Disclaimer: Disney owns all their characters and the other things they invented. I am borrowing them for NO monetary profit of any kind. Anyone you don't remember from the Disney library is someone I made up to help tell my tales. This particular story starts on Thursday, July 10th 2008 and starts at the same time as chapter 12 of my Fan fiction called Commitment Commencement.
As far as I know you don't have to read that one to enjoy this one but it would make me happy if you did. Also the characters are the same ages they were on the show except that Gosalyn's 10th birthday happened in Hexes & Vexes. Even though I have placed them in 2008 instead of 1991 and I have updated the technology to reflect the time setting; I am trying to remain true to the spirit of the cartoon. Please read & review thank you Irual
Bushroot and Liquidator were partners in crime, and on this fine, sunny, Thursday afternoon they were working a scheme independently from their cohorts in the Fearsome Five. Bushroot needed some new tools and gardening supplies to help him care for his plants. And it just so happened, by happy coincidence for the villains anyways; the semiannual St. Canard Flower and Garden Expo was scheduled to open it's doors tomorrow.
Knowing that the show had been going to open today, and that the exhibitors were already set up, also knowing that the booths and show areas were fully stocked and not yet fully staffed due to a conflict in planning with the fundraiser to benefit the city orphanage. Liquidator had suggested that they help themselves a bit early to avoid the crowds and the complications involved whenever minions of the law interfered with Bushroot's shopping. Of course the fact that the Fearsome Five tended to cause mayhem and confusion for the law abiding citizens and the businesses they frequented almost always ended up not getting paid for the items they got had a lot to do with that; but that was a minor quibble to Bud and the Liquidator.
Agreeing with this sentiment and happy to be with his friend, even though his conscience DID give a guilty twinge at the thought of stealing, Bushroot had gone along with the plan. This was mainly because he didn't have the money to pay to replace his tools and supplies. He WAS a super powered super villain, but the job paid surprisingly little in the way of ready cash since Negaduck usually took most if not all the loot from their joint ventures and it had been a while since he'd been needy enough to try an independent crime. At conventions like this Expo though there were usually sample products, and giveaways so he felt a lot less guilty about browsing there than he did at one of the local nurseries or malls.
As they left the greenhouse complex that Bushroot used as one of his main hideouts behind Liquidator offered, "Act now for this special trial offer. Today only receive an all expenses paid trip to the convention center of downtown St. Canard with the Liquidator as your transportation."
Grinning Bushroot said after looking around cautiously, "there aren't many people around today I think I'll take you up on that special offer. Besides, the sooner we get there the sooner we can look over what they have available."
Lifting Bushroot carefully off his root like feet in a surge of liquid Bud Flood replied, "For us Reggie, they will roll out the red carpet." Before the two of them disappeared swishing down the street towards the convention center with Bushroot half floating, half holding onto Liquidators's shoulders as the water dog's controlled flow swept them down the street at a tremendous pace.
As the came close to the area of the convention center, they noticed far more people around than they had really expected. Making sure their disguises which consisted of long trench coats, large brimmed hats, sunglasses and gloves were intact they began casing the crowd. As their observations hit him, Liquidator's instincts began yipping at him that something strange seemed to have come over St. Canard. After all, the major multimedia blitz that had been secretly orchestrated to publicize this event had only started three days earlier and it's main focus was the local vigilante crime fighter Darkwing Duck.
Given Darkwing's dubious reputation and relative obscurity, not even the villains he usually foiled had expected this kind of turn out. Oh sure, the crowds of local citizens that were converging on the park were supposed to show…after all there was free food and music and most of the city had shut down for this; but the turnout had mushroomed into something no one (except maybe Negaduck) had expected. Even schools were bringing those student's who's parent's had sent them to classes as a kind of field trip since the mayor was giving a speech and later there was supposed to be various demonstrations by police and fire department and other safety personnel as well as Darkwing's appearances.
In the parking lot of the convention center were an entire fleet of busses from the convalescent homes and assisted living apartments in the area. There were even quite a few RV's parked around with people grilling and listening to T.V. and radio coverage as people waited to get into the park.
