Nosedive leaned against his brother as Canard and Nightbloom announced the impending attack against Lord Dragaunus.
"We will attack at 0300 hours," said Canard.
"Teams two and three will be responsible for setting up any explosives. Teams four and five are to initiate combat with outside forces as a diversion. Team one will initiate infiltration at 1800 hours tonight," Nightbloom added. "I'm asking you all to please take care of yourselves."
Saurians and Ducks began to speak to each other.
Dive pulled back to look at his brother. The mission would be separating him from Wing once again.
He knew that the idea of being unable to watch over him was killing Wing. He was still a bit overprotective, but he had backed down enough and showed a bit more faith.
Dive turned to look at ND.
His double was now wearing a black Resistance uniform. He also looked ill.
Dive shot him an encouraging smile.
ND returned a nervous one.
They would be working together in this one. As it turned out, they both had excellent photographic memory. Together, they were to go into the core of the Raptor and set the final explosions there. To aid in camouflage, Dive was also given a black armor uniform.
Nightbloom had a lot of confidence in them.
It was kind of intimidating.
But Canard had pulled Dive aside and expressed his trust. It calmed him down a bit.
"Rest," ordered Nightbloom. "The hour of Justice will soon be here."
With that, the Resistance team got up and made their way to the sides of the room, where tables holding little cups of drink waited for them. They each picked up one cup and downed its contents in one gulp. Then they made their way to their bunks.
Dive glanced at his cup for a moment.
"It's only a mild sedative," said Canard, coming up from behind the young duck. "It's to help you get some rest."
Dive nodded and drank the contents.
"Ah, Lady Firepassion," said Dragaunus, taking the hand of the grey female Saurian before him.
"Lord Dragaunus," responded Nightbloom, taking a soft spoken but regal tone. Her black hair had been pulled into a bun, and her bangs were slightly curled, falling against the side of her face. Two hair pins kept her hair up, and her face was powdered white. The dress she wore was made of silk and had an elaborate design of gold. A large bow against her back held her dress tight against her body. The skirt fell to the floor.
Behind her stood a white duck, long black hair tied back into a tight braid. He wore a simple black outfit, in which the long sleeves were loose as well as the pants. Black paint made him look as if her were wearing a mask. His posture was tense, as he glared at Dragaunus.
He relaxed when Dragaunus removed his hand.
The red Saurian smirked. "Surely your bodyguard knows that no harm will befall you here."
"He was hired to protect my honor, Lord Dragaunus. Any physical contact is to be viewed as a threat."
"He seems a little too passionate in guarding your honor. Are you sure of your virtues?"
Despite the makeup, Firepassion visibly colored. She raised her hand as her bodyguard stepped forward, dagger in hand.
"Lord Dragaunus... in my homeland, a false accusation such as yours is punishable by death. If my father hears about this, he will not only call off the arrangement, but call for a war as well"
"Forgiveness, Lady Firepassion," said Dragaunus, insincerity clear in his voice. He then grinned lecherously. "I am honored to be the one and only of the noble lady."
The male Saurian watched as the bodyguard led Lady Firepassion away.
"And I will enjoy to be the one than will make you scream in pleasure and lose that cold demeanor your people have come to know and respect."
"What a creep!" said Zane Freefall, dropping the silent bodyguard routine. He looked at his braid distastefully. "My beautiful brown hair... black..." he then said, vainly.
"Shh," responded Nightbloom, losing her aloof yet submissive behavior and taking on the role of the leader. She quickly wiped her face with a towel, losing all the makeup. She then removed the hair pins, allowing her hair to cascade down her back. Grabbing one of the pins, she clicked the top. "There. The bug jamming device is on."
She turned to Zane.
She stifled a smirk at the sight of the white duck mourning over his colored hair.
"It's for a good cause," she said.
"Are you sure this will wash out in time?"
"It will fade by the time your roots start showing."
"Great... So like I was saying, Dragaunus is a creep. You've got a lot of guts pretending to be his fiancee."
"I'm not pretending. Legally, I am engaged to Dragaunus. My father decreed it. However, my father had me trained in the ways of a warrior to eliminate Draguanus without incriminating the Firepassion family."
Zane blinked a couple of times, stunned.
Nightbloom stared at him. "The Firepassions don't lie. We merely exclude a few truths," she said, a small smile on her face.
"I see," said Zane, trying to comprehend the new bit of info his leader was giving him. "So you are engaged to Dragaunus, but only to be close enough to kill him or watch his every moves."
"One more question... Why use your last name first?"
"It's part of my culture."
Nightbloom walked over to the window of her room. She pulled out a small remote and clicked the buttons on it in a sequence. She then moved away. "The attack will begin soon," she said.
The Resistance team gathered quietly near Dragaunus's castle. Canard scanned the perimeter with a pair of specialized goggles. They picked up a series of flashing lights.
Canard raised a small communications unit to his face. "Wing, how's your end?" he asked.
"Ready to go," Wildwing responded.
"You're going to keep Tanya and Mallory separate this time, right?" he asked with a grin.
Duke and Grin let out a small chuckle beside him.
"Hey!!" protested Mallory from the unit.
