I should never have said that I only planned to write one story for Darkwing Duck. I was tempting fate with that statement and I essentially doomed myself. And, while I received both positive and negative feedback on my last story, one recurring theme was that readers wanted to know how a very particular individual ended up as she did. While I had in mind how it could happen, Darkwing didn't know and thus the readers didn't know. So this story came into being to demonstrate how a spirited little girl fell into her new role.
If you have not read "Different as Night and Day," turn around and go read it now. You will not likely understand this without that story. Like that story, this is told in first person. This time, however, it isn't DW who is telling the story. A big section of this story is a flashback of how events led to her current situation, there is some exploration of the backwardness of the Negaverse in comparison to the regular one, and there are plenty of references to stuff in the Darkwing Duck/Ducktales universe. Hope you enjoy.
I sat on my bed, listening to the bars of my cell hum with electricity and staring at the concrete wall intently. My thoughts weren't on my confining surroundings, located deep inside a prison prepared for only the most powerful criminals that no other jail could hold that I had been cooped up in for several months now. Honestly, I shouldn't be here since I'm fairly normal. I can't control electricity, plants, water, or even my own mouth at times. I could manage the occasional magic spell if I had a book and plenty of time to figure it out when I was a child, but I couldn't really count on that skill since I hadn't even considered trying anything in years. Thus, I should in theory be no more dangerous than a regular person. My captors, however, appealed to the justice system of their city and requested it. I figure they either think I'm just that risky that I need a specialized cell or the Friendly Five thought I'd be more comfortable away from the general scum-bags. I don't have to see anyone except the guards or my rare and limited selection of visitors. All of my meals are in my cell and my only view of the world outside this room was through a small window with bars just as electrified as my doors. This left me alone with only myself to talk to for long stretches of time.
Currently, I was considering the events that brought me here. I shouldn't be in jail, let alone a jail in the Negaverse. I wasn't a criminal. I was Gosalyn Mallard, once called Gosalyn Waddlemeyer, and currently the so-called "villain" Quiverwing Quack. I'm the daughter of Darkwing Duck, hero of St. Canard. Even in this wacko universe, they agree my dad is a good guy. So, why am I locked up here?
I want to blame the Friendly Five, a group that included the heroic versions of Megavolt, Bushroot, Liquidator, and Quackerjack, who attacked me in an alley one night. While I could handle them and even defeat them on my own, I still ended up their prisoner. Granted, I had started hunting for criminals on their jurisdiction, but I wouldn't have thought they would get this upset. Darkwing used to help them sometimes, but I guess they couldn't appreciate my firmer handling of crime. Still, their attitude towards me and my ideas should be illegal since it only helps criminals.
I also wanted to blame Dazzling Duck, the final member of their group and my Negaverse double. She's actually the one who captured me. She wrapped me up like a mummy from one of my favorite horror movies. Only, most mummies aren't cocooned in pink ribbons by a crazy ballerina. It's kind of embarrassing to admit that someone that sweet and girly tied me up and caused me to be locked away in a jail with the likes of NegaStegMutt (whose IQ is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum as his other self) and NegaMorgana (who apparently started out good before she and Negaduck had a very short and very shallow fling sometime after he failed to convert the normal Morgana back to evil by trying to steal her away from Darkwing… which is still kind of creepy to think about since there was all the problems the love potion was causing at the time… and its Negaduck… I don't think he really likes NegaMorgana either, but he did manage to get her addicted to using her power maliciously and the guards had mentioned that they had to call in the Negaverse version of someone called Magica De Spell to cover her cell in thousands of symbols that inhibit magic in order to contain her). Its even worse having to admit that the curly-haired girl who loves the color pink is an alternate me, but everything in the Negaverse just causes me a headache when I think about it (this leads to the odd question of why my double is not evil, but I filed that quirk under the "I really don't want to know" category).
But worse than those five individuals putting me in prison is the fact that Darkwing Duck just stood there and let them take me away. My own father just let them treat me like just another criminal. He watched it happen. It hurt that he would let that happen to me after everything I did for him. He essentially agreed I was no better than the villains he faced every night and wanted me to be arrested.
All of them had told me I was going too far. Since I started college, I had begun my "official" crime-fighting career as Quiverwing. But, unlike the soft-hearted protectors of justice who trapped me here, I didn't simply catch a criminal and hope the system would handle it. I delivered punishment upon them myself. A black eye, a broken bone, a near-drowning… I was slowly working my way up. Villains don't respect the law, police, or even jail. They fear Darkwing, but not enough to stop. I, however, would have given them reason to fear committing crimes. If they knew I would deliver serious injury on them (or even worse… far worse), I would be making a difference. Petty-thieves and small-time crooks would repent and more dangerous threats… would be handled permanently.
A part of my mind, the young child who still held so much innocence even after losing so many loved ones, asked when I became so ruthless and cold. The nine year old girl who remained a small part of me even now asked when was the point where I began to stumble down this path. Honestly, I can't pinpoint the day I realized the truth. My plan to make a difference had evolved slowly, but I remembered that it did start back when I was still so young and naïve.
When I was twelve, I remember a week where it seemed more and more trouble kept erupting for my dad to handle. First, SHUSH asked him to investigate some new FOWL base about some invention I can't even remember anymore. As soon as he got home, he had to immediately run to face Quackerjack attacking the videogame stores because of the release of a new Whiffle Boy game with an army of tin soldiers. Darkwing managed to lock the jester away, but Ammonia Pine had taken advantage of the distraction to start "cleaning out" the park by coating everything in a layer of clear plastic. When her actions started to threaten the flora in the area, it brought Bushroot into the problem (somewhat… he convinced a couple of shrubs to start tossing mud at the clean freak, but didn't directly attack her… but she did start trying to take the plant-duck hybrid's head off for "spreading such filth"). After Dad tossed the pair into jail, he still didn't have time rest before Negaduck tried to blow up the police station in order to drastically reduce the number of cops in the city and cause mass chaos. By the time he managed to get his evil doppelganger captured, Darkwing had been awake for several days straight and running completely on coffee and adrenaline. Unfortunately, Megavolt decided to attempt to "liberate" the emergency generators at the hospital and Darkwing had to stop him. Launchpad and I, seeing the utterly exhausted state he was in, tried to get him to rest, but Quackerjack simply broke out and pogo-sticked down Main Street with his arsenal of deadly toys. And Dad tried to stop him.
