"Branching Out" (a sequel to "The Voice")
By: The Lauderdale
"I can't believe it! I just can't believe it!" raged Darkwing as he and Launchpad entered the Tower. "I can't believe he got away AGAIN!!"
"Relax, DW, it's not the end of the—"
"Relax?! Re-LAX?!!" Darkwing suddenly cut himself off and rubbed his knuckles furiously against his forehead. "I'm sorry, LP. You're right. I'll try and calm down. I just can't believe they got away."
"Who's "they"?" Darkwing, startled, jerked his head in the direction of the two green armchairs he and Launchpad utilized to travel between his hideout and the little house on Avian Way. A little redheaded figure lounged in the green-cushioned seat of one of them. "Oh yeah. Megavolt and the Strip-Mall Mall-Stripper."
"Gosalyn Mallard! What are you doing up at this—how did you know that?"
"Well, I was watching TV, and this news bulletin came up." Gosalyn crossed her fingers behind her back, fervently hoping that her dad wouldn't demand just what she'd been watching this late at night.
Darkwing, however, was too distracted at the moment to worry about that. "You mean it was already on TV?" he asked in dismay.
"Over!" croaked Darkwing, flinging his cape over his head and sinking to the floor. "My life is over!"
"Aw, cheer up, DW," said Launchpad comfortingly. "It's not like tons of bad guys haven't gotten away from you before."
He was answered by a plaintive moan from the purple lump on the floor.
"Dad, chill OUT!!" exclaimed Gosalyn, jumping out of the green armchair and stalking over to the quivering purple mass. "Here," she said, kneeling on the floor beside it and holding out a steaming thermos of coffee. "I knew you were gonna need some when you got back, so I whipped up a thermos for you." A trembling hand emerged from Darkwing's cape and grasped the thermos, drawing it into the purple folds. "Dad, you know what Launchpad's trying to say. This isn't different from any other time Megavolt's gotten away from you."
"Whaddaya mean, "Megavolt"? Oh. Yeah." There was a soft slurping sound.
"OR the Strip-Mall Mall-Stripper," continued Gosalyn indefatigably. "No one can blame you. By the way, you'd better be very happy with me. I made that just the way you like it-measured out just the right amounts of milk and sugar and everything."
"Thanks, sweetie." Darkwing lifted his cape out of his face and sat up straighter. "Well, why SHOULD they blame me? After all, it's not like it's my fault! It was the cops that let them get away."
"Yeah, and they even said that when they were reporting it. No one's tried blaming you. The police are getting all of it."
"Yeah? Well, at least something good's come out of this," said Darkwing with a bit of a smile at last. For once it was the police being criticized, and not himself. For once. On one little newsbreak broadcast roundabout midnight, which probably no one had seen and which the press would totally have taken back by the next day. The smile faded from his face, and Darkwing sighed. And then it would be right back to business as usual.
After they had gotten away from the cops, Megavolt and the Strip-Mall Mall-Stripper had struck out for the outskirts of the city in an attempt to lose any pursuit that the Law might give. They had hot-footed it through side streets and alleys, up fire escapes and down for nearly an hour. Now they were pretty much just trudging along, not speaking.
"So. That was close, huh?" said the Strip-Mall Mall-Stripper, abruptly breaking the silence.
"Huh? Oh. Yeah," said Megavolt vaguely. Truth be told, he had almost forgotten his silent companion. Now that night's previous events came back to him and he glanced sideways at the Strip-Mall Mall—at The Voice, he interrupted himself. The Voice. "Um…" he ventured warily.
"I thought you were a guy," said Megavolt.
"Heh heh. You and everyone else, buddy. I never get no respect," came Rover Dangerfield's voice back in response. Megavolt started, and The Voice looked apologetic. "Sorry," she said. "Me."
"Oh." They lapsed into silence again, and in the quiet Megavolt took another look at her. As far as he could make out in the darkness, she was pretty tall as the average citizen of St. Canard went—five foot-something, he guessed—and heavily built, though the long trench coat she wore did something towards disguising that. The coat was long, flaring out behind her almost in the manner of a cape, and it had a pair of huge pockets which she had plunged her arms in up to the elbows as she walked. Over the high collar he could make out the glint of a pair of spectacles perched on her beak.
