted against the dimly lit night sky, he saw the outline of a figure. The figure seemed to disappear, and black water cascaded through the hole. On the ground, the water condensed itself into the black, yet unmistakable form of the Liquidator.
Darkwing shook his head dejectedly. "Why must everyone try to outdo my entrances?"
The black Liquidator stared angrily at his blue counterpart. For his part, the blue Liquidator seemed quite unnerved. He cast an uneasy glance at Joey, hoping for some instructions.
Instructions he got. "You're full power. Take 'im out!" Joey's voice was confidant, yet the look on his face was anything but. "Wipe 'im out! Just like you did the Angel's Liquie!" This seemed to boost the confidence of the blue Liquidator, who returned his attention to the black Liquidator.
This seemed to amuse the black Liquidator. "'Full power?' Meaning what? A full tube of Deuterium?" The blue Liquidator and Joey exchanged worried glances. "Fools... Allow me to show you the TRUE meaning of full power!"
Joey backed away slowly as the black Liquidator seemed to bulk up. Suddenly, several tentacles of water shot away from him, aiming strait for the blue Liquidator. The blue Liquidator managed to destroy some of the tentacles with blasts of water, but several tentacles made it through his defenses and began batting him around. The problem was compounded when the black Liquidator began launching some water blast of his own.
The blue Liquidator was overwhelmed and was forced to fall back. He slowly worked his way backwards, while still trying to fight off his attacker. All too soon, he ran out of room. Backed into a corner between a large vat and some heavy machinery, the blue Liquidator prepared to make his final stand.
"Come on, Liquie! Take 'im out!" With a concerned look on his face, Joey watched the fight between the two Liquidators unfold. To Joey's great distress, the blue Liquidator, his Liquidator, seemed to be loosing. Nonetheless, Joey kept yelling out encouragement.
Forgotten, Darkwing stood off to the side regarding the scene. "This is quickly becoming my oddest case in quite some time..." Darkwing glanced at Joey. "Now, the question is, should I question this loon now, or after this whole fiasco is over with?"
Joey continued yelling. "Move it Liquie! Don't just stand there and-- Redwing?! What's she still doing here?" Seeing his rival, Joey instinctively reached for his gun. Unfortunately, he had already lost his gun, and found his holster empty. "Crud! All right, plan B!" Joey was about to take off running when blow to the back of his head caused him to collapse.
Darkwing stepped over the now unconscious Joey. "After the fiasco it is." Darkwing glanced over to the dueling Liquidators. A young duck, assumably the 'Redwing' character that Joey had mentioned, was running towards them. "Maybe that kind soul will enlighten me as to what is going on around here." With a calmness, and sarcasm, not normally shown during battles, Darkwing strode over to join the fight.
Backed into a corner, the blue Liquidator fought for all he was worth. With a suddenly flurry of offense, he began driving his opponent back. "He slices." Liquidator obliterated one of the attacking tentacles. "He dices." The blue Liquidator launched at water blast at his counterparts chest, catching him by surprise. "He even comes in designer colors." The blue Liquidator smirked proudly. "What more could you ask for?"
"A mute option." The black Liquidator's humor seemed to have left him. "And a self destruct button."
"When you're selling fire, you're liable to get burned." The blue Liquidator smirked as he continued his counterattack. " Ever heard of Ceavet Emptor? Let the seller be ware?"
"That's 'let the buyer beware' you imbecile. The BUYER!" The black Liquidator sighed disgustedly. "Obviously, my cloning procedure needs some kinks worked out. And for the record, fire is the last of my worries."
"Then allow me to introduce you to the first." There was a pause in the action as both Liquidators turned to look at Angela Redwing. Despite have been recently roughed up, Angela looked very calm as she stared down the two Liquidators.
The black Liquidator sighed again. "Miss Redwing, haven't we already gone through this? You are hardly a threat to me."