My health class had explained that a lack of sleep can cause many problems, including slower reflexes and an inability to focus (I would sometimes try to use this fact to get away with sleeping during my math class since staying awake "could be a threat to my health"). That was why Darkwing had been just a little too slow to dodge the colorful harlequin's explosive toys. Honestly, the burns on his arm could have been far worse, but they were still enough to worry me at the time. He'd been hurt plenty of times in the past and even far worse than that. Crime-fighting is a dangerous career choice, after all. Yet it was still hard to see that happen to him. Dad, of course, spent most of his recovery time (strictly enforced by me and a surprisingly stubborn Launchpad, who maintained that serious burns were worse than temporary blindness or being wheelchair-bound and he reminded Dad of the problems that those injuries caused while still maintaining that Darkwing could go back to fighting crime afterwards… Launchpad, trying to relieve some of my concern about him trying to sneak out and would get hurt worse, also threatened that if Dad tried to head out too soon, he would ask the Muddlefoots, who thought the injury was a kitchen accident, to baby-sit him) complaining that he was perfectly fine and grumbling about the substandard security system that let Quackerjack escape only a couple days after he was arrested.
For some reason, that particular event struck a chord in me. Even if it wasn't the worst injury he ever suffered from and I had even almost lost him within days of meeting him, this one seemed to catch my attention for a different reason. I could remember other instances in the past where a villain broke out of jail quickly, even after they built the precariously-perched prison specifically made for the most powerful individuals. No matter the precautions, someone was always breaking out. While Dad was arguing that not being able to use his charbroiled arm was only a minor setback and he could still fight crime, I actually did some homework. Well, I had Honker do it. He worked out the average time it took each villain to break out and it was frightening short. For the more dangerous ones, they would only be contained for around two weeks before escaping. It was just a cycle of capturing criminals and watching them escape again.
Once Darkwing was back to his old routine (probably sooner than a doctor would advise, but even Launchpad's unusual determination to keep him out of trouble while hurt couldn't stand against my parent's infamous ego and stubbornness), I tried to forget about the unpleasant truth. But now that I had noticed the pattern, I couldn't ignore the facts. Many of the villains he fought when I was nine years old were still causing problems. Other than Morgana, many of the more dangerous individuals never seemed to change or remain incapacitated. Even worse, even more villains appeared in the years since I first met him. Dad would always be ready to face them, but he shouldn't be this busy. He was only one person and it looked like he was carrying the entire weight of the city. The police, the judges, the extremely-escapable jails, and the lawyers of some of the lesser known criminals seemed to be useless or even a hindrance.
On my thirteenth birthday, Dad was gone from the night before to ten minutes to midnight on the day. He came in, spinning around in the large armchair, looking absolutely depressed. He apologized profusely for missing the whole day and the party. Steelbeak had been trying to gain access to a new weapon and SHUSH had practically begged for Darkwing's help with that case (well, Hooter did… Grizzlikof, while getting on slightly better with Dad, had still given Darkwing a death glare and tried to convince someone to find another solution). I didn't and couldn't blame Dad for missing my birthday. It wasn't his fault and, technically, he did make it back before he completely missed the day. But I did blame SHUSH. Steelbeak had supposed to have been locked in their most secure prison, one designed by a super-secret organization with access to high-tech gadgets that the term "keen gear" doesn't even start to describe. If even they can't stop criminals, how are regular prisons supposed to help?
Locking up villains in order to punish them is a joke. They might as well install a revolving door. No one learns their lesson or even fears the consequences of their crimes. Jail is nothing more than a slight inconvenience. Darkwing's attempts to make a difference to the world are being undone by the rest of the justice system. The idea, itself, that locking up a criminal will fix anything is flawed.
Dad hated when his crime-fighting career caused him to miss out on important events in my life (unless it also got him out of spending time with the Muddlefoots). My thirteenth birthday was only one case. He would arrive late, leave early, or miss entire games I played because of Megavolt escaping from jail. Family nights of my favorite horror movie marathons would be postponed or cancelled because of strange behaving plants would indicate Bushroot was up to something. So many moments were lost because a villain could not be kept trapped very long before they escaped.
When I was fifteen, he managed to "borrow" a portal generator from SHUSH. Dad described the Negaverse a little to Launchpad and I and began to use the portal to either chase down Negaduck on occasion or simply help to the Friendly Four. While he only used the portal generator in rare circumstances and completely forbid anyone else to touch the machine, it still visibly increased his work load. I can't imagine how he would have managed to keep up with all the super-powered villains if he never gained a side-kick. As soon as I was old enough, I intended to reclaim my title as Quiverwing Quack and help him properly. That way, Darkwing might be able to actually rest properly and get ahead of the criminals for once.
But I wanted to find a more effective way to stop criminals than the useless prison. Rather than continue the endless cycle, I wanted to find a solution. After all, we would have two universes to worry about and twice the criminals. The "revolving door jail" wouldn't be enough.