"So do you think we pretty much lost them?" asked The Voice suddenly.
"Yeah, I guess probably," he said, glancing back the way they had come. Abruptly he swerved counterclockwise at a 110 degree angle and started walking in that direction. "Might as well start heading back into St. Canard before we end up in the boonies." He glanced around, then looked back. The figure in the trench coat was just standing there. "Well, what are you waiting for?"
"Hey, do you wanna walk right back into the cops if there ARE any following us?" He started walking again.
She hesitated, then caught up. "So what are we gonna do now?" The Voice asked as they walked back into the shadows of the city.
"I mean, just what is it I do that's so bad?" asked Megavolt. "Liberate light bulbs, champion the cause of toasters, defend the abused and the exploited—"
"Robbery, assault and battery, wreak havoc as a member of the Fearsome Five…" counted off The Voice on her fingers.
After The Voice had asked Megavolt what he wanted to do next, he had commented that he was hungry and had headed for a little 24-hour deli nearby. The manager, seeing the infamous super villain standing in his door, had blanched briefly before carefully pasting a look of groveling servility on his face and welcoming him. It wasn't Megavolt's first visit to this particular little establishment, and he had something of an understanding with the guy, one from which both parties profited. The manager could expect to have the deli back after each visit reasonably unscathed and, possibly, even something in the way of payment, should his "favorite customer" be in a good mood or doing particularly well in the crime department. Megavolt, on the other hand, could be sure of a good meal every once in a while in relative peace.
Quickly and efficiently the deli manager had run through the usual ritual, hurrying out his clientele and making himself scarce as well. The Voice had averted her face, pulling her high collar around to cast it in shadow, but the current bevy of customers showed no interest in sticking around and finding out who Megavolt's companion was. After everyone was gone, he and The Voice had lost no time in serving themselves and taking a seat at a booth near the back of the deli.
"But what about me? I mean, what's so bad about what I did? All I did was duck into a store every once in a while, take a little money here, a little food there, just enough of whatever I needed to get me by….Always after dark, so I never hurt anybody or anything, and the next thing I know I'm plastered all over the papers, and I'm the crime kingpin of the year. I got the cops after me, the press on the scent—I mean, sheesh! What'd I do to deserve that?!"
"Just get Darkwing Dork's attention, I guess. That's about all you really need," said Megavolt, shrugging.
As they talked, Megavolt had been getting a better look at The Voice. Seeing her in the light had pretty much confirmed what he'd guessed at in the dark. Now he understood how her gender had been kept murky for so long: in the long tan trench coat she wore it was easy to mistake her for a guy. The coat was practically tent-sized and obviously well worn, threadbare and stained and very comfortable through long usage. The aforementioned high collar also went a long way towards preserving the secret. Under the coat he'd glimpsed a pair of black jeans and a black sweatshirt. When she'd been standing earlier he'd seen that she was wearing a pair of sturdy-looking black combat boots, and on her hands were a pair of black gloves. Her feathers were a tannish-brown color and very disarranged, sticking out every which way on her head. The old-fashioned iron spectacles perched precariously on her sharp bill gave her an incongruous teacher look, but something, not about her voice but about the way she talked and handled herself in general, had caught Megavolt's attention.
"How old are you, anyway?" he asked suddenly.
The Voice blinked. Megavolt supposed the question had come somewhat out of the blue. "Eighteen," she said.
"Sheez," he said, shaking his head. "And they've got you made out to be some kind of serial killer or something. Uy."
The Voice nodded glumly.
"So how come you made everyone think you were a guy?"
"Simple: I didn't." She shrugged. "I dunno—someone just automatically assumed I was one, I guess, and that's how I ended up being advertised. And I didn't see any reason to let them know the truth when having them looking for a guy all the while instead of me was sorta useful. I thought the whole situation was kinda funny, actually."
"Makes sense," said Megavolt. "So where'd you get your super powers?"
"Super powers? I don't have any super powers…."
Megavolt snorted. "Pull the other one. If you didn't have super powers, why do you think I'm wasting my time talking to you right now?"
"Boredom?" asked The Voice dryly.