"Forty minutes," said Canard, humor fading from his face.
"Forty," responded Wildwing.
Wildwing glanced over at Tanya.
The female duck was going over the installation of the bomb one final time.
Dive looked on, his expression serious for once.
Wildwing's heart clenched with guilt. Hid baby bro looked so grown up.
His eyes then focused on ND.
The grungy version of his brother was also looking on. However, his expression was one of terror.
Wildwing felt sorry for him. It also scared him to realize that this could have easily been the fate of his brother has certain factors gone into play. He was aslo aware of how guilty Canard felt despite the fact that he and the Canard of this world were two completely different individuals.
Wildwing stepped up to ND. "Ten minutes," he said, giving the nervous youth a gently squeeze in the shoulder.
ND gave him a small smile, grateful for a bit of innocent contact.
Dive smiled warmly. It was nice seeing his brother being kind to his twin. Maybe he would gain back some of that confidence he lost long ago.
ND looked at Dive, a strange look passing over his face.
Dive gave him a confused one.
ND shook his head and gave a small smile. "This is kind of scary," he said.
"We can do it," Dive responded.
The sounds of lasers and explosions could be heard from inside the Raptor.
Dive and ND hurried through the corridors, ducking into shadowed nooks or up on the ceiling as doids, Saurians, and Avians passed by.
The battle outside was but a distraction, and both blonde ducks worried about the safety of their comrades outside.
"The room should be straight ahead," said ND.
A couple moments later, both young ducks arrived at a door.
ND stepped up and punched in a code.
The blinking red light flashed green and an audible click was heard. The door slid open and both of them stepped in.
"Okay," said Dive. "We set this up and we're out of here." Dive pulled out two cylinders from the small backpack he was carrying and handed on to ND.
ND took that one and began to unravel the wire that was wrapped around it.
Both ducks mirrored each other, matching each one step per step. Both reached the end of their wires and set the device down. They each pushed the same number of buttons at the same time, and both devices flashed the number 25 at the same time.
"Okay, let's go," said Dive, rushing for the door.
ND followed quickly behind him.
The door slid open and Dive skidded to a stop. "Grin!" he exclaimed. I thought you were with..." Dive paused, looking closely at the massive duck in front of him. His eyes fell to the iron- clad arm.
"It's Iron Wing!" ND shouted in fear.
Dive stepped back towards his twin and the evil version of Grin stepped forward, a maliscious grin on his face.
Dive whispered something to ND.
The grungy replica nodded in terror.
"Now!" shouted Dive, charging.
ND was right behind him.
Iron Wing was actually caught off guard at the sight of two small ducks initiating combat.
He raised his fists and was unprepared for the moves that followed.
Dive stepped to one side, allowing ND to slide across the floor, right between the larger duck's legs. Iron Wing glanced behind himself, providing Dive a clear shot when he jumped up and kicked at the huge duck's chest.
ND had positioned himself behind the other duck's legs, and between the both of them, they succeeded in knocking Iron Wing down. Both ducks scrambled up and darted around the cursing duck.
"I really hope he doesn't know anything about bombs," said Dive. He could hear the other duck coming after them.
ND and Dive turned the corner and spotted the exit.
"We're almost free!" said ND.
Dive was about to respond when someone tackled him from behind.
"Dive!" shouted ND.
"Go!!" Dive shouted in response.
"Get him!" shouted the one that tackled him.
Dive felt a touch of fear as he recognized General Canard's voice. "ND, just run!!" shouted Dive, before a hand clamped around his beak, muffling his voice.
ND and Dive's eyes met, one filled with fear, the other with resignation.
ND turned and fled.
Iron Wing passed by Dive.
Dive grunted as he was flipped onto his back, finding hmself looking up into a pair of hate filled eyes.
"If he gets away," snarled General Canard. "Rest assured, you will be the one to take his place, and I will enjoy making you suffer!" He pulled back a fist and punched Dive hard.
Dive saw stars before his vision faded into darkness.
Nightbloom was dressed in an elegant robe, her hair unkempt as Zane pushed her to safety.
"What is going on?" she asked, her voice fearful.
"We're being attacked," responded one of Draguanus's guards, some Saurian named Seige. "But don't worry. We were prepared for such an attack."
Nightbloom clenched one of her hair pins, trying to get her hair in order. "Foolish Resistance members. They should abort this silly battle. They were certainly not prepared themselves."
"Indeed," responded Seige, a huge grin on his face.
The Resistance team fled as soon as they got word to abort the mission.
Canard had felt his stomach drop when the words came in. "..abort...They were...prepared."
He led his team away, cursing the number of fallen comrades, and hoping against hope that they still had a strong team left.
Upon arriving to their secret hideaway, he began an immediate head count. Altogether, he had lost twenty seven men. One hundred and three remained of his force. There was still Wildwing's to count.
An hour later, Wildwing's army arrived, and their faces where grim.
He spotted Tanya and jogged over to her. "What's the stat on our team?" he asked.
Tanya looked up at him, tears in her eyes. "Dive was captured," she said.
He then spotted Wildwing stepping in, arm around ND, supporting the youth who was clearly distraught. Their eyes met...and Wildwing broke down.
tbc. . .