The news helicopters circling overhead were providing aerial coverage of the crowds, entertainment and turnout. Dozens of news vans; not just from the local stations but also from the national networks, were covering this and of course there were police officers trying to funnel the huge surges of people into and around the park. Most of the crowds were focused on the stages that had been set up inside the park as well as riding the various rides and eating the food from venders that had set up throughout the area.
A considerable number of people looked to be already lining up at different food venues though as well as large groups of people being sold t shirts, posters and flyers with Darkwing's image and signature catchphrase prominently featured on everything. On closer inspection Liquidator noticed that for every vender selling the items there was a weasel giving children and women of all ages and species extra items, some of which showed Quiverwing Quack, Bolt, Launchpad and even some group images of the team of the Justice Ducks.
Clearly someone wanted to be absolutely sure that the crowd had lots of souvenirs to take home, display and carry. Bud Flood and Liquidator both figured they knew who it was too. Liquidator's instincts for survival were whispering cautions already, even though nether he nor Bushroot had any intentions of getting involved in any of this. Well none other than using this huge mass of people as a cover for Bushroot's little shopping spree anyway; even so…they needed to use caution and avoid getting any more involved than this.
Bushroot was more than a little nervous at the crowded conditions but Liquidator pulled himself fully upright stretching to peer over the people and scanned the security before sinking back to his usual height. Part of what was so startling for Bushroot and Liquidator was how much of the cities less than law abiding segments of the population seemed to be cooperating to make this a success.
Licky noticed that many of the game booth's near the gate were being manned by weasel gangs and that there were small replica stands representing several legitimate local restaurants as well as chains like Hamburger Hippo, all of which were doing a brisk business. He did suppress a shudder at the posters fastened prominently on each food display offering 'free food', discount coupon giveaways and other samples.
The salesman in him understood luring in potential customers after all, but these business weren't charging anything at all for what amounted to entire meals and there were already several thousand people milling around. His keen hearing also picked up the sounds of faint discontent from several of the police trying to direct people to various facilities like the portable bathrooms that had been hastily set up to handle the extra crowds.
Negaduck had threatened dire and painful, presumably permanent harm to any of the five who interfered with this event as well as convincing several of the old school crime families to police independent criminals. And evidently they had agreed to cooperate since the area around the park seemed to be filling up with every average citizen, business person and any other mover and shaker that lived anywhere in the greater St. Canard area and yet no one was being unduly harassed.
Without even noticing they were next to two members of the Fearsome Five, an entire group of local, low and mid level enforcers for the Capon's had moved in to reunite a little girl with her family. They also dragged off a pick pocket as he brushed past Bushroot and Liquidator while the twosome moved as inconspicuously as possible along the periphery of the crowd that was trying to enter the East gate of the park.
There were even signs that several of the gangs of ducks, dogs, rodents and other species that usually frequented the seedier parts of town and tended to be as violent as possible to anyone outside of their own gangs had temporarily declared a truce. Liquidator recognized some of them lurking around noticeably devoid of their colors and obvious weapons. They filed through the gates just as the ordinary citizens did.
From the muttered signs and countersigns he picked up the gangs were hoping to impress the upper level pros with their discipline and behavior enough to get auditions and introductions into the more career oriented and hopefully profitable parts of the criminal elements of St. Canard society. Bushroot noticed this too and looked even more uncertain than usual but he made no outward comments. Instead he got the look in his eyes he usually did when he was taking mental notes and photos and Liquidator knew he wouldn't be the only one making a report to Negaduck when their leader finished whatever scheme he had devised.
Chuckling Bud offered, "they are so overwhelmed we could probably walk right in and help ourselves to anything in there and none of them would notice."
Clapping Bushroot on the shoulder Licky shivered as Bud added, "Negaduck would notice…but we have more important things to do this afternoon than watch Dipwing Dork make an idiot of himself in front of a lot more people than usual."
Bushroot nodded and offered shyly, "I'm glad you decided to come with me Bud, crowds like these are too much for my telepathy, I have to block out the grass getting trampled and the other plants panicking. I almost wonder what the boss is really up to, usually his plots involve a lot of property destruction and direct looting but this…. Oh well, as long as everything works out I don't suppose it matters."
Reggie shivered a little and admitted, "I never was really comfortable with people even before I became well…what I am now."