"Ex-ACT-ly," said Megavolt. "So 'fess up."
The Voice lifted and tested the weight of a wallet that someone must have left behind on the seat during the general exodus. "Well, I've just always been able to DO voices. I can't think of a time when I hadn't. I really don't think it's any kind of super power—is it?" Suddenly she seemed unsure.
"Well, it sure sounded that way to me," said Megavolt. "So can you do any voice? Any voice at all?"
"And you can throw your voice."
"Well, now that really doesn't prove anything," The Voice interrupted. "There are some opera singers who can do that."
"Yeah." She started groping around absently in the wallet.
"Whoa, when the fat lady sings…" said Megavolt, shaking his head slowly. "Uh, sorry," he said, suddenly remembering that The Voice herself wasn't exactly the thinnest person in the world.
She shrugged as she pulled out a twenty and stuck it in a coat pocket. "Don't worry about me. I'm used to it. Just outta high school, remember?"
"Some things never change," he muttered.
The Voice raised an eyebrow. "You too?"
"Yeah…." Megavolt trailed off, and she waited for him to finish. "I don't know why I'm telling you this," he started, then stopped. "I don't know why I'm telling you this, but….Well, I always used to get picked on a lot in high school. School geek. I was working on a project on static electricity for my science class one evening when…this bully came in: one of the guys who picked on me all the time. Anyway, he and his girlfriend strapped me to the machine and left me there. Several hours of being forced to run on the treadmill left me…." He shrugged eloquently.
"That's terrible," said The Voice.
"Yeah, well, I don't care anymore," said Megavolt, suddenly full of bravado. "It's probably the best thing that could have happened to me. I don't have to put up with anything from anyone anymore." As a demonstration, he suddenly pointed at a small party weenie lying on the edge of his plate. A single blue volt of electricity turned it to a tiny pile of black ash.
"It must be nice to be able to get back at all the crap-heads," mused The Voice, the wallet forgotten as she looked off vaguely.
"Well, you can," said Megavolt.
The Voice looked genuinely startled—and suddenly, thoughtful. "I really, really never thought of doing anything really criminal. I mean, I've just been doing little jobs at strip-malls—nothing serious. Just hitting Sweet Rivers Mall this evening was a big step for me."
"You said you were thinking about branching out earlier. What've you got to lose?" asked Megavolt reasonably. "I mean, is there anything else worthwhile you have going for you?"
Nothing about The Voice changed, either visibly or in her tone, but Megavolt suddenly sensed he was treading on dangerous ground, though not necessarily so to him. "Not anymore," was all she said. Then she didn't say anything for the next few minutes, only glared fixedly at the wall over his shoulder. Megavolt looked behind him, then waved his hand in front of her face. Her intense gaze didn't waver for a moment. Shrugging, he took his fork and idly wound some strands of spaghetti through the tines.
"Ok," The Voice suddenly said.
Megavolt stared. "Ok, what?"
"What's strange, DW?" asked Launchpad, approaching the dark figure of his friend as he stood in the Tower, looking down broodingly on the sleeping city of St. Canard."
"It's been two days, LP, and the Street-Mall Mall-Stripper still hasn't struck again."
"Gee, DW, maybe that whole business at the mall the other day scared him off."
"Not likely, LP." Darkwing turned and paced towards the huge computer console. "Someone as devious, as fiendish as the Mall-Stripper isn't one to be frightened off that easily. He's out there, somewhere. Now all we need to do is wait for him to make a move."
Launchpad shook his head behind the superhero's back. This was Darkwing's uglier side—his tendency to obsess. Oh, Launchpad acknowledged the fact that this Mall-Stripper person had something going for him—how else had he managed as successfully as he had for the period of time he had?—but Darkwing was making him out to be more than what he actually was: a two-bit burglar who'd been lucky, but whose luck would eventually run out. And when it finally did, Darkwing would just find something or someone else to brood and obsess about. Because the fundamental problem wouldn't have been solved.
Because it wasn't this Mall-Stripper guy who was DW's big problem. It was the general criminal inactivity of St. Canard that was getting him down. Darkwing's mood swings swung on crime waves—contradictory as it might seem, when crime was up, so was Darkwing. He needed crime to fight to be able to give him purpose. What Darkwing really needed were some crimes.
