I do not own any of the characters in this story; they all belong to Disney. I am only borrowing them for entertainment purposes, not for profit.
"My dad is totally going to kill me!" Gosalyn moaned as she walked home from school. Honker shrugged.
"If you had studied instead of going out and playing baseball, you might have passed the math test, you know," he said, rubbing his beak where his glasses rested and shrinking back as she glared at him.
"Well, how was I to know that you have to memorize math rules? I can count, can't I? Isn't that enough?" Gosalyn demanded.
"Not for your dad," Honker replied. They had reached the Mallard household, about as inconspicuous a house as one could find in St. Canard, which is exactly why Drake Mallard had chosen it to house himself, his adopted daughter, and Launchpad. Drake Mallard, the secret identity of Darkwing Duck, was as cautious a father as he was active as crime-fighter. And with the same results: criminals winced at his approach, and so did a less than studious daughter. To Gosalyn, age 11, being grounded was preferable to the prison time the criminals served. Gosalyn turned to Honker with a desperate look on her face.
"Honk, you got to tell my dad that this isn't my fault! Why don't you just come inside with me and we'll..."
"No way!" Honker said, stopping at the walk to his own house next door. "I don't want to get in the middle again. Besides, I have to start getting ready for the science project." And before Gosalyn could argue, he turned and hurried into the house.
"It isn't due for five months!" she shouted after him. Then she sighed and grumbled to herself, "Well, it wouldn't have killed him to come in and just help me out, would it? It's so unfair! His parents don't care about grades or how late he stays out. Why is my dad the tough one?" As she opened the door to her own home, however, she felt a rush of peace and gratefulness sweep through her, though she would never have admitted it. Gosalyn had been alone in the world most of her life, abandoned by her parents, and left completely without any family when her grandfather died. Darkwing Duck, in rescuing her from the adventure involving her grandfather's machine, had come to care about her. The adventure had ended by Darkwing adopting her and becoming Drake Mallard, a single father trying hard to raise a spunky duckling. Gosalyn loved her father more than anyone or anything in the world, and combined with that love, she idolized him, secretly longing to be just like him when she grew up, although she would have said herself that she would have more common sense and fewer bad jokes. But the truth was that Gosalyn and her father were a pair, a team, a family, and she would never, ever, have traded this life with him for any other. And although they fought over school, activities, and especially the danger associated with his crime-fighting, Gosalyn knew deep down inside that her father loved her, too.
"Gosalyn!" Drake Mallard's voice met her at the front door, and it was stern, although not angry. Gosalyn sighed and asked, "What did I do now?"
"You, young lady, are in big trouble. I was trying to do some laundry, and when I went into your room, what do you think happened?" Drake was now standing over her, looking stern. He also had a bandage on his head. Gosalyn chuckled nervously.
"You saw my big messy room?" she asked innocently. Inwardly, she was berating herself for forgetting to disarm the booby traps she had set up in the room, largely to keep intruders and blood-sucking aliens out, an idea inspired by the most recent late-late-late horror movie. Gosalyn was practically addicted to old scary movies. Her dad was not as enchanted with them, or the ideas it planted in his daughter's head.
"I saw a boxing glove on my broom headed for my face! And the nets, and trip-wires? Were they just part of your regular mess?" Drake asked, crossing his arms and waiting.
"Well, you know, if any blood-sucking aliens come around while I'm in school, I don't want them to break into my room you know!" Gosalyn argued, and then hastily added, upon seeing the look on her father's face, "They might want to steal my books for school!" Drake shook his head smiling fondly.
"Right, your books," he said sarcastically. "And speaking of school, how was that test, dear?"
"Um...well...see..." Gosalyn rocked back and forth on her feet while the fond look on her father's face melted into exasperation.
"Gos, you've got to work harder on your school work! School leads to college, and college leads to jobs in the real world! There's a lot in school that you'll need later on in life!" Drake had had this argument with his strong-willed daughter many times. Now and again they seemed to end in her actually doing some work, but the rest of the time they ended in fights, or else she gave him a sweet face that he couldn't argue with and got away with doing no homework again. Every time he told himself he'd be stern the next time, and every time he failed at it. He loved her too well, and when she let go with that face, he just melted inside. He tried a new tactic. "Honey, don't you want to be a hero when you grow up?"
"I want to be one now," Gosalyn retorted.