Angela smirked. "To be more precise, allow me to introduce you the first, second, and third of your worries." As she said this, Angela pulled several vials out of her jacket, and poured them on the floor in front of her. Three watery forms rose up, and condensed themselves into three identical, green, Liquidators.
The black Liquidator sighed again. The blue Liquidator seemed even more amused than before. "Behold! The Liquidator... In Technicolor!"
"Liquidators!" Wordlessly, the three green Liquidators faced Angela as she addressed them. "Attack and destroy the blue and black Liquidators! And anyone else who tries to stop you!"
Despite the forcefulness of her orders, the Liquidators remained motionless. Two of them just stared at Angela, while the third cocked his head and looked at his two companions.
"Well?! Get moving!" Angela wasn't sure how to react to their lack of reaction. "I gave you an order! Attack them!"
The black Liquidator stepped forward and began speaking in his most condescending tone. "Miss Redwing, do you remember what I said when you first came here? About 'not having anything ready at the moment?' Did you think I was lying to you?"
Angela still wasn't sure how to handle the situation. "What are you saying?"
"The three vials you obvious stole from the shelves are not completed Liquidators. They still require several key ingredients before they are fully functional. They can't do anything more complex than blinking."
The blue Liquidator interrupted. "The Liquidator is NOT an over the counter thug."
The black Liquidator scowled at his blue counterpart, then resumed. "The green color would have told most people that something was amiss, but I suppose that sort of subtle symbolism is lost on someone such as yourself... Now, Miss Redwing, this is the second time you've interrupted me tonight. I'm afraid you'll have to be punished for that."
Angela began slowly backing away in fear. "No... You.. You wouldn't..."
"Besides, your constant stuttering is really getting on my nerves." At this, Angela turned tail and ran. The black Liquidator launched a series of water blasts after her. The first blast slammed into an unfortunate green Liquidator who was in the way. A second blast knocked him out of the way. The third blast hit its intended target, knocking Angela out cold.
The blue Liquidator couldn't help but comment "Nice Shot."
"Why, thank you." Oddly enough, the black Liquidator actually seemed to appreciate the compliment. "Now, where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?" A low rumbling filled the building, and was soon followed by a geyser erupting where the blue Liquidator was standing. The black Liquidator smirked sarcastically. "Aw, now I remember."
After a moment, the black Liquidator extended his hands in a dramatic gesture. In response, the geyser split itself into two prongs. Between the two prongs was a very pained blue Liquidator. "Had enough yet?" The black Liquidator queried.
Though he was struggling to keep his cohesion, the blue Liquidator's response was forceful and definite. "Not by a long shot!"
"Suit yourself." The black Liquidator dropped his arms, and the two prongs slammed back together.
At the same time, the black Liquidator felt something slam into his back. He looked down and saw that the object, a gas cartridge to be exact, had lodged itself into his body. As he watched, the cartridge began releasing its gas. The effect was somewhat unsettling.
"And that, my friend, is what you get for ignoring the hero." Liquidator whirled to face Darkwing. Now knowing he had Liquidator's attention, Darkwing continued his little tirade. "Yeah, remember me? That 'annoying purple clad duck that always foils your schemes?' The person who you're supposed to pay attention to during a fight? The person your SUPPOSED to fight? Any of this ring a bell?"
The Liquidator snarled fiercely. "Yes, it does Darkwing. And now I'M going to ring YOUR bell!" As he said this, several tentacles grew out of Liquidator's back and lashed out toward Darkwing. Darkwing evaded the attacks, but not with ease. Liquidator stepped up the attack by launching a series of water blasts at Darkwing. As Liquidator's attention became entirely devoted to the fight with Darkwing, the geyser weakened, then disappeared entirely, leaving behind a battered and bruised blue Liquidator.
Meanwhile, Darkwing was becoming overwhelmed. As he evaded one of the tentacles, a water blast struck him in the chest, sending him sprawling across the floor. Even as he was tumbling backward, Darkwing's mind was racing. He hadn't expected Liquidator's counterattack to be so sudden or forceful. Darkwing needed something to slow down the fight. Fortunately, he had just the thing for the job.