The pilot rubbed his head. It was aching from all that thinking. What HE needed was—food. Yeah! "Hey DW, since nothing's going on at the moment, how 'bout we stop by the Hamburger Hippo and pick up some takeout?"
Darkwing, his own thoughts interrupted, looked at Launchpad in a puzzled way. "'Pad, didn't you just eat?"
"Well, yeah, but that was a whole half hour ago. Please? Oh pleasepleasepleaseplease—"
"Argh—!" Darkwing made a disgusted noise. "You can stop with the puppy-dog eyes, LP, we'll go already."
"Oh boy! Thanks, DW." Launchpad started for his normal seat in the sidecar of the Ratcatcher. Who knew? Maybe he'd be able to get Darkwing's mind off of things if he played his cards right.
The club was jumping. Literally. As the music beat and the action went down inside, from the outside it appeared to literally, in that weird way only possible in one of those old Fleischer cartoons, bob and bounce up and down. Teens and young adults looking forward to a fun night gave their passes to the guy at the door, who would check briefly before allowing them in.
One nondescript character in a beat-up looking trench coat went up as well. When the doorman asked for a pass the guy shook his head, then gestured to the guard to lean forward so he could whisper into his ear. The guard did so and an absolutely vacant look came over his face. He nodded at the guy in the trench coat vaguely and waved him on in. A few seconds afterwards he shook his head violently to clear it and thought for a moment of going in after the guy, but then decided to skip it. The doorman just went back to business as usual, forgetting his uncharacteristic lapse in judgement.
Inside, people danced and drank and enjoyed themselves. The lights flashed and shown and the music blared. A group in the corner discussed Feather Locklear's exploits in the latest installment of "The Young and the Brainless." One of them, disgusted with the conversation, decided to make a pass at a rather attractive duck that appeared alone at a table nearby. She turned out to be a guy in drag and the shocked and angry Casanova became quite rude, but at that point the queen's extremely muscular boyfriend came back to the table. Things were getting ugly when there was a sudden interruption in the music.
A baritone voice sounded over the speaker system. "Good evening, all. I'm afraid you are about to undergo something of an inconvenience. I would like everyone to please deposit all wallets, purses, and other valuables on any convenient tables you may find near you and get down on the floor." The voice was so incredibly reasonable and persuasive, a number of people began doing so.
Others, however, looked confused and puzzled. "Hey, who was that?" got out the guy in the chokehold of the man whose date he'd just insulted. The man shrugged and went back to squeezing.
"This is a robbery. You will now do as I say. Place all valuables in a convenient location and get down on the floor."
Some people still did what the voice they heard was telling them to do, but others had been jarred out of their cooperative actions by the word "robbery". "Hey, Sean, stop fooling around up there," yelled one girl who worked at the establishment up in the direction of the sound booth. Sean came to the window of the booth, shrugged and mouthed something, indicating that it wasn't him. "Well, who's in there with you?"
"I am not in the sound booth. You don't need to worry about where I am. You just need to do what I tell you to do."
A number of people headed determinedly for the doors of the establishment. "Hey, what are you—wait a sec," said the voice. The next minute a high pitched sound suddenly filled the air. Everyone screamed loudly as the pitch became unbearable, falling to their knees and clamping their hands tightly over their ears. "You will please return to the center of the room and do as I ask. Remove all valuables and place them on any table or chair or other convenient location near you and then lie down on the floor."
More people, shaken by what had occurred, started to do as the voice had said. One woman with a handbag was extremely reluctant—as other people gave up their things and lay down on the floor around her, she continued to stand, more in confusion and bewilderment than in downright rebellion. "Miss. Please put your handbag on the table to your left and lie down." The tone was gentle enough but left no room for disobedience. Nevertheless the woman, trembling, continued to stand. "Very well—"
But the voice got no further. Suddenly a purple cloud began to form on the table that the voice had told the woman put her handbag on. "I am the Terror…that FLAPS in the night! I am the just protector…who puts the wrong things right! I…am DARK-wiiiiiing DUCK!!" Darkwing posed, cape outspread dramatically.
The woman screamed when she saw him and passed out.