"Yes, well, what you learn in school will help you! How do you think I built the gas gun, the Ratcatcher, or any of the gadgets I use? How do you think I know about science, so I can put together what my fiendish foes are up to? How do you think I know..." Drake looked for another example, "how valuable stolen items are? It all comes from my studying in school!" He patted himself on the back for coming up with a third scholastic tool in his work. He bent down to Gosalyn's level and smiled. "You've got all the instinct and guts any hero ever needed, but until you really learn about the world, you're still going to be behind most of the criminals. Look at Bushroot and Megavolt," he said reasonably, naming two of his greatest enemies. "They were scientists, the best of their day! If I didn't know about plants and electricity, I wouldn't be able to fight them! But I do, so I am, and that is why I, Darkwing Duck, am the hero of St. Canard!" he finished, dramatically standing and looking, in his opinion, very heroic and very studious at the same time.
"Aw, dad, it's so hard!" Gosalyn complained. "Besides, I know all that stuff from you. What do I need school for?"
"Because it's good for you, it builds character, it prepares you for the future, and it's the law. And I think all of those are good reasons," Drake said. "Now, I would like you to go upstairs to your room, disarm those death-traps up there, and start in on your homework. Dinner will be ready soon. I think Launchpad is cooking." At the mention of his occasionally inept but always determined sidekick, he grinned at her. He bent down again and said in a quiet voice, "Better get that work done now. If this dinner is like his last attempt in the kitchen, we'll need to go out after the kitchen catches on fire."
Gosalyn giggled, and Drake kissed her on the forehead before shooing her upstairs. She went, grumbling about homework being stupid, but secretly relieved. That was rather a good fight, all things considered. Neither of them had said anything they didn't mean, and no one lost their tempers. For once, Gosalyn knew she could come back downstairs to her father's warm smile, not the apologetic worry that consumed him after their more heated debates. Remembering to duck when she opened her door, Gosalyn started in on taking down the traps. The biggest ones, anyway.
In another part of the city, someone else was less contented. Although he physically resembled Darkwing Duck right down to his tail feathers, they were not related, not by blood, anyway. Negaduck was the polar opposite of Darkwing Duck, from the Negaverse, a parallel universe to the real world. And just as Darkwing Duck was a hero, albeit occasionally a clumsy one, Negaduck was a villain, and a violent one. Where Darkwing was patient, able to think out a solution, Negaduck tended to turn to more direct, usually deadly action. Besides appearance, the two had only one other thing in common, their hatred of each other. Although Darkwing could think of other villains he loathed and feared much more, Taurus Bulba came to mind, Negaduck was persistent, unpredictable, and ruthless. And was still on the loose, whereas Taurus Bulba was in pieces at the bottom of a river. Negaduck, however, considered Darkwing his number one enemy, and would do anything to get at him.
Negaduck paced the floor of his hideout. Whenever he got tired of walking, he would stop and throw knives into the picture of Darkwing he had up on the wall for target practice. Like Darkwing, he liked to talk aloud, although not in narrative form.
"It's been weeks since I had a good time in this city! All because of that Dumbwing Dork. He foils all my plans, and he does it so badly! He's just a jerk in a purple suit who hasn't figured out yet that he looks like a ninny! Why does he keep getting in my way?" Negaduck glared at the picture that used to resemble Darkwing Duck, but now was little more than shreds of paper held to the wall by knives. He sighed and sank into a chair.
"If only there were a way to get him off the streets, to keep him out of my way. But how? I can't capture him! I've tried! That dumb sidekick or that little girl help him out every time. He's either the luckiest bird in the city or else..." Negaduck stopped as some things came together. He stood up to pace again.
"The sidekick I understand. Lunchbag the pilot is dumber than rock and twice as dense. He follows Dipwing around because that's what sidekicks do. But that little girl, I've seen her before. The others have told me about her, too, a little girl that follows him around and gets herself in trouble. And he, being the hero, always goes out of his way to rescue her. I wonder..." and a very dark, very evil plan began to form in Negaduck's mind. He crowed with triumph.
"Let's see that Darkwing Dodo get out of this one! Either he goes along with me, or he is going to be very sorry. Now, to get busy!"
"As night falls, the Masked Mallard surveys the city, searching for signs of serious suspicious situations, keeping a keen count of crimes, expecting especially extreme enemies anywhere."
"Anything happening, DW?" Launchpad asked, coming up to stand next to his partner. Darkwing Duck had been on the bridge, carefully scanning the city for any signs of trouble in the night. He sighed.