As Darkwing regained his footing, he held his arms out towards his opponent. "Hey, Liquie... Here's mud in your eyes!" Suddenly, small jets of purple gas shot out from Darkwing's arms, quickly obscuring him from sight.. "Or more precisely, here's SMOKE in your eyes!" Over the years, Darkwing had developed many useful gadgets. One his more recent acquisitions was a pair of miniature gas dispensers that were stored in his sleeves. A very helpful 'last chance' gadget, and much less hazardous than the old buzz-saw cufflinks.
"Gah!" The Liquidator's tentacles slashed through the gas cloud, searching for Darkwing. "What are you Darkwing, a duck or an octopus?"
Another smoke cloud appeared to the side of Liquidator. "Me? An octopus? Who's the one with the tentacles, Liquie?" In response, two tentacles lashed through the new cloud, hitting nothing.
Meanwhile a third cloud formed on the opposite side of Liquidator. "And while I'm asking questions, what's with your new color? Did you get caught in an oil spill, or are you just going for the 'raven' look?"
Liquidator growled in frustration. "That's it! I've had enough of this! Quote the raven..." Suddenly, innumerable tentacles shot out from Liquidator. "NEVERMORE!" The tentacles lashed out in all directions. Darkwing was struck by one and sent sprawling.
However, almost as quickly as they had appeared, the tentacles retracted back into the Liquidator. As he got up, Darkwing saw that the Liquidator was bent over, clutching his chest. "Hmmp... 'Bout time that stuff kicked in..."
At the sound of Darkwing's voice, Liquidator looked up. "Something... Something's wrong with me... What's going on? What have you done to me?" Liquidator's voice was pained and far more raspy than normal. Indeed, his entire complexion seemed to have changed in an instant.
"Really, Liquie, I'm surprised you have to ask that." Darkwing smirked condescendingly. "Don't you remember getting hit with a gas cartridge about, oh, thirty seconds ago?"
A look of understanding came over Liquidator's face. In the heat of battle, he had never expunged the cartridge from his body. "You mean..."
"Yup. That particular cartridge was one of my 'special cartridges,' designed specifically for you. What you're feeling is a chemical reaction slowly solidifying your body. Once you're nice and immobile, you'll be placed in a warm, comfy, watertight prison cell." Darkwing chuckled. "But don't worry too much. The effect will wear off. In about twelve hours."
Liquidator glanced around desperately. He could feel his powers slipping away from him. He was barely even controlling his own body. If he didn't escape immediately, he wouldn't get a second chance to try.
Unfortunately, there was no way to escape. At least not in his current condition. Once he realized this, his gaze returned to Darkwing. "Well, Darkwing, it looks like I'm going down... But not before I take you with me!"
Mustering all his strength, Liquidator lunged towards Darkwing. Darkwing wasn't expecting an attack, and was too slow to get out of the way. Liquidator tackled Darkwing, and the two both went sprawling. After a very brief scuffle, Darkwing found himself pinned to the ground by the Liquidator.
In what seemed like an agonizingly slow process, Liquidator's right arm morphed into a tentacle. The tip of the tentacle then morphed into a spike. Liquidator reared his arm back, preparing to deliver the final blow. "Its over, Darkwing..."
Suddenly, a pair of blue arms wrapped themselves around the spiked tentacle. In response, Liquidator whirled around and attempted to catch his assailant with a wild punch. However, the assailant ducked under the swing, and in turn threw Liquidator over his shoulder.
Liquidator landed with a dull thud. He slowly got back upright and turned to face his attacker. His expression was one of complete shock as he saw Joey's blue Liquidator standing in front of him. The last thing he saw before he blacked out was the blue Liquidator releasing one last, massive water blast.