"Whoops. Uh, heh." Darkwing laughed a little apologetically, then scowled and scanned the room for the perpetrator of this particular predicament. Suddenly he caught sight of a person, one of the few still standing, over against a wall near one of the club's exits. "You there! Don't move!" he said. No reason that particular figure should strike him out of the other five or so people in the club still standing, but there was something familiar about him. And then Darkwing realized. The red light from the "EXIT" sign caused the guy's silhouette to stand out sharply: bulky, tall, with a high collar….
"Hold it right there!" Darkwing growled, somehow knowing with an undeniable certainty who it was. The trench-coated figure suddenly made a break for the "EXIT". Darkwing brought up his gas gun to shoot, then lowered it reluctantly as he thought of all the people lying on the floor in front of him. Instead, he leaped off the table, sailing over the prostrate figures, cape flapping in the air behind him, and managing to land in a crouch in front of the "EXIT" door, which had just slammed shut as the person in the trench coat escaped outside.
Darkwing, cursing, scrambled to his feet and pushed the door open violently—and was suddenly tackled without warning from the side.
"I got him, DW!" yelled Launchpad, spraying food in Darkwing's face.
"You got ME, LP!!"
"Yikes!" Launchpad looked sheepish as he got off of Darkwing. "Heh heh. Sorry, DW."
The mighty masked mallard glared at his associate, wiping Hamburger Hippo takeout off his jacket as he did so. "That was the Strip-Mall Mall-Stripper! He can't have gone far! See, Launchpad, I told you—he's progressing. He's gone from simple burglary now to outright robbery."
"Further than you think, duck!"
Darkwing stared at Launchpad, who shrugged to indicate that he wasn't the one who had spoken, which Darkwing had already figured out. He slowly peered into the darkness surrounding them. The voice had seemed to boom, creepily enough, from all sides. "Strip-Mall Mall-Stripper-show yourself!" he challenged the night air.
"Do not call me the Strip-Mall Mall-Stripper! Henceforth I am—The Voice!"
Darkwing blinked. "Oh no, LP, this is worse than I thought!" he hissed out of the corner of his beak. "The cheesy dialogue…the aggressive approach…the new persona….He's decided he's a super villain!"
"Wow! Gee, DW, isn't this great? Now you have a new super villain to beat up!" Launchpad looked very pleased with himself. He'd had a vague hope when he'd gotten Darkwing to take him to the Hamburger Hippo earlier that this night might turn up something for Darkwing to occupy himself with. The sidekick had never thought things might work out so well.
"Launchpad!" exclaimed the superhero, scandalized. "This is not supposed to be a good thing, you know!"
Mollified, Darkwing turned back to the surrounding darkness. "Now look, Voice," he said, then paused. "Hey, are you even still there?" he demanded. Complete silence was his response. "Great," muttered Darkwing. "Just…great."
"Keen gear, this is great! So now you have a new super villain to face, huh, Dad?"
"Gos, this is not supposed to be a good thing," whispered Launchpad.
"Oh yeah, right. I mean, oh no, Dad, this is terrible! But it's great because it proves you were right to be so weird and obsessed with this guy!"
"Can it with the phony acting, Gosalyn. And I'm not being weird and obsessed!" Launchpad and Gosalyn gave each other looks, and Drake looked at them suspiciously before returning to his pacing. "Now then, we can see that the Strip-Mall
Mall-Stripper has moved from being a common burglar, a pest to the police, and a nuisance to plazas and strip-malls, to being a super villain with a formidable power: the power, merely, of his voice. But this is no usual voice. What do we know he can do with it?"
"Change it," said Launchpad obviously.
"Break stuff," said Gosalyn with great enthusiasm.
"Not to mention throw it, cause intense pain in the eardrums of others, and exercise almost hypnotic powers of persuasion. What other diabolical uses is he willing to put it to?"
"Wow, if I could do anything I wanted to with my voice I'll bet I could think of all kinds of stuff," said Gosalyn, rubbing her hands together wickedly as she thought of the damage she could do. "Um, not that I'd ever do anything for the forces of evil," she beamed angelically at her father, who was staring at her.