A memory of a nightmarishly twisted alternate future, one where my own father had completely lost all concepts of restraint and reasonable punishment to become a crazy dictator of doom, began to creep around in the back of my mind. I never told anyone about those events and I know that Megavolt and Quackerjack would never bring it up (if the electric rodent even remembered). I didn't want to think about that day, but images and facts of that time crawled around in my subconscious and occasionally brought itself to my attention. Granted, Darkwarrior Duck was dishing out life imprisonment and death sentences for the smallest crimes, but he also managed to stamp out all crime. Major villains and real threats were gone. I didn't think that I wanted Dad to become the heartless monster I met there, but I began to wonder if it would be possible to use some of his ideas to solve the continuously-escaping villains. For the longest time since I first met that terrifying version of my loving parent, I tried to forget about that desolate future and to take comfort in the fact my very presence assured it would never occur. But, every now and then, I would consider the option that Darkwarrior wasn't completely wrong.
When I turned sixteen, I finally insisted that Dad needed to teach me how to properly fight. I could already fire my bow with extreme accuracy and had picked up a few moves on my own by observing Darkwing in action over the years. He was still uncomfortable with the idea of me following in his footsteps, but I demonstrated that I could be just as stubborn as my adoptive parent. His protectiveness, however annoying at times, was connected to his knowledge of the dangers of that particular lifestyle and because he truly cared for me. Once I wore through the layers of stubborn parental-ness, I began to gain the necessary skills my father had to offer. I practiced every trick and move, all the time wondering how I would be able to make a real difference to the world.
If the justice system wouldn't work the way it should, I would find another route to follow. I would remove the problem from the equation. Instead of having the mild punishment of jail, I would give them real justice. Not the crazy level of Darkwarrior Duck, but I could provide a real reason for criminals to fear their lifestyle. Rather than just locking them up like Dad tried to over the years, I could pound them into a pulp. Bruises and fear of crime fighters would be a better deterrent. And I wouldn't hurt the small-time crooks like Darkwarrior, a.k.a. No-Brain the Barbarian. I'm not crazy or extreme like him. I would just be firmer and tougher on the really dangerous ones.
And I knew how deadly the criminals of St. Canard could be. Taraus Bulba, Negaduck, and even some of the less vicious ones, like Liquidator, could easily kill an innocent bystander, Launchpad, me, or Dad if something went wrong. If they were removed from the equation, everyone would be safer. During the time after Taraus was killed, I felt slightly safer. I had a new home, a new family, and even though I would encounter more enemies, the fact that creep was gone made me happy. But when he first returned as a cyborg, the shock and horror that hit froze me in place. Everyone in the world is better off with monsters like him dead (no offense to Morgana's relatives, who can be literal monsters without being that evil).
By seventeen, all the scattered ideas about criminals and the justice system finally came together with one clear decision. I would become the ultimate force against evil; stopping at nothing to bring the world is better future. If I break the criminal's spirit (and possibly their legs, arms, ribs, or even their necks), they will no longer be a threat. The crime level in St. Canard would drop as the villain either gave up out of fear or by simply no longer existing. Darkwing's workload would drop to something more manageable. He might even have a real life, maybe even marry Morgana someday.
I didn't intend to share my plan with anyone. After all, Dad would worry about me enough if I followed directly in his footsteps. My more radical ideas would send him straight into "overprotective parent" mode. Besides, he'd probably be jealous that he didn't think of it first. I love him, but he does have an impressively large and sensitive ego. Once I proved that my firmer policy against criminals would work, I could ease him slowly into the concept. He could then help me convince Launchpad and maybe even Honker that it was for the best. I knew Darkwing would always back me up.
When I was eighteen, I graduated from high school and was accepted into Yarvard University with a scholarship. It marked an important moment for me. I was leaving behind everyone important in my life for a new city. Even Honker, my best friend even after all these years, would be left behind. Originally, I wanted to attend the same college as him, but things change. The young genius had been accepted to one of the most prestigious colleges for science, Mouseton Institute for Technology. He couldn't reject an offer like that and I knew I would be able to begin my plan easier on my own anyway. I wished him luck, assured Dad and Launchpad I would be fine, and moved out of the house I'd lived in happily since the day Drake Mallard took in a spirited little girl. It was hard, but so is growing up.
The college was awesome, emphasizing athletic accomplishments rather than academic excellence. The campus was filled with other people who could provide a proper defense in hockey or pitch a mean curveball. And Duckburg was so different than home. The most interesting sight in the city was the impressive looming shape of Scrooge McDuck's money bin perched on the hill. Even after all this time, I find it amazing that Launchpad used to work for the richest duck in the world.
But I did more than just go sight-seeing. Dad had agreed I could become an official crime-fighter when I was an adult, especially if I was in a city with relatively low levels of violent crime and another hero in the area (which would lead him to complain about Gizmoduck for a while). He also made me promise to keep my grades up or else he was taking back my cape-wearing privileges. I agreed to his terms while jokingly remarking that just because I planned to keep up my studies (not to the insane extent Honker would at M.I.T. would need to), that didn't mean I would clean my room. This earned me a chuckle from Dad and an overly-enthusiastic hug from Launchpad, who refused to believe I was leaving. I would be a solo hero in a strange city, fighting against villains as the Quiverwing Quack. And I would be able to begin testing my theories on how to stop crime.
Duckburg didn't seem to be as saturated in super-powered beings as St. Canard. And having Gizmoduck in the city permanently results in even small-time crooks being a rarity. My first victim of "tougher crime-fighting" was just a trespasser. Feeling creative, I decided to lock him up in a trunk and leave him somewhere. A few hours of claustrophobia would certainly scare him straight. My minor criminal, refusing to shut up, earned a black eye to go with his punishment. Surprisingly, it felt good to terrify him and it didn't bother me that I went a little further than I intended to. He was a criminal, after all, and deserved to be punished. And it wasn't like a black eye was that bad. As long as I stayed focused and didn't go too overboard, I wouldn't repeat Darkwarrior's mistakes.