The blue Liquidator stared at his fallen opponent, breathing heavily. His voice was labored, but nonetheless held a note of pride in it. "Once again... Victory... Belongs... To the Liquidator..." Liquidator raised his arm in a gesture of triumph, then slowly melted away, until he was nothing more than a puddle on the floor.
Later, Inside a Saint Canard prison facility...
"...Would like me to relay his thanks for your help in this matter, Darkwing." The Warden was escorting Darkwing through the corridors of the prison. They had just left the main compound, where Angela Redwing and Joey Matthews were being held, and were entering the maximum security sector. "The Commissioner also wanted me to relay his apologies for not being able to tell you this in person. He had... Other business to attend to."
Darkwing smirked. He knew, just as the Warden did, that the Commissioner didn't really have 'other business' to attend to. The Commissioner was just bitter that two of the city's most noteworthy gang leaders had been captured, and that the city police had nothing to do with the arrests.
The Warden, however, had no such cares. All that concerned him was that he had a few more prisoners under his watch. One of those prisoners happened to be the reason he was leading Darkwing into the heart of his prison.
At length, Darkwing and the Warden passed through the last checkpoint. "Well, here we are," said the Warden as he looked around the room. "Quite and interesting catch this time... Would you mind explaining how you managed to send me FOUR Liquidators?"
"Certainly," said Darkwing. It had taken Darkwing a while to figure out the details of the case, but now that he had, he was eager to explain them to someone else.
"To put it simply, Liquidator has found a way to clone himself. I don't know exactly how, nor is that really important. The fact remains, he can do it." Darkwing paused for emphasis. "...To a point. The clones aren't perfect replicas. For one, they seem to require Deuterium to live. Since Liquidator has never needed the stuff before, I can only conclude that Deuterium is necessary to help 'complete' the clones. Also, the clones have limited lifespans and recuperative abilities.
"However, the clones do have one key trait: Liquidator's control over water. Because of this, the clones are nearly as powerful as Liquidator himself, and can easily pass themselves off as the original. Liquidator's scheme was to have his clones portray himself, as a mercenary, a 'thug for hire.'"
"Huh..." The Warden grunted as he took in the information. "Makes sense. The clones do all the work, and the original keeps the money. And as long the real Liquidator keeps a low profile, and the clones never meet, nobody would suspect a thing." The Warden grunted again. "And if the clones don' last too long, they couldn't be tracked. By the time you got on one's trail, it would 'wear out,' leaving you with a dead end. Dang... Haven't seen a scheme that good in years..."
Darkwing raised his eyebrow. Despite his gruff demeanor, the Warden did know a thing of two about crimefighting. "It was a good one, but it did have its flaws. For one, it required constant supervision by the original. Liquidator had to keep producing new clones, and then get the clones to whomever had 'hired' them. In addition, he had to make sure that the clones never met, or more importantly, that no one else knew there were two or more Liquidators.
"And that's where he slipped up. Maybe it was an oversight, maybe he was getting greedy, or maybe he just didn't know where his clones would be used... But whatever the case was, Liquidator hired out two clones to two sides of a gang war. Things started getting noticed, people started realizing things, and Liquie's whole operation went down the tubes."
"Basically, you got involved." Darkwing smiled at the compliment. The Warden continued. "So what happened to the two clones you mentioned? Are they two of the green Liquidators? Or is one of them that gray guy? Matthews was part of the Grey Gang, after all..."
"Nope. Both clones were wiped out during the fighting. And the green Liquies are 'unfinished' clones."
"So... Then who's the gray guy?"
"The original," Darkwing replied. The Warden cocked his head in confusion. "As I already mentioned, the original Liquidator was in charge of the whole operation. He had to find potential customers, work with them, and ultimately supply them with a clone. But, at the same time, he also had to make sure they thought the clone was the real Liquidator. To do this, he wore a disguise. A black trenchcoat, black hat... And black dye!"
"Of course..." Things were falling into place for the Warden. "With an outfit like that, he'd look like just another crime boss who didn't want to be seen.