"Riiiiiight," Drake said, still giving her a look. "Well, anyhow, we see now that the Strip-Mall Mall-Stripper has suddenly become a lot more dangerous. Before, I wouldn't have said that he was really a danger to anybody-in fact, he went out of his way not to be. But now, now that he's The Voice, we can see that he wants more than he did before, and that he is willing to do much more to get it. Now…he is a true opponent for…DARK-wiiiiiing DUCK!!"
"There can be only one," said Gosalyn in a husky voice. "Oooooo!" she added, wiggling her fingers in a creepy way at Launchpad, who flinched.
"Don't you have homework?" asked Drake, annoyed.
"Oh…." Gosalyn made a face but headed up to her room.
"Hey, I think "Pelican's Island" is supposed to be on right now." Launchpad sat down on the couch and turned on the TV with the remote.
"Perfect, just what I need…more of that mindless show…." grumbled Drake. Then he did a double take. "Hey, what's Tom Lockjaw doing on "Pelican's Island"?" he asked, sitting at the couch and watching the screen.
"—program to bring you this special bulletin: The Voice, formerly the criminal serial burglar police called the Strip-Mall Mall-Stripper, appears to have struck again! A Macy's Department Store in uptown St. Canard was just the scene of an elaborate heist in which several articles of clothing and nearly $1500 were stolen. Authorities claim to have captured the heist on camera, possibly the first footage yet of the criminal known as The Voice."
Drake jumped up. "LP! Let's…get…dangerous!"
The clerk whom The Voice had approached had not noticed anything out of the ordinary at first. True, most people did not normally come into Macy's in the kind of clothing this particular customer had been wearing: battered trench coat, black gloves, black combat boots and black jeans—altogether scruffy and disreputable looking. But then the customer had spoken and suddenly the clerk's budding apprehensions had dissipated. His words had been delivered in a pleasant, even tone: a few casual remarks about the weather, a compliment on the new pin the clerk was wearing, the polite request to open the register and empty all the money into a bag.
In the middle of doing the latter, however, the clerk had suddenly regained her wits and started screaming bloody murder. Security guards had rushed to the scene, only to be driven back by the high pitched note The Voice had given. Display cases and windows had shattered and customers had run to and fro in panic, causing the most damage in their confused frenzy by knocking clothing stands and store statues over as they tried vainly to escape the sound that screamed in their skulls.
It was at this point that the footage ended, for the security camera taking it all had been shattered as well. But the manager had told Darkwing what happened afterwards—how as the chaos continued The Voice had calmly gathered most of the money that the clerk had dropped and had wandered through the fray. He had taken a couple black sweaters here, some sweatshirts there, a few T-shirts, and finally departed. All of this in the course of a few minutes. The police hadn't even shown up till afterwards.
Darkwing rewound the tape back to where The Voice had first appeared and paused it again, examining the black and white, silent figure. It was an eerie business, watching all the events that had unfolded do so on screen in the complete absence of sound. Darkwing supposed that that was a good thing, in a sense—playing such a tape with its accompanying soundtrack might actually be dangerous. It was also a bad thing, however, for sound played an important part in this crime-in all of The Voice's crimes, in fact. Darkwing had no doubt that there would be more.
"Well, so that's that," he muttered to himself. Now that he'd had his initial fun getting everything he could out of the camera footage, he was a little annoyed out of just how little that was. Nada, zilch, nothing new. He hadn't even gotten any more of an idea of The Voice's species: throughout the tape, the Voice's face had been mostly obscured by that stupid high collar. Cheap, bad-quality copy of a copy—if Darkwing had had the real video, he was sure he'd have been able to find out more. Unfortunately the police had that. And there was no way he was going to the station to ask for it. They'd never let him have it, and they'd probably just laugh if he asked to view it. "Stupid donut-munching grunts, always trying to sabotage me," growled Darkwing under his breath. How was he ever going to bring The Voice to justice if—
"Hi, Dad! On the case, I see! is that The Voice?" Gosalyn scrambled up onto Darkwing's lap and placed her hands over the keyboard.
"DON'T TOUCH THAT!!"
Gosalyn promptly pressed a number of different buttons. Darkwing instinctively covered his face with his hands, then peeped out through his fingers. The image of The Voice had been minimized on the screen and replaced with a blank Microsoft Word document. Gosalyn started typing.
