CHAPTER NINE- Showdown

Paula had arrived at Launchpad's home. She stepped out of her car and headed down the walkway toward the door. The front yard was a mess, strewn with airplane and automobile parts, and several broken-down and rusted vehicles. She dreaded this confrontation, but knew it was necessary if she were ever going to be able to live with herself.

Launchpad was resting on his pal Drake's couch as usual. Todd, the strange turtle he had just met, entered the living room completely nude. "Hiya, Launchpad," the turtle said lustfully. "Ready for some good old-fashioned lovin?" He then tapped on his shell.

Launchpad awoke from his nap. "Ahhh! Why in the HELL did I dream about that!" He realized someone was knocking on his door and sat up. "I'll be there in a minute!" He regained his composure and headed to the door. "Freakin' turtle..."

He opened the door. Standing there was none other than Paula, the woman who had betrayed him and broken his heart. "What do you want?"

She looked to him sadly. "I've come to apologize," she said. "What I did to you was so wrong..." Tears began to stream down her eyes.

"I don't know..." he said. "How do I know this isn't another trick?"

"I quit FOWL today," the swan said. "I don't care about who your stupid boss is anymore. I just came here to make things right!" She continued to cry.

"Well, those tears you're crying seem genuine enough," McQuack said. "It was an awful low thing you tried to do, but no real harm was done to Darkwing, so I guess I can forgive you."

"You mean it?"

"Yes," said Launchpad. "I just hope you've learned your lesson."

"I have," Paula said.

"Well, good," Launchpad said. He then paused for a moment and watched her wipe away her tears. "So now what?"

"I'd just like to thank you for forgiving me after putting you through so much heartache," Paula said. She then got close to him and kissed him lightly on the cheek.

"It's OK," Launchpad said. "I guess I'll be seeing you around?"

"Yeah," she said. "Bye, love."

"Good-bye," said Launchpad. He watched Paula walk away and then went back into his house and rest up, as Darkwing had given him a few days off to deal with his sadness.

Rebecca Bennett, the wide-eyed young raccoon recruit to SHUSH, had attracted the attention of the agency in a similar fashion to her partner Todd-by chance encounter with one of St. Canard's many resident insane supervillains. In her case it was the evil toymaker Quackerjack.

One night, while working at the Happy Town Toy Store the same as usual, the crazy guy had entered the store near closing and attempted to restock her store with an assortment of insane "toys" that were really deadly weapons. She tried to stop the creep, but several of these "toys" ended backfiring on her. Eventually, though she was able to get rid of Quackerjack, though.

She had noticed he was awfully attached to a small weird-looking doll that he carried. She managed to distract the fool, get a hold of the thing and then threatened to destroy it if he didn't immediately pack up all his weird and dangerous items and vacate her store. He begged and pleaded with her not to destroy his beloved Mr. Banana Brain. She held it for several minutes, before tossing the weird toy out on the street. The weird toy guy then followed it outside. She quickly slammed the door shut, locked it and began cleaning up the carnage left by the joker.

Her efforts were nothing fancy; she had dealt with all kinds of random troublemakers in this city before. But SHUSH's high command seemed to be impressed by both her bravery and her impressive college degrees and offered her a spot as a secret agent. She gladly accepted, welcoming anything that could get her away from that boring run-of-the-mill job of hers, and now she was on an airplane flying to Europe for her first case.

She looked out the window of the plane and then to the turtle sitting next to her. She smiled to Todd, and he smiled back.

"Is it true that I'm the first person to tell you you're handsome?" she asked.

"Well, my mother has told me, of course," he responded. "And there's this woman down at where I work who seems fixated on me, Mrs. Muddlefoot I think her name is, but you're the first lovely young lady to tell me so."

"You're so sweet, Todd," she said, taking his scaly paw in her hand. He smiled again as they continued their journey.

This Todd was a different sort of fellow. The two of them had been in this plane together for three hours and he had yet to try and come on to her. Most other males she had encountered would have been all over her by now, but he just sat there and patiently listened to her life story, and she to his.