Liquidator answered, "The new and improved Bushroot is without question far superior to these run of the mill consumers. We should encounter little or no competition in this specialized niche market. Especially with all this as a distraction."
With that he dissolved under one of the locked turnstiles at the Eastern entrance to the convention center and disabled the security camera with a small application of damp on it's inner wiring. Bushroot followed after him already getting caught up in the posters and ads displayed on the walls of the exhibit hall. Liquidator was careful not to give himself away, after all it wouldn't do to weaken his bargaining position but he and Bud both LOVED seeing Bushroot caught up in his interests.
When his intellect was engaged, the passionate scientist that still lurked under the timid, exotic, plant exterior of Bushroot came out far more than either Bushroot or Reggie seemed to realize. The combination of his scientific curiosity, passionate enthusiasm and intellect was very much part of the reason that both Liquidator and Bud Flood enjoyed Bushroot's/ Reggie's company.
Liquidator hid another grin and pulled Bushroot to the rear of the room behind the curtained display for one of the motorized garden equipment companies. Their riding lawnmowers, garden carts, tillers and soil aerators made for excellent cover, especially since the booth was deserted. In fact, as they looked around, all of the displays looked empty of people if not products.
Happily Bushroot took up a large carry basket from a booth and began rummaging through several displays muttering to himself about which plants would enjoy which fertilizers, pots, and he even exclaimed over the small selection of artificial sunlamps. After a few minutes though, watching Bushroot shop was a little…less engaging than Liquidator preferred. He had always been a high energy person and most of the appeal of sales and running his company had been the constant challenge and tension involved in the risks he took.
This being the case he didn't like hanging around with nothing to do. Just then his sharp hearing picked up the sound of conversation coming from the large, sturdy looking display across the exhibit hall from the entrance they had come in by. It looked for all the world like a classic fairy tale cottage complete with what on closer inspection was a faux thatched roof and brightly painted shutters, window boxes and a small garden space lined with a flagstone foot path leading up to the vivid blue door.
All the plants in the front garden and window boxes were real and clearly had been planted to help emphasize the effectiveness and appeal of various products for the company behind the display. At each opportunity a small tasteful sign denoted the type of plant and then the company whose irrigation systems, fertilizers, hand tools, seeds and even seedlings and shoots were on show here.
Intrigued more by the subtle, complex and yet exceedingly direct marketing and promotional techniques than by the actual products, Liquidator slipped up to one of the windows and peered inside. There wasn't much to see at first glance. The cottage interior was a small counter and display where samples and flyers were kept but the conversation was definitely coming from the room beyond the darkened retail space.
There were lights on in the back room, and several shadowed figures showed against the wall as he peered in the window. Deciding to indulge his curiosity, he shifted to his puddle form and flowed under the door and trickled to the back of the displays to listen.
A strident female voice was speaking from the front of the room with her back turned to the small conference table around which sat about a dozen other people. From his vantage point beside the water cooler Liquidator could see that everyone in the room was held in their seats by the forceful personality inherent in the female who was speaking.
He didn't see much of her beyond her powerfully muscled but clearly feminine legs that were covered in a rich coat of fur in shades of grey tipped with black. Her bushy tail hung at an alert angle just below the dark maroon colored, hooded cloak that she wore which obscured the rest of her from view until she turned around.
Almost all of the people seated around the table were dressed in business suits but none of them exuded the aura of power, charisma and strength of personality she had and that had caught both Liquidator and Bud Flood's attention. IF he had still needed to breathe he would have surely passed out since he was now riveted in place unable to move or think.
The she wolf revealed when she slid the hood back from her face had luminous yellow eyes and her sharp tone of voice matched her brilliantly white teeth and delicately pointed muzzle. The almost provocative tuft of pale fur at her throat was her only adornment.
Both Bud and Liquidator were both struck by the wrongness of that, an alpha female like her should have been adorned with tokens from the males in her life or those who wanted to be; and yet there were none of the usual sorts of jewelry, or other status enhancements on her or her outfit. The short, black, business skirt ensemble she wore under the cloak had a definite edgy hint of danger to it that was confirmed as she leaned menacingly on the table to glare at the now nervous table of underlings.