I continued to seek out criminals at night, trying to actually prove my methods worked best, but I often turned up nothing. One weekend, about a month after I started college, a brilliant idea hit me. A bus ride back to St. Canard (I didn't have a hero-based source of transport due to not having a secret hideout to keep it… and Launchpad and Dad said they might get me a motorcycle of my own on my twentieth birthday, complete with plenty of add-ons like Darkwing's vehicle) on Friday night and I could gain access to an entirely new universe of evil and could head back to Duckburg afterwards to go back to class Monday morning.
Technically, Darkwing told me that no one but him was allowed to use the portal generator, but he also didn't want me to follow him around on some of his more dangerous adventures as a kid either. Besides, he was always saying that he only "misplaced" the portal generator for the greater good. And I would be helping the Negaverse, so my use of the portal generator would be for the greater good too.
I knew my Dad's schedule and knew the various ways in and out of the hideout. Sneaking in unnoticed was child's play. Activating the machine itself was trickier. One of the first things Darkwing had done upon gaining the portal generator was to change the activation code from the one SHUSH installed (Honker helped him with the task, but he didn't know what the final code ended up being… otherwise, I probably would have gotten him to help me use it as a kid). I tried a few combinations of numbers, ranging from out phone number to the date of his and Morgana's first meeting to the number of news articles that he'd collected about himself over the years. Each one was a failure.
Growing frustrated, I had almost given up when I realized the numbers each had their own tone when pressed. Acting on a hunch, I played out the first few notes of a very special song with the buttons. It was a song from my past that had two parts and two composers. The first was devised by my last blood relative both to lull me to sleep and to entrust me with the code of his greatest invention. The second half came from a certain lone vigilante who claimed to need no one and to only really care about the fame of crime fighting, but still willing to invent new verses for a girl who blackmailed her way into staying. And he created them simply because he grew to care about the spirited child that quickly. Both Grandfather and Darkwing sang to me because they loved me. Dad even reclaimed his old civilian identity so he could raise me. And he used the tune "Little Girl Blue" as a code because he still remembered it even all these years later.
The portal opened in a very different hideout and a very different world. In the years since Dad started helping the Negaverse, he'd managed to help NegaMegavolt and the others take over and move in to the hideout in their universe (partially so that Negaduck couldn't just waltz in if he ever figured out Darkwing's hideout by traveling between the two universes… apparently location remains constant during travel). Happily, the group kept their portal generator, reverse-engineered by NegaQuackerjack and NegaMegavolt so it wouldn't end up being a one way trip (no one knows where Negaduck's portal generator or random stable portal is located, though Dad said it definitely isn't through the cake any more), was out of the way in this universe as well. This meant no one saw me arrive or leave.
The people of the Negaverse were opposites of their counterparts, including whether they were good or evil. Not every trait was completely reversed and some differences were less obvious than others. While one individual might be an introverted, bookworm type, cat lady in the normal universe, she could be an out-going, cable-stealing, dog lover in the Negaverse, while being an expert in sci-fi in both. The change from good to evil might be subtle, but it could be spotted. And since most people in the normal St. Canard are at least slightly good, I could assume most in the Negaverse would be bad, ranging from rude neighbors to psychos. This provided loads of opportunities which I began to exploit every weekend I could.
The first real injury I caused to a criminal was actually in Duckburg. He was a jewelry thief and a repeat offender. It was a more serious crime and he didn't show signs of stopping his minor crime wave. He wasn't as difficult to fight as I expected. I caught him off-guard and he didn't seem to have any experience at fighting properly. Before I finished, the crook's arm was broken and I either bruised or cracked his ribs. As a final touch, I left him clinging to the ledge of a tall building with his good arm. His final expression before I left was one of pain and utter terror. Some of the criminals Darkwing faced would be afraid of him, but rarely to this extent. The knowledge that I could cause these emotions, that I could have this kind of power over grown men, felt exhilarating. I thought the attention and praise from the public I experience when I first donned my costume as a kid was fun. Dad certainly loved the fame. But this new sensation of causing deep pain and fear in hardened criminals was even better. I could see that he would never consider stealing again. He was proof that harsher methods would yield better results.
That particular criminal's injuries were just the start. Other individuals, in both universes, suffered broken fingers, heavy bruising, broken jaws, mild concussions, and more cracked ribs. Some were later dragged to jail, but imprisonment wasn't the point. Each face filled with agony and terror, each criminal who would undoubtedly avoid breaking the law in the future, brought another burst of pride, excitement, and satisfaction. None were super-powered villains, but they were criminals and I was making a difference.
In time, I started to wonder if I was going far enough. Maybe some of these repeat offenders are beyond help, even if they aren't super-powered. They might not be as violent or dangerous as the Fearsome Five, but they could be just as stubborn about remaining on the wrong side of the law. They would need something more frightening to make an impact. Or maybe even just taking them out of the equation too.
Among my trick arrows (prepared by Honker before he left for M.I.T., though he'd taught me to make them myself and I was getting better with experience) were the ones that cocooned a victim in rope. Originally created to leave a bound criminal for the police to arrest, I devised a new use for the arrows. A skinny guy with a crime record a mile long arrived in Duckburg one night. They found him in the river later, tied up and nearly drowned. I'm not sure if I was happy they found him alive or disappointed he survived. Either way, he would undoubtedly be rethinking his life style and he wasn't the last to be dumped in the water.
Most of my victims still ended up being in the Negaverse. Dodging the Friendly Four was becoming harder with each criminal I dealt with. A couple of time, they nearly caught a glimpse of me. Deep down, I knew they weren't ready for my methods and would try to stop me. I simply reminded myself that Dad would help convince them when the time comes. I could avoid them a little longer if it meant I could continue. I needed this to keep going. The fear and pain, the lives I were changing, and the fact it would help the public and Dad were all urging me to continue. I would scourge crime from Duckburg and the Negaverse version of St. Canard, then from the state of Calisota, and eventually the world.