Todd and Rebecca had much in common it seemed. Both young and intelligent, both got good grades throughout school yet were stuck in miserable low-paying jobs, and both always seemed to be alone. By now the turtle had fallen asleep. Rebecca removed his glasses and his shoes, covered him up with a blanket and gently kissed his forehead. She soon fell asleep herself.

Drake Mallard was on his computer, scouring the Internet for any potential trouble that would require his alter-ego Darkwing's assistance. "Hmm..." It seemed FOWL was working on an ultra-powerful death ray of sorts. Looks like old Darkwing will have to go down and take it out of commission before it could cause any harm.

He wondered why J. Gander hadn't informed him of this. He hoped he hadn't fallen out of favor over at SHUSH. Hopefully, that uptight bear hadn't persuaded Hooter to replace him with a more by the book agent. He sighed and got up from the computer, heading into the living room for a few minutes of relaxation before nightfall.

The SHUSH jet had now touched down in Germany. It was time for our two young secret agents to set out on their dangerous mission. "Rise and shine, you two!" Grizzlikof shouted.

"Wha..." Todd said, rubbing his eyes.

"We're here, you two stupid kids," the bear said. "Time for your mission."

"Why are you so mean to us?" Rebecca said.

"Yeah," Todd said, putting his glasses and sneakers back on and getting up.

"I been busting my butt off at SHUSH for twenty years and now I have to chase after two children," said Grizzlikof. "I am not happy camper."

"I happen to be 21 years old, sir," said Todd. "I don't appreciate you labeling me a child."

"Whatever," the bear said. "Just get out there and don't mess up, turtle. A car awaits you on runway. Directions are inside. There are also radios. Be sure to keep in contact."

"Got you, chief," said Rebecca. They both headed over to the door of the plane and then walked down the stairs out onto the runway. Sure enough, a red Volkswagen Golf was sitting parked close to the plane awaiting for them.

Rebecca got in at the driver's seat and Todd the passenger's side. They read the directions that had been left in the car for them and set off for the secret laboratory.

Oliver Featherstone had made his way into FOWL's headquarters, no easy task given the ridiculously dangerous amount of security present at the place. His mission was simple: Destroy their new deadly weapon and every trace of it before agents could recover the microchip necessary to activate it.

The weapon was a massive futuristic-looking gun mounted on a bright yellow stainless steel base sitting alone in a large shed on the FOWL complex. Oliver crept over to one side of the base and then opened up a panel. He took a small electronic device out of his pocket and then attached it to the inner workings of the weapon. Just then, the room began to fill with a purple fog. "What the..."

"I am the terror that flaps in the night," said Darkwing Duck, appearing as if from out of nowhere. "I am the guy who makes really loud cell phone calls in public... I am..." Oliver runs over and places his hand over the duck's bill.

"Are absolutely insane!" he asked. "You're going to get us both killed!"

"I was just doing my intro," Darkwing said.

"Well, your 'intro' is going to draw the attention of the guards," the swan snapped.

"Who are you, anyway?" asked Darkwing.

"That's not important now," Oliver said. "I have planted an extremely powerful explosive on the death ray, and I'm about to detonate it. We'd better get out of here." He takes a small electronic device that resembles a remote control out of his pocket and presses a button on it.

"But I wanted to destroy the evil death ray," Darkwing whined. "Everyone keeps upstaging me!"

we haven't much time," said Oliver. "The bomb will go off shortly." The seconds began to count down on his remote. He started for the door.

"OK..." Darkwing said disappointedly. Just then, the room began to fill with heavily armed FOWL Egg Men.

"Stop right there, you two!" said one of them.

"We've got company," Darkwing said.

"Company's about to be blown to pieces," Oliver remarked. He then ran outside, followed by Darkwing as the Egg Men opened fire on them.

"Hit the dirt!" The two of them dove to the ground as the massive building exploded into a ball of fire, sending pieces of concrete and metal everywhere.

"Their bullets ripped my cape!" Darkwing said as he brushed himself off and examined his costume.