"Nothing. It's too quiet, Launchpad, and it makes me about as queasy as...er..." he had been about to say, "the dinner you made" but quickly thought the better of it and finished lamely with, "as queasy gets."
"Well, that's a good thing, isn't it?" Launchpad asked enthusiastically. "I mean, if there's no trouble, it means everybody is safe and sound, right?"
"Wrong, LP. It means that something big is going to happen. Every fiber in my body is telling me that the criminals are waiting for something. That somewhere a fiendish fatal foe is forming a..." Whether Darkwing stopped because he couldn't come up with the next word in his train of alliteration, or whether it was from a sudden flash of his crime-born instincts, the point soon became moot. There was a grand explosion from somewhere in the city that shook the ground.
"Let's go, Launchpad!" Darkwing shouted as he sprinted for the Thunderquack.
"But DW, that looked pretty big!" Launchpad shouted as he jumped into the plane and began taking off.
"I know it, LP, but you know what I always say," Darkwing said, a gleam of excitement and danger growing in his eyes. "Let's get dangerous." As the Thunderquack took to the sky, locating the source of the explosion became even easier. Heavy smoke, turned bright yellow and orange from a fire below, billowed out of a large building near the industrial sector of the city. Sirens were blazing, but the police were holding people back. It looked like they were waiting for the fire to cool before sending in any firefighting units.
"I wonder if there's flammable stuff in there," Launchpad wondered idly as he moved the plane in closer.
"LP, don't say things like that! You know what always happ...ans!" Darkwing shouted as a major explosion rocked from below and the plane dipped sideways. The sudden force of the explosion knocked them off course and nearly out of control. In an effort not to actually land the plane into the flaming building, Launchpad crashed the Thunderquack rather thoroughly into the roof of the neighboring warehouse. Darkwing Duck climbed slowly out of the plane mumbling something about "sorry grandma but I didn't mean to borrow your couch" until he shook his head and cleared his thoughts.
"Launchpad, why don't you stay here and see if you can repair the Thunderquack. This is a job for Darkwing Duck!" And before Launchpad could say another word, Darkwing was on his way to the burning building, although what he intended to do, Launchpad could only guess. He turned to the broken plane bits scattered about and started trying to make the plane flyable again.
In the meantime, Negaduck was clambering around in the burning building, having set the fire himself to get everyone out of his way. Besides, he enjoyed watching places burn down. However, it was not part of his brilliant plan to be caught in the fire himself. If only he could just find the right room with the right compound...
"I am the terror that flaps in the night!" came a voice from a nearby window. Blue smoke filled the space and Negaduck groaned.
"I am the splinter that won't come out of your finger!"
"Not him again," Negaduck complained, pulling his gun. "I'm not ready for you yet, duck!"
"Oh, yeah? Well I am..."
"I know, I know, Dorkwing Schmuck," Negaduck interrupted him. Darkwing appeared in the smoke, looking slightly dejected and very annoyed.
"You may steal my entrance, Negaduck, but that will be the only thing you steal tonight!" he announced gallantly.
"Oh, like I'm really scared," Negaduck mocked him. He raised his gun, but Darkwing was faster. Up came the gas gun.
"Suck gas, evildoer!" The cartridge that exploded was full of laughing gas, but Negaduck wasn't in a laughing mood. He vacated the smoky area quickly, holding his breath. Racing down the hall, he cursed under his breath, knowing that as soon as the gas cleared, the so-called hero would be after him. He pulled on a nearby door and ducked into the room. Looking around, he swelled with triumph.
"Well, well, here you are after all," he said in his grating voice to a lab full of beakers and test tubes. Rapidly, he moved over to a particular shelf and started examining the contents of each glass container.
"Hey, where'd you go, Neggy?" Darkwing called, and started banging open the doors in the hallway. Negaduck knew he only had a minute or two before Darkwing came into the lab, so he sped up his search. Finally, he located the particular compounds on his shopping list, and stowed them in his suit. He moved towards the window as Darkwing came into the room, gas gun at the ready.
"See you around, Warkding!" Negaduck shouted as he jumped out the window himself and disappeared. Darkwing ran over to where he had been before, but saw nothing.
"I wonder what he was after..." Darkwing mused. The smell of smoke reminded him that he was in a building that was on fire, after all, and he decided it might be a good time to go and check on Launchpad. With a final sweep of his cape, he made a heroic exit and left the lab without really examining it thoroughly.