"Precisely," quipped Darkwing. "A veritable walking shadow. His current color is merely the result of some of the dye passing through his system. Pretty soon, the rest of the dye will wear away, and we'll have our old blue friend back."
"Not that anyone will notice." The Warden grinned at Darkwing. "The last of the paperwork got filed an hour ago. It official: The Liquidator is on his way to the Tomb. All we need if for you to give the cell one last check out before we send it down."
The Warden led Darkwing to a large metal box near the corner of the room. The box was actually a high-tech temporary prison cell. It was water tight, air tight, and soundproof. In short, it was completely sealed off from the outside world. It had only one purpose, to hold prisoner while they were transported to the Tomb.
The Tomb. The Warden shuddered as he thought about it. The Tomb was Saint Canard's only ultimate-security prison. Indeed, the only ultimate-security prison in the world. It was located nearly a mile below the surface of the Earth and was entirely self contained. There were no guards at the Tomb, as the complex was completely mechanized.
Sara Temple, its designer, claimed the Tomb was inescapable. The Warden was beginning to believe that she was right. He had only sent one other person to the Tomb, and that person never came back. The Tomb had held Negaduck over a year now, and it looked like it would hold him for a long time to come...
The Warden's train of thought was broken when Darkwing finished his inspection. "Well, looks like everything's secure. When does he get sent down?"
"Assuming nothing goes wrong, we should have everything ready by tomorrow night." The Warden paused. "Well, I think that's it. One of my boys will escort you back to the main compound. I'm sure you can find your way out from there." The Warden gave Darkwing a slight salute, and watched him walk away.
After Darkwing had left, the Warden walked back to the cell. He casually glanced through the construct's only window. Just as the Warden had suspected, Liquidator had seen Darkwing through the window, and was pounding on the cell's wall with renewed vigor. The Warden smirked at the futility of the attacks. "Well, Liquie, hope you enjoyed your time in the spotlight, 'cause it's over now and it's never coming back. Enjoy the Tomb..." With that, the Warden walked away.
Inside the cell...
The Liquidator pounded his fists against the window in frustration. "No! Don't leave me like this! Let me out of here!" Liquidator watched helplessly as the Warden walked away. "You can't do this to me... Please... Don't do this to me..." Liquidator lowered his head in despair. When he spoke again, his voice was barely a whisper. "You don't understand... I'm just a clone..."
Nighttime... Saint Canard business district...
A lone figure strode through the shadows of an abandoned store. He glanced around, looking at the damage that had recently been done. Shelves were overturned, machinery was broken, chemicals had been spilled, and to top it off, there were several gaping holes in the ceiling.
The figure shook his head and sighed. "Looks like the overseer didn't do so well. Pity... I had worked so hard on this set-up. Its a shame it had to end so soon... Well, not much else to do but pick up the pieces and move on."
The figure raised his arm dramatically. In response, water in a small tank below the building began rising. As it cruised through the pipes on it's way to the surface, it carried with it a small black box. A small fountain erupted near the figure, with the black box supported on top of it.
As he opened the box, the figure's face brightened. "Well, maybe he didn't do so bad after all..." The figure closed the box and glanced around the store again. "Hmm... I still have the cloning formula, so this scheme doesn't have to be over. If I salvage some of this equipment..."
The figure shook his head. "Nah. The scheme has run its course. If it's begun again, they'll catch on immediately. And the second time, they won't stop until they're sure it's over." The figure paused for a moment. "Perhaps it's time to fade from the stage, and work from behind the scenes for a while. Let them think the show is over... If they forget about me, my reappearance will be all the more dramatic..."
With that, the figure tucked the box under his arm, and faded away into the night...
End. Roll credits and the Darkwing Duck closing theme.
Disclaimer: All official Darkwing Duck characters are copyright Disney. No infringements were intended. All other characters are copyright me, and who knows, maybe I'll actually use them again someday. In any case, please send any questions, comments, or random thoughts to Charlie 'Crash' Stadele at firstname.lastname@example.org.