"Better your cape than your skull!" Oliver said.

"Nice work, swan."

"Thanks," he said, smiling.

"Now, just who are you?" asked Darkwing.

"Oliver Featherstone, international adventurer at large," he said, holding out his hand to him.

keeps to meet ya, I'm..." Darkwing said, shaking his hand.

"I know," Oliver said. "Darkwing Duck, the Masked Mallard, the terror that flaps in the night... We should get out of here. Surely, there are more FOWL on the way."

"You're right," said Darkwing. "See you again sometime." And just like that, the duck vanished from sight.

Oliver looked around a bit and scratched his head. He then went over to his black Jeep, climbed in, started it up and raced off as the FOWL compound was consumed by the flames of the explosion he had created. That Darkwing fellow's voice sounded familiar, but he couldn't quite place it...

Todd and Rebecca raced toward the secret laboratory hoping to grab the Destructo Chip before FOWL could get a hold of it. As they drove, their radio began to crackle. "Steelbeak is closing in on your tail," Grizzlikof's voice informed them. "You better be careful."

Rebecca peeked into the rearview mirror. A large silver armor-plated truck was racing toward them. "I can outrun these guys."

"Don't get too overconfident," Grizzlikof. "I've lost too many agents that way."

"Don't worry," she said. She then slammed down on the gas pedal and began to tear through the streets. The truck got faster and stayed close behind them. Todd looked through the mirror to see Steelbeak produce some kind of weapon and aim it at their car. "Umm, Rebecca..."

"I'm kind of busy here," she said, trying to navigate the narrow streets of the small German town.

Steelbeak fired his weapon. A large mechanical claw attached to a metal coil shattered through the back window of the car. The claw attempted to grab Rebecca and missed. The coil retracted through the window and returned to Steelbeak as Rebecca slammed on the brakes, stopping the car on the side of the road.

"Holy crap!" she said. As the truck closed in on them, Steelbeak fired his gun again. He missed Rebecca again, smashing through the passenger side window instead as his truck sped by. He grabbed Todd by the shirt collar and pulled him rapidly toward the vehicle. "Todd!"

Just as he was about to be pulled into the truck by Steelbeak, the turtle slipped out of his shirt and hit the ground hard, bouncing off the payment several times before landing just by the roadside. "Damnit!" Steelbeak yelled. "Dis ting is useless! Oh well, I stopped dose two runts. On to the lab!" He tossed his weapon into the back and pressed on for his prize.

Rebecca climbed back in the car and raced over to find Todd laying by the side of the road. She stopped the car after reaching him and ran over. His head was inside his shell. His clothing was ripped and his glasses lay broken and mangled at his side. His small tail was bleeding slightly. "Todd?"

"I'm OK," he said, pulling his head out of his shell.

"You don't look too good," she said, helping the little turtle up.

"Don't worry," he said, tapping his shell. "old shell protected me yet again..." He then searched around, picking up his glasses. "The glasses didn't do too well, unfortunately."

"We'll take care of those later," she said, getting back in the car. "We've got to stop that guy!"

Todd got in the car as well. She started it up and they raced off, hoping to catch the villain and somehow stop him. Todd had noticed there was a rocket launcher and some ammunition for it in the back of their car. He had grabbed the weapon, assembled it and prepared to fire it at the truck.

They soon closed in on Steelbeak's vehicle. The fowl looked at his rearview mirror and caught a glimpse of the red car. "Damn kids! Just can't lose 'em!"

Todd picked up the weapon, stuck his head out the window and aimed at the truck.

"Please be careful with that, honey," Rebecca said.

"Don't worry."

"Hey, stupid kids," Grizzlikof said over the radio. "How's things going?"

"We've had a bit of a tangle," Rebecca said. "But we've closed in on him and are about to destroy him with that gun thingy from the back seat."

"Be careful with that," the bear said. "Is highly powerful experimental weapon."

"OK."