After a particularly slow two weeks, I saw him in the Negaverse. Some idiot with no concern for anyone else in the world. I'd been looking everywhere for a criminal and I finally found one. He wasn't a mugger or an international jewel thief, but jaywalking is still a crime. Granted, even cops don't bother arresting them, but I don't care about the opinion of the useless justice system. Besides, I wanted to do something and he was the only criminal I'd found lately. I dropped him off a building, selecting a height that wouldn't be fatal. Right before I released him, he begged and pleaded for me not to hurt him. I didn't feel pity or remorse as he fell. I was smiling.
That night, my return to my own universe had been more difficult. NegaMegavolt definitely saw me as I was heading back across the city. He tried to chase me, but I managed to lose him before I made it back to the portal generator (I tossed a handful of light bulbs towards the street below and the electrically-charged rodent dove to save the "poor darlings"). I wondered briefly if Darkwing had ever mentioned my existence to them. Did they know about Quiverwing's costume design, my preference to use a bow and trick arrows, or the fact I was one of the few people involved in crime-fighting with red hair? Could they guess I was from the other universe or would they assume that I belonged in the Negaverse? Either way, I planned to remain in Duckburg for a while. I don't need anyone to alert Dad about my new methods before I'm ready.
It wasn't long after that point that everything went wrong. I was hunted down by the Friendly Four, my doppelganger who'd joined the group, and Darkwing Duck himself. The pink-clad Dazzling Duck hog-tied me and they dragged me to jail. I wanted to blame the backwards-minded, criminal-protecting Friendly Five for trying to stop me. Stopping someone from stopping a criminal is practically the same thing as helping a criminal directly. And isn't "Aiding and Abiding" a crime itself? By arresting me (which was an insult to me since the whole point of my actions was that jails are useless), the Friendly Five are behaving like villains. Every single criminal who I could have stopped is their responsibility now and I blame them for every crime committed while I remain in my cell.
Even worse, however, is the fact that one other person deserves to be blamed for my situation and I truly didn't want to think of him as the enemy. Though Darkwing never made a move to try to capture me, he made it perfectly clear that he agreed to the group's decision to imprison me. He stood there and he even said that I was going too far. He let this happen to me. He could have stopped it or helped me escape, but he allowed them to take me away.
Never once, since the day he came into my life, did I doubt that he loved me. I never thought that Darkwing considered me less than his daughter nor did I ever employ the argument that he wasn't my real dad. I knew that he didn't treat me differently because he adopted me. If, by some miracle, he had married Morgana and had kids, I probably wouldn't have even worried that he would care about his "real" kids more. Most people didn't even realize that he wasn't my biological parent, regardless of the fact I ended up taller than him and had red hair. Our personalities were too similar. We both shared our creative minds, a desire to be heroes, our sheer stubbornness, and more spirit than is probably healthy for one household. He was my family and never doubted it. He re-established a civilian identity so he could raise me, work extra hard so he could be a good father for me even while keeping the city safe, and took steps to ensure that I would be taken care of no matter what. I found his Will one time while I was going through his stuff (I was looking for Christmas presents at the time and kind of stumbled across the paperwork… I was eleven at the time and curiosity will always win out over the concept of "privacy"). Turns out he'd arranged for several people to become my guardian in case anything happened to him. Launchpad was on top of the list for obvious reasons, but he also named Morgana in case the loyal sidekick couldn't do it and even suggested the Muddlefoots as another possibility. He knew the dangers of his lifestyle and wanted to ensure that, even if the worst should happen to him, I wouldn't be left alone or be forced to return to the orphanage.
I always knew that Darkwing loved me, but he still managed to let the Friendly Five arrest me. That hurt. I trusted him. Dad's complete refusal to help me that night felt like the ultimate betrayal. I lashed out at him in pain, telling him that I hated him. I could see that my words hurt him deeply and that he was trying to hide it, but I didn't care at that moment. Everything had gone wrong and I didn't care who suffered alongside me.
Now, sitting inside my lonely prison cell, I felt bad about my words to him. I probably could have talked him around if the others hadn't been present. Even with the Friendly Five there, I might have been able to convince him to consider my firmer methods if I hadn't lost my temper when Dazzling Duck tied me up. Instead, I hurt him and provided Darkwing with further doubt concerning my innovative ideas.
"Or maybe you just proved that you should be locked away," a tiny voice in my head muttered harshly, sounding like myself as a child.
"Shut up," I snapped. "I don't need my naïve past poking into my life. I'm older, smarter, and understand the truth better than you."
"You're acting like Darkwarrior. He wanted to exterminate or lock up everyone, including Launchpad. That future was a nightmare and you shouldn't want to be anything like him. But you're currently doing your best to win the Runner-up prize for 'Most Psychotic Crime-fighter with Questionable Methods'," the voice of my younger self accused, ringing out from my subconscious. "And you are just as crazy. You're talking to yourself."
I rolled my eyes at the imaginary speaker, "At least I know you're fake. And it isn't like I'm talking to light bulbs or that 'Mr. Banana-Brain' doll and thinking they are really responding. That is crazy." In a softer tone, I added, "Also, some of Darkwarrior's ideas make sense. But I don't take it as far as him."
"You dropped a jaywalker off a building," reminded my younger self. I could imagine the glare that my nine year old self would have employed. "That is practically the definition of overkill. I tried to tell you that you were acting exactly like him that night; to tell you that you were turning into a clone version of Darkwarrior, but you refused to believe it. You wanted to drown that guy and his death wouldn't have bothered you at all. Your morality is all out of whack and your sanity is sliding off a cliff. You deserve to be here."