There were several pigs, who scooted backwards in their chairs and left the dog near the front of the room on his own while the various Avian types stayed very calm. Clearly her staff understood this mood even if Liquidator felt far more confused than he should have. The other two dog-like personnel at this meeting were young females. Like the male towards the head of the table they shared the same distinctive, pale yellow, eye color that he and the mysterious, enticing, female powerhouse at the head of the table did.
Unlike him they also shared her wardrobe as far as the hooded, dark red cloak and business skirt ensemble and in spite of their subordinate positions towards the foot of the table, clearly the others at the table deferred to them. The two young females had quietly shut their laptops and moved toward the head of the table in support of the male dog.
At least it looked that way, until the mallard in the chair next to him moved rapidly away from the table. The females inclined their heads submissively to their Alpha as they handed her hardcopy reports from their research, then stepped back.
Her alert, pricked ears swiveled to attention as she demanded, "What do you mean exactly? This event has been planned for MONTHS and I saw the shipping manifests myself!"
The much more domesticated feel of the young dog-like male she was asking stood out against her as weakness and timidity but to Liquidator's surprise he straightened in his seat and stood to face her fury.
He answered calmly, "It can't be helped Gretchen. The inventory already in town for the expo is going to have to be enough until Monday. The trucks were delayed and it isn't cost effective to reship everything as special deliveries for Saturday."
Her eyes glowed even in the florescent lights overhead and she paced back and forth and fumed, "We can't afford to appear unorganized. If this promotion is to succeed, we have to be able to fill the orders promptly. St. Canard has a large population base and huge areas of residential homes as well as being in a fairly constant state of repair and upgrading commercially thanks to the different urban renewal projects going on all the time. I REFUSE to hear excuses Leland…. I intend to bid successfully for at least ten long term contracts with the city and the home builder's associations that are due here expect to be impressed."
She stalked forward and forced the lesser male back into his seat before spinning to glare at the information on the screen being projected in the front of the conference room. Bud Flood's ears pricked forward slightly as he recognized the calm, predatory tone she suddenly affected. Even though she now sounded cool, focused and collected, Bud's own former experience as the CEO and top salesman of his bottled water company told him her fury while being channeled was far from gone.
Moving back to her original position she mused, "we need to establish ourselves in this market. It's time and past we go regional."
The underlings at the table noticed her calming down and relaxed visibly as the young pup offered sounding surprisingly confident, "the company is poised to make a good showing here. The projected market saturation is far less than we expected."
Gretchen growled under her breath and moved to a small door behind the podium before saying, "I'm your boss Leland, and if you want to keep your job you'd best remember that. There had better not be any more screw ups people. I am going to finish reviewing the projected attendance for our presentations tomorrow and I expect the available inventory to be correlated with the pre-registered attendees. We can always hand out flyers and the seed samples to the general ticket holders."
Her fierce yellow eyes slanted back to pin the dog back as he started to get up. "And Leland, another screw up on your part and being my second cousin won't save your job OR your rear end."
Bud stiffened and almost gave himself away by surging to his actual height and exposing his position as he saw that lackey Leland's expression behind Gretchen's back. It actually took him a moment to recognize the almost familiar reaction he was having as his lips drew back in a sneer.
He watched Gretchen go into the other room beyond this one. Suddenly deciding that it was time to get rid of the rest of these buffoons and introduce himself to this sensual and ruthless creature; he flexed himself and gazed calmly at the hated logo on the bottle in the water cooler. The Koo Koo Fizzy Water Company had evidently won the bid to supply the convention center again this year and for once Liquidator and Bud were glad that one of their former rival's products was around.
Focusing himself he concentrated on the water in the bottle carefully dripping some of it into his hand and mixing it in himself until he felt it's resonance echoed inside his watery body. Then he focused on the people chattering away around the table as they waited for Gretchen to return. From the looks of the mostly empty plates of sandwiches, chips, pickled vegetables and such this had been a working lunch meeting and hopefully most of the people here had most likely imbibed water along with their salty food.
Sure enough, in just a few short minutes most of the employees excused themselves and rushed for the front of the building since the facilities were just outside the doorway to the main hall. Bud hid a grin of satisfaction and himself by sliding behind the stand of the water cooler and watching as the last few victims of his manipulations clutched themselves and rushed away in gastronomic distress.