Todd pulled the trigger on the rocket launcher and sent a missile flying at Steelbeak's truck. However, his aim was off and it hit only a tire, but that was enough as the tire exploded and the vehicle flipped over and crashed in a flaming heap on the side of the road.

"Nice job, Todd!" Rebecca said.

"Thank you," Todd said from the back seat of the car, as the force from the firing weapon had sent him flying all the way to the rear of the vehicle.

Just then, Steelbeak emerged burned, battered and bruised from the wreckage of the truck. He carried with him a machine gun. "Youse two won't get away wit dis so easily!" He aimed at them as they drove past. Just then, his cell phone rang. "What!"

"Oh?" he said. "Da ray's been destroyed? I shoulda known dat would happen. Ya want me ta retoin home immediately? Fine! Good-bye!" He watched Todd and Rebecca speed down the road and then began walking in the opposite direction, heading back toward FOWL's regional office to catch a ride to the airport. "Shoulda known this would fail..."

"Target has been destroyed!" Rebecca announced into the radio.

"Not bad work, agents," Grizzlikof said. "We just learned that FOWL death ray was destroyed by unknown saboteur at their headquarters. You can return to plane now."

"You mean this whole mission was for nothing?" Rebecca said disappointedly.

"Basically."

"Oh well," said Todd. "At least we had a little fun."

"You're right," she said, stopping the car and turning around. They then started off for the SHUSH airplane.

Darkwing Duck returned home having once again been stripped of heroic glory by an interloper, first that turtle, then that swan. He stepped into his room, threw off his costume and flopped down on the bed. That Oliver guy was with the FOWL agent Paula, who had tried to betray Launchpad, and yet he went to destroy FOWL? Drake couldn't understand what was going on there, nor did he really want to. He just hoped that the swan had not recognized him from their earlier encounter and put two and two together. He soon drifted off to sleep.

Todd and Rebecca were now safely back onboard the SHUSH plane and flying home to St. Canard. "You two kids showed toughness," Grizzlikof said. "Maybe boss was right to add you as agents."

"Thank you, sir," Rebecca said. "I told you we could handle things."

"Also," the bear said. "We have received word that Agent Steelbeak was captured by local authorities trying to return to SHUSH headquarters. His capture would not have been possible without you."

"That guy is a pushover," Todd said. "I've stopped him twice in the last 24 hours."

"You're such a brave little turtle," Rebecca said, running her fingers over her shell.

Todd smiled and sat back in his seat. "Uh, Rebecca?"

"Yes, dear," she said.

"When we get back home, would you like to spend the night at my house?"

"Why I'd love to," she said smiling.

"OK," the turtle said. "Just be warned. It's a little messy."

"I'm a raccoon," Rebecca said. "Messy's my middle name."

"Oh..." Todd said.

She held him close as they flew toward home and hopefully many years of fun and adventure together.

Paula was relaxing in bed when Oliver returned home. "Hi, love," she said, looking up to him. "I saw what you did on the news."

"Oh?" he said. "I hope they gave me lots of good coverage." He sat down on the bed and removed his jacket and boots.

"Actually, they credited the destruction of that ray to Darkwing Duck," she said. "Did you happen to run into him while you were there?"

"Why, yes," Oliver said. "We spoke a little, and then he just disappeared."

"Oh," Paula said. "You know, I think I've figured out who that guy really is."

"Oh?" he said, removing the remainder of his clothes and crawling beneath the covers with her.

"Yes, remember when we were looking for Todd yesterday?"

"Yes."

"And we went to that Drake guy's house, the one who knew Launchpad?"

"I think so," said Oliver.

"I'm pretty sure that guy's Darkwing Duck," she said. "After all, how else would he know all the details of our encounter?"

"You may be right, my dear," Oliver said. "I thought Darkwing Duck's voice sounded familiar tonight. It all fits together now."

"Oh well," said Paula. "It's not like I care anymore. Just wish I'd been able to figure that out when there was a million bucks on the line."

"Yeah," said Oliver. "Good night, Paula."

"Good night, honey." She turned off the light and the two swans soon fell asleep cuddled together.

THE END