I shoved the small voice and any doubts she might try to stir up about my harsher methods for handling criminals aside. My plan to replace the justice system with something that actually worked was perfect. It wasn't my fault I'm ahead of my time. Wasn't it tradition that the forward-thinkers end up suffering for their ideas? Still, most don't have to deal with their subconscious adopting a familiar voice and directly arguing against their belief. I figure that she's just my way of coping with the solitude by creating a younger version of myself to talk to, but that didn't explain why she was so opposed to my methods. If it wasn't for the fact I've done nothing wrong, I'd have guessed her to be my guilty conscience or something. But that didn't make sense; I was doing the right thing. They're the ones who should feel guilty or experiencing doubt.
Further down the hall, I began to hear footsteps and voices. Out of habit, I checked my mask. Though they took away my bow and quiver of trick arrows, I was allowed to retain my mask and costume. I figure the Friendly Five were responsible for that small favor. Either they didn't want the similarity to Dazzling Duck to any more noticeable than it had to be or they were trying to make up for the fact they were locking up the daughter of their idol. I didn't care which one was the reason as long as I kept my identity as Quiverwing while dealing with these people. Gosalyn was just a girl; Quiverwing was a hero who struck fear and pain into those who deserve it.
The voices were approaching. The fact that there were only a few super-powered beings in this jail, let alone this section of it, meant they were coming to see me. I didn't have a large number of possible visitors. Not only am I in an alternate universe, but security protocol further limited outside interactions of prisoners considered "high-risk," which includes anyone in the super-villain prison like me. This concept was devised by Chief Director NegaSteelbeak of the Free Organization of World Leadership or FOWL (which is apparently a good organization attempting to re-establish order and law out of the chaotic dictatorship of Negaduck while the opposing group, SHUSH, tried to break apart the government, police force, and the military so that Negaduck could regain complete control of the universe… this further demonstrates how unnerving and confusing the Negaverse is) and the individualized cells were designed by the young genius NegaTank who joined FOWL instead of becoming a member of the Friendly Five when he grew up (again, unnerving and a little creepy to consider). Only someone with the complete trust of everyone in power could come in to visit. That meant my visitors tended to be the same people who caused me to be locked up in the first place.
NegaGos, or Dazzle, was my most frequent visitor. She would show up every two or three days for anything ranging from five minutes to two hours. She didn't seem as bothered as her "uncles" about our similarity in appearance. She would sit outside my powered-down cell (the guards would turn off the electricity to the bars when I had a visitor so that the humming of power wouldn't distract anyone… besides, the bars were still solid metal, a pair of guards remain within sight the whole time the power was off, and a professional crime-fighter was right there… who would actually try to escape then?) and she would talk to me. Actually, she would do most of the talking and I would sit quietly with only a rare question or comment for her before I returned into my earlier silence.
Even though she had a crime-fighting name, everyone knew her civilian name too. Thus, she was free to share facts about her childhood and life. She explained that, even though her grandfather loved her and treated her well, he was over all an unpleasant person to everyone else and who created weapons of war. His greatest was to be a machine that destroyed connections between molecules so that a substance fell apart into individual atoms. Essentially, he invented a disintegration say that could affect solids, liquids, gases, inanimate and animate objects equally well. Taurus Bulba, a level-headed person and leader of a peace movement in the Negaverse, went to talk to the inventor, but her grandfather reacted badly to his attempts to convince him not to hand such a deadly weapon to the highest bidder. In an attempt to attack NegaBulba, Professor Waddlemeyer tripped over one of his inventions and fell down the stairs, breaking his neck. Even though it was an accident, NegaBulba felt guilty about the entire incident and took my doppelganger in. Negaduck, a fairly new villain who was already making a name for himself with his ruthless and violent behavior, wanted the weapon. While stealing the actual machine was easy, he needed the activation codes in order to operate it and sought out the only person who might have them: NegaGosalyn. Of course, NegaBulba had grown attached to the sweet child and refused to let a monster like him take her without a fight. One chainsaw massacre later and the girl was Negaduck's personal trophy. Unfortunately, he could never manage to gain the code from her. Unwilling to give up a potential weapon in case she did know it, he kept her around as he came into full-power and gained control everyone. Eventually, he found a house near his biggest supporters, the Negaverse version of the Muddlefoots, and essentially tossed her there for safe-keeping under the watchful eye of the loyal and lethal NegaLaunchpad (when he wasn't doing Negaduck's dirty work) so he didn't have to deal with her. This was her life until the day Darkwing arrived in this world. She'd encountered and even tried to help the Friendly Four when she wasn't being observed prior to this point, but the group couldn't really help her due to their ineffectiveness. But when my dad put the group through a crime-fighting crash course boot-camp and turned them into a reasonably formidable force did they have the ability to take NegaGos and NegaTank out of their depressing homes and actually be able to protect them from their guardians taking the kids back out of spite. The young pair of kids was then raised by the group of heroes.
I knew that she was trying to make a connection with me. She was hoping that if she spoke to me and gained my sympathy, I might open up and explain why I ended up this way. She wanted to "fix" me, but I wasn't broken. She's just blind to the truth like the rest of them. She's so sweet and innocent, believing in the idea that there is good in everyone and no one is beyond all hope of reform. I could hear her express a certain amount of affection for her grandfather, NegaBulba, Darkwing, and even a little for Negaduck (and her story with Taurus Bulba as a good guy was just creepy and wrong… I did ask out of curiosity if her grandfather ever sung to her and learned she also received "Little Girl Blue" from him… I found it kind of hilarious that Negaduck could have gained control of the Negaverse version of the Ramrod if he'd only taken the time to interact with the girl or even sing her a lullaby). She cared about all of them, even though she realized that he was evil. I, on the other hand, knew some criminals were beyond help and the only way to deal with them was the violence. This is why the worst of the worst should be dead: they were beyond all hope of change or redemption. I think that was why I always see her as being so much younger than me: even though she's lived through nightmares and horrors, she remains so innocent, naïve, and insanely sweet to the point she seems to be a little kid still instead of a young adult while I became more suspicious and understanding of how inexcusably evil people could really be.