Darkwing cleared his throat. "Ahem…if it's not too much trouble to ask—JUST WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU DOING?!!"
"Chill out, dad," said Gosalyn, eyes never wavering from the screen. "I'm doing homework."
Darkwing sighed and counted to ten slowly…then did so again just to be safe. "Please go away, sweetie. I'm really busy here. We have a perfectly good computer at ho—"
"Yeah, but it's not working. And anyway, you're not busy. You're just sitting around gnashing your teeth about this case you're working on."
Darkwing opened his bill to protest this, then couldn't think up a good response. He was pretty much doing what she claimed. Instead, he said, "Since when do you do homework?"
Gosalyn turned away from the screen and grinned at him, seeming enthusiastic. "Oh, since we got this really cool assignment in English to write an essay on our favorite movie. I'm doing "Vengeance of the Blood-Sucking Mutated Zoooooombie Slugs from the Planet Ferbilax"!!"
"Oh, a real classical scholar, are we?" asked Darkwing dryly as he stood up, dumping her out of his lap.
"Silence, Darkwing, you disturb an author at her toil," said Gosalyn, clambering back up onto the chair. Sticking her tongue out of the corner of her bill in concentration, she went into Menu and saved what she had on the screen so far, then took down the document window long enough to click into the audio program on the computer. She popped a CD in the CPU and hit play.
Darkwing's pupils dilated to mere pinpricks. He had just enough to time to mutter, "Uh oh-" before the blast issued forth.
"YEAH WE ARE WE ARE WE ARE WE ARE WE ARRRRRRRRE!!!!!!"
"YEAH WE ARE WE ARE WE ARE WE ARE WE ARRRRRRRRE!!!!!!" sang Gosalyn along with the CD.
Darkwing gripped the back of the chair to keep from being blown away by the sheer force of the noise. "GOSALYN!!!!" he shrieked. "TURN IT DOWN!!!!"
"PUT ON—SOME EARPLUGS," yelled Gosalyn as she went back to her typing.
Darkwing's fingers slipped and he was driven backwards forcibly into a wall. For a couple seconds he stuck there, flattened against it, then slowly slipped down to the floor. Shaking his head, he murmured dazedly to himself, "Put on some earplugs…."
The Voice leaned against the counter, drumming her fingers idly on its surface as she watched the bank teller put all the money together in a strong burlap sack. Tens, twenties, and those little rolls of coins that were always so handy when you needed change. She'd made sure to ask for plenty of those.
Megavolt had really had a point. It was a lot easier taking the direct approach than doing all the skulking and sneaking that had gone into burglary. This whole super villain thing seemed to be going well, in fact, which made for a nice change. First thing to go right for her in a while. The Voice put out her hand to accept the shopping bag.
"I am the Terror…that FLAPS in the NIGHT!!"
Nuts. She should have knocked on wood. Oh well, she been able to deal with Darkwing Duck easily enough before. The Voice turned and faced in the direction of the cloud of purple smoke forming in the doorway of the bank. "I am the annoyed neighbor…who tells you to turn down that blasted racket! I…am DARK-wiiiiiing DUCK!!"
"Oy," said The Voice in the rough Australian twang she'd decided to adopt for the evening.
Darkwing advanced on her. "You're all out of luck—Voice! I have you now!"
"Ah'n't you f'gettin' a little somethin', mate?" asked The Voice, politely enough as she backed away slowly.
"Oh, I really don't think so. Hand over the money."
She thought a moment. "Nah, I'd rather not, 's'all th' same to you." She opened her beak and gave her usual piercing ululation. The note started bearably at first, then began to climb. Darkwing continued to move forward and she set the volume even higher. That was when he abruptly reached into one of the pockets of his jacket and pulled out a small plastic bag. He dumped the two small rubber earplugs into his hand and popped them both in.
The Voice stopped abruptly. Darkwing gloated. "Yep yep yep. As you can see, the valiant mallard is not unprepared for your heinous high pitch. Now, hand over the sack."
The Voice shrugged and let him have it-right in the face. The blow of some fifteen pounds worth of rolls of quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies sent Darkwing crumpling to the floor.