Chuckling, Liquidator moved to the front of the room and paused just before the door to make sure he was at his best. His usual confidence had been boosted by the success of his ploy with the employees and he was eager to make an impression on this Gretchen. However, all didn't go as planned for the water dog.
Just as he started to fall under the door and make one of his patent pending, crowd pleasing, consumer enticing entrances, he growled in frustration as he recognized the sounds coming from outside the cottage. Evidently at least one of the people he had sent away had seen Bushroot at his browsing and decided to object.
Liquidator spun in place and prepared to go to help Reggie when the door opened and out rushed Gretchen. She charged into the room clearly intending to continue on outside the back room but her encounter with Liquidator caused her to stagger and gasp since she was now soaked from head to toe and struggling to wipe excess moisture from her eyes.
She had run right into him and since he had been distracted by his feelings and torn since he had he had been going to help Bushroot; his watery substance had splashed onto her and then puddled onto the floor. Instinctively trying to figure out what happened the rest of him that wasn't on Gretchen had spread out to hide while he recovered himself but…. Unlike when he was in a fight and gathered himself almost instantly back into his cohesive dog-like form, for some reason he didn't want to look at too closely; he didn't want to reveal himself, not like this.
Liquidator for his part was taken entirely by surprise by this reaction and so remained an inconspicuous wetness in the carpeting as she shook the remnants of him off her fur and cloak. He found the sensation of sliding on her fur to be terribly distracting but both he and Bud knew that finding a better opportunity to introduce themselves would contribute far more to their cause than revealing his position prematurely.
This being the case he waited until she rushed out the door and after a last glance at the shipping manifests and tracking numbers on the screen he sloshed quickly away to help Bushroot. Outside the little cottage at first glance nothing seemed to be wrong. The area where Bushroot had been was quiet and even though Liquidator could tell that some of the merchandise was missing, Reggie had been careful and at first glance nothing even appeared to be gone.
As he moved toward the Eastern entrance he saw Bushroot actually arguing with the mysterious Gretchen. She was standing aggressively beside one of the younger females who had clearly been badly startled and fallen against the archway leading to the exit and the two of them were blocking Bushroot's escape from the exhibit hall.
Reggie was clutching his basket of samples and pulling on it while Gretchen tried to take it away since some of the seed packets on top were from her company. As she continued to try and take the basket from him; Bushroot gestured to one of the potted palms which swept her off her feet and into it's fronds muffling her with a branch to keep her quiet. The younger female jumped to her feet and tried to free Gretchen but the second potted palm beside the door swept her into it's leafy clutches clearing the doorway.
Unfortunately for Bushroot, this second tree wasn't as quick to silence it's prisoner and the younger female's shrieks sounded throughout the exhibit hall bringing the other employees and the skeleton crew of security on the run. Moving swiftly Liquidator shook off his unusual paralysis and swept the first group of busybodies out of his way before scooping Bushroot up with his basket of samples and the small crate of hand tools that Reggie had gathered and escaped out the storm drain just beside the Eastern entrance.
As the two super powered criminals made good on their escape, Reggie made sure to tell his friends to release the people so that no one would be upset with the plants and very soon the twosome were back at the greenhouse. Bushroot noticed that Liquidator seemed very quiet on the way back and he wasn't sure if Liquidator was happy with how things had turned out. But Reggie knew he wanted to thank his friend so he spoke up cautiously as he unpacked his new tools and seeds and the other things he had picked up.
Gratefully Bushroot said, "thanks for the assist Bud. With all this to work with I will have a lot less trouble taking care of the plants here."
At this Bud snapped out of his distracted daze and answered, "It's no trouble Reggie. Listen I have something I want to check on…I'll call on you later in the week alright?"
And without waiting for an answer he dissipated into the soil and flowed off. Bushroot was a little surprised at this but Liquidator had never been too keen on things like social niceties and now that he had proper equipment again it was time to aerate the beds on the south wing. Those poor roots were almost impacted and the plants were beginning to become stunted.
This is the intro into the Liquidator adventure and I hope it is both intriguing and inspires lots of reviews. In the meantime I am hoping to delve into more of both Bud and Liquidator in the next chapter since he is busy trying to figure a way to impress Gretchen. I hope to post the next part soon thank you for reading this, Irual