I glanced up as the guard began to deactivate the electricity, the musical tones of the key pad on the wall near my cell, but positioned so I couldn't actually see it or the numbers being pressed so that I couldn't tell an accomplish the code and break me out (as if I could find an accomplice to break me out in an entirely different universe than mine), were barely audible over the humming of my cell bars. Instead of my pink-clad, curly-haired copy, another figure stood on the other side of the bars. The hat, the cape, the mask, and the overwhelming amount of purple quickly identified my visitor. Other than a member of the Friendly Five, he is the only person who could easily convince the guys in charge to let him in to their super-villain prison. The hero who turned the Friendly Four from a group of rag-tag individuals to the main defenders and fighting force of the Negaverse, the being who face Negaduck regularly and won, and the only person I ever saw from my own universe any more: Darkwing Duck.
He couldn't come as often as my doppelganger, but he did arrive every month or so. He wasn't very talkative during the visits, especially compared to his usual narration and banter he would gush during his moments of super egotism. He would tell me about how Honker was doing (still at college, but he'd be out for the summer soon) and what Launchpad was doing back home (he'd been sort of more subdued since he found out about the Friendly Five arresting me and the undoubtedly biased account of what I'd been doing). He never mentioned himself or how his crime-fighting was going. He never mentioned any fights against criminals or if he'd been in the news lately. Part of me worried that my imprisonment would cause him to go into a depression that leads down the path of "Darkwarrior future" like my disappearance from the timeline did, but I hoped not. Still, Dad wasn't himself when he visited. He wasn't happy about where I was, but wouldn't change it either. He also seemed uncertain how to address me. I think the final words I spoke to him still hurt him and he looked at me sometimes like I was a stranger. In return, I haven't said a single word to him since the night I was captured. Neither of us could apologize; we're both too stubborn to go first. I wanted to say I don't hate him, even after everything. Unfortunately, I don't know if he's actually sorry he let those blind fools lock me away. Maybe hadn't apologized because he didn't want to instead of simple stubbornness.
Today, he stood there in uncomfortable silence for a while. We both knew the guards a short distance away could hear us, but the pair of brown-furred canines were at least pretending to ignore us and that they were oblivious to anything we might say. By this point it was clear that both Darkwing and I were connected somehow, but the guards acted like they didn't notice this either. Still, he made certain to only call me "Quiverwing" while he visited. No one had called me "Gos" in months.
"Well…" he began slowly.
"Jails are useless," I interrupted, startling my parent by speaking to him. "They're easily escaped and no one ever changes because of them. They serve no real purpose. Prison walls can't contain crime."
"You're still here," he pointed out after a moment. "You haven't tried to break out."
Grinning slightly, I remarked, "For the moment I'm here, but I'm not some common villain who destroys half the building trying to get out and that would only cause those criminal-protecting Friendly Five to get upset about the damage. I'm better than that, Darkwing. And just because they placed me here doesn't mean I've given up on fixing the world. My plan hasn't been stopped."
He sighed tiredly, "You can't do that. You can't just toss out the entire justice system because you think you know better. You can't just decide to beat, maim, or kill whoever you want."
"Only criminals, Darkwing. And only those who deserve it. Everyone is too soft on them and gives them too many second chances. I don't."
He gave me that look again: the one that suggests he has no idea who I am anymore. I hated that look. I was still his daughter. My radical ideas might have seemed extreme if he wasn't prepared for them, but he'd already had months to consider them. I would have thought he'd be more receptive to my methods now instead of still being shocked by them.
"The days of villains having life easy are over. Night is falling and I'll be waiting in the shadows for them," I stated, turning away from him. Almost as an afterthought, I added, "See? I can be as overly dramatic as you are."
I ignored the pleading tone in his voice. I refused to react. Someday, he would see I'm right. Once I've destroyed a large portion of the criminal population with my more aggressive methods, when I've rained down a storm of fear and pain on the villains, and I've made the world a far better place that didn't demand every second of a hero's life in order to maintain, he would see that I was right. He may be stubborn and egotistical, but I knew Dad would eventually get past his doubts and jealousy in order to offer apologies for not seeing the truth sooner. It is inconceivable that he would never admit I'm right. He had to understand that harsher strategies against criminals were the only way. And I could wait until that point if I had to.
When it became clear I wasn't going to say anything more to him or even listen to what he originally came to tell me, Darkwing began to walk away. The musical tones of the keypad and the restored hum of the metal bars of my cell told me one of the guards had activated the electricity. I didn't turn around. I just listened to the footsteps fade away. Once again, I was alone.
I smiled. Perfect.
Moonlight streamed in through my barred window of my cell. I didn't have a watch or calendar, but I knew it was a Friday night on the third week of the month. I also knew it was about five minutes to shift change. This was important because, by listening to the guards complain about a million things over the months ranging from their jobs to their home lives to the pathetic football game they watched the night before, I knew that a guy named Alvin always left about five minutes before his relief showed up. It earned him the occasional reprimand from those in charge, but he hadn't been fired yet. Trying to find someone willing to be a cop in the Negaverse, a dangerous career choice with an extremely high mortality rate due to the amount of criminals running around (even after the Friendly Five's attempts to improve conditions of St. Canard specifically and this universe in general), was too hard to simply get rid of one over a small problem like that. The important fact was that, according to the schedule I'd deduced from hundreds of little hints and clues I'd gathered, he would be the one watching the security cameras tonight and, because of his habit of leaving early, there was currently a small window of opportunity when I would be completely unobserved.