"DW!" yelled Launchpad, racing forward. The Voice stepped to the side, sticking out a foot as she did. Launchpad tripped and went flying headfirst into the counter.
"Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch!!" said The Voice, holding her foot in her hands and hopping up and down on the other one in pain. Then she noticed Darkwing was beginning to stir. "Just about time to beat a hasty retreat," she murmured thoughtfully. "Th-the-th-th-the-th-that's all, folks!" She turned and ran for the door with a limp.
Darkwing came to just in time to see the trench-coated form racing out of the bank. "Launchpad! The Voice has vamoosed! After him!"
"Ow, my head—DW? DW!" Launchpad stumbled to his feet and raced after Darkwing.
Darkwing paused in the doorway, looking either way. "He was limping! He can't have gone—oof!" he broke off as Launchpad plowed into him. "Launchpad!" Darkwing exclaimed, turning angrily on his sidekick.
"Um, sorry, DW." Launchpad had earplugs in as well and couldn't hear a thing, but he could pretty much tell Darkwing wasn't happy with him.
Darkwing, unable to hear Launchpad's apology, made a noise of disgust. Then abruptly his eyes widened as he looked over his sidekick's shoulder and saw what was lying on the floor. His eyes widened. "LP! What's that?!"
"Huh?" Launchpad just stared at him.
Darkwing started to tell him to speak up, then smacked himself in the forehead and pulled out his earplugs, gesturing to Launchpad to do the same as he headed past him back into the bank and picked up the sack of money that was lying on the floor. "This is the money The Voice was stealing! He left it behind!"
"Gee, I guess he did, DW."
"Well, don't you see, Launchpad? He's on the run! He knew he couldn't do anything against the earplugs, so he ran! There's finally something we can use against him!"
"But he still—"
"Oh, of course he still got away, but don't you see? Now I know what to do next time!" Darkwing was jubilant. He'd finally found something, something to use against The Voice. He was in control again. And it was great.
At that moment there was suddenly the sound of sirens as a number of squad cars pulled up in front of the bank. The bank teller, who'd been forgotten in the chaos, had run to the back room and placed a call to 911. Now that call was answered, late, as an officer pushed into the room violently, holding his gun at the ready and followed by about five or six other cops. Seeing Darkwing, they lowered their weapons reluctantly. "Darkwing Duck," growled one of them, scowling. "So where's the perp?"
"On the run."
"Couldn't catch him, huh?" Darkwing recognized the cop as Officer Mel, the rude policeman he'd had a run in with at the station a few weeks back. The guy's tone was blatantly taunting.
Darkwing, however, was in too good a mood to be irked. "Oh, on the contrary. He can run, but he can't hide."
The Voice, however, had decided to do exactly that. As she sat in an alleyway, leaning back against a wall and holding her foot gingerly, she decided that she was tired of this. Several months of sleeping outside, on park benches, in alleyways, behind dumpsters, avoiding feather mites, muggers, and worse—time to make an end to it. After all, what was it everybody knew all super villains had? Hideouts. Time to get one. She didn't know why she hadn't sought out one sooner, but she was determined to do so now. No time like the present, and besides, the debility she'd just gotten made doing so a more immediate concern. She needed to find a place that was relatively safe for recuperation.
Well, get to it. Maybe the walk would help a little. She stood slowly, wincing as she tested her weight on her hurt foot. Now, where would be a good hideout? She didn't think she was up for one of those old abandoned warehouses they always talked about in books and in the movies. But something by the bay would be nice. Like maybe…the lighthouse! The old lighthouse—of course! That would be perfect! Limping, The Voice started in the direction of Audobon Bay.
This fanfic is copyright Sarah Lauderdale, 1999. Or possibly '98 or '97, though I doubt it. Anyway, it's another old fic. Officer Mel and The Voice are both mine. Darkwing in all his glory, Launchpad, Gosalyn, the Ratcatcher, Megavolt, St. Canard, and so on are copyright Disney. Don't try making money with this fanfic, altering it in any way, or passing it off as your own (yeah, like you'd really want to). Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to use my characters or if you have anything else particularly on your mind, and hey, it's always nice to have some feedback. 8)