I pulled out a long, thin piece of metal I'd extracted from where it had been sewed into the rim of my hat (how else would it keep that perfect "Robin Hood" shape even when I'm fighting? Just plain cloth would have been squashed and torn out of shape by now) and had been waiting to use. Every time the electricity on my cell bars had been deactivated, I'd listened carefully to the tones and paid attention to the general location of the key pad. Finally, I'd memorized the entire sequence.
Bending the wire into a curve, I slowly slid it between the bars, being extremely careful not to touch the metal wire to the electrified bars since I had no intentioned of being fried to a crisp, until it rested above the out-of-sight key pad. Hoping that my luck would hold out, I began pressing the buttons I judged to match the tones with the wire. By a miracle, my estimates of the keys' positions were correct and I was able to enter the code without a problem. The hum of electricity died.
Moving more swiftly now, I maneuvered the wire to the lock of my cell. Rather than a high-tech lock that could be fried by the large amount of electricity running through the door, they decided to use a more standard manual lock and key system. Of course, no one could even try to touch the lock while everything was electrified. That meant someone would have to bypass the key pad before attempting to actually open the door.
Picking a lock takes practice, but I'd had years to work on it. It started with the classic "hairpin" style (how else was I supposed to sneak a pig into the boy's bathroom?), but that usually seemed juvenile, awkward, and slow now. I began using my own set of lock-picking tools at eleven (once again, curiosity wins over the concept of "privacy"), but no jail in either universe would let their prisoners keep those (even if I'd been carrying them at the time, which I hadn't). Thus, I had to use the long wire in the more clumsy style from my childhood. My skills were still dependable and I earned a satisfying click in very little time.
I opened my cell door, wincing at the slight creak. Even without my bow and arsenal of arrows, I could handle the rest of my escape easily. No one expected me to escape here since I'd been the ideal prisoner who never caused problems and I didn't even have any powers. Every guard here underestimated me. Besides, even if they did happen to consider me capable of breaking out, it wouldn't make any difference. Jails were nothing more than a building that looked secure. I knew the "revolving door" condition of these places better than anyone. Criminals always break out.
"Does this mean you agree that you're a criminal now?" the voice of my younger self asked sharply. "After all, you're breaking out of jail like one of them."
I grimaced at the annoying figment of my imagination, but didn't answer. Being in the middle of a jailbreak… an escape is not the time to get into an argument with yourself.
"A violent villain who takes pleasure in causing pain while hiding behind a supposed noble cause," continued the angry version of my nine year old self, with all the sarcasm that I possessed as a kid. "Dad is never going to forgive you, by the way. He'll never think hurting people is right. You're twisting the concept of justice into a tool of evil. Dazzling Duck grew into a hero; you grew into a monster." The imaginary speaker paused for a moment, "I can't believe I've been reduced to talking like a cheap comic or a cliché mystical advisor. I'm about one step away from being a talking cricket in a top hat. How about we just stick with the idea that you're a crazy psycho who can't tell right from wrong anymore? Even when I'm over here, telling you that this is wrong."
I frowned and muttered, "I refuse to believe you're my conscience. I'm doing the right thing. Now, shut up and leave me alone."
"Fine, ignore the obvious," she grumbled. "Just don't blame me when you wake up someday and realize you've turned into someone worse than Darkwarrior or Negaduck."
With a frustrated growl, I shoved that annoying voice of my childhood self back into the dark depths of my mind. I didn't have time to listen to whatever insane ideas my imagination might bring. Besides, I know she was wrong. She was wrong about Dad, my idea, and me.
Whoa, memo to self: stop referring to that figment of my imagination like it was a real entity.
The halls were empty so far, but that wouldn't last for long. I ran down them, silent as a ghost and heading for the exit as the rare prisoner either stared in surprise or missed my passing all together. As I ran in front of a camera near my target, I gave a sneering grin that wouldn't be seen until someone reviewed the recording later. Just because I'm fleeing captivity didn't mean I couldn't insult their security in the process.
It was late at night, it was quiet and calm, and the guards were currently in the process of changing shifts. I took advantage of this situation and simply ran out, dodging spotlights and quickly scaling the wall. I would have preferred to have Dad's gas gun with its grappling hook or even an arrow with a rope attached to aid in this problem, but I managed anyway. Without even setting off an alarm, I had escaped from the prison designed for super-powered villains. This further cemented my belief in the absolute uselessness of the entire "jail" concept.
Finally, once I was safely out of there and they had no chance of recapturing me, alarms began to wail out. I simply walked calmly away as the guards began to scurry around inside the building, trying to figure out what was wrong. I wouldn't be able to sneak in and use the portal generator (at least, not until the Friendly Five lowered their guard), but I could recreate my bow and trick arrows in the mean time. I would simply operate in the Negaverse for now, crushing any criminals I encountered.
I smiled to myself, glancing up at the moon. Quiverwing was back.
I blame all of you for this. "Different as Night and Day" had been my longest single-chapter story (about 2000 words longer than I originally planned too). This one has surpassed it. The last time fans convinced me to make a sequel to a one-shot, I ended up with a series that currently has 15 stories in it, including three multi-chaptered ones. I hope this doesn't end up like that… I don't want to lose control of my life.
The idea behind this was that a chain reaction towards unexpected results and it didn't take anything major to set it off. It wasn't one big event that changed Gos: it was a series of small events that slowly added up. It could have been anything that caused Gos start down her darker path. All it took was a very small push at the right time.
Okay, reference time! Yarvard is a college in Duckburg that I found that is famous for sports (perfect for Gosalyn). I also learned that St. Canard is in a state called Calisota, which also has locations such as Duckburg, Goosetown, and Mouseton (home of characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, etc). Thus, I was able to work in a M.I.T. pun for Honker's college. I also tossed in references for other Nega-versions of characters from both "Darkwing Duck" and "Ducktales."
I may or may not make another story to go with this. I have other projects that I've been working on longer and needs my attention. Reviews are deeply appreciated.