Launchpad Leads The Way

There's this Ducktales puzzle I saw for sale on ebay that depicts Launchpad in his Jr. Woodchuck Pack Leader outfit, facing the Triplets while standing in a log flume boat, pointing straight ahead- towards a waterfall ahead.
(Sheesh! You'd think WB held the rights for Launchpad! NO! Disney would have MORE respect from him then!)

NEWSFLASH Disney: I TRUST Launchpad implacably.

Right now, I feel luckier than Gladstone Gander. I live in the Bronx and didn't lose power, nothing.

Launchpad saw the Triplets sitting around looking glum. "What are you three looking so downhearted about?" Launchpad asked them.

"Unca Scrooge's birthday is coming up! What can we get for the uncle who has everything?" Huey asked.

"I've been wondering what I can get for him, too! I think I've come up with something- but I could use some help. You three are very good at being sneaky- which isn't exactly my speciality. How's about helping me?" Launchpad asked.

"Helping you so what?" Dewey inquired.

"I was doing some fire-fighting flying for the forest service when I ran into Goldie, Mr. McDuck's old- er- former girl friend. She's limberjilling at Uppa Creak- where Mr. McDee first struck it rich. " Launchpad began explaining.

"Goldie told me that logs from the logging camp there- which Mr. McDee owns- keep disappearing. If something isn't done soon, Mr. McDee will have to sell the place- and it has sentimental value for him. How's about we poke around, find out what's going on- so Mr. McDee doesn't have to sell it and has an excuse to get reacquainted with Goldie? I know he's still in love with her."(1) Launchpad said.

"What makes you say that?" Louie asked.

"Let's see, there's the painting of her in the mansion, there's the figurine of her in the Money Bin's office, but mostly there's this look in his eye when he talks about her...he's still in love with her." Launchpad said.

"I think it's a shame and a pity that they are BOTH too stubborn to let bygones be bygones...how's about helping me get those two at least talking again?" Launchpad asked.

"Maybe we can do more than that- maybe we can get him to go with us! Investigating a mystery with Unca Scrooge would be lotsa fun!" Huey said.

So...they tried to get Mr. McDuck to come with them. But he had a bad case of I-don't-WANT-to-be-reminded-of-how-old-I'm-getting and the mere mention of Uppa Creek made him suspect a birthday surprise was in the works. He let- more like ordered- the Trins to go investigate to get them out of his non-existence hair,(2) but he refused to waste time investigating the loss of a logs.

"Bah! I can just write the logging camp off as a tax loss! I need some businesses that I KNOW will lose money to save money on taxes!" Mr. McDuck screamed, much to the confusion of the Triplets. ( I don't get that sort of thing, neither.)

"Well- at least we get to got poke around. Maybe if we can find out what's happening to the logs, we can get Unca Scrooge to come up there to thank us- and throw him a party!" Dewey said.

So Launchpad flew them to Uppa Creek in his plane. He landed near a small dam by the logging camp. The "person" in charge obliviously had a warped sense of humor. His hard hat read: "Dam Boss".

"I'm Dan Bose. I'm in charge around here. You work for Mr. McDuck, right? Is he finally looking into the logs disappearing on us? It's making us crazy. " Dan started.

"We chop the trees down, use the dam's power to saw them into logs and send them down river to the railroad, where we USED to collect them to send them to market." Dan continued.

But more than half never GET there. We can't figure out what's happening to them." Dan finished.

"Yes, I work for Mr. McDee. I'm Launchpad McQuack, his pilot and these are these nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie." Launchpad replied.

"It's OK if it takes you a while to tell us apart. We're used to that." the Trins chimed together.

"Let me give you the Cook's tour. We'll start with my favorite part: this is where we plant seedlings- baby trees." Dan stated. "We plant two seedlings for every tree we chop down. AND we chop the tree down in such a way it's more likely to grow back. (3) It's more expensive, but Mr. McDuck looks at it as an investment."

Mr. McDuck wants to make sure this logging camp is still here when you three grow up. He wants to make sure there is still WOOD available when you grow up." Dan commented.

"Besides, when the people who often protest against loggers cutting down trees found out we do this, they got off our backs."said Dan, going into lecture mode.

" That saves time, money and bad press. We also spare the tallest trees since some species of birds only nest in them. " Dan droned.

"Which is OK since they are usually the oldest trees- so they are very likely to be damaged due to animals, age or lightning. Even if we did chop them down, we end up with no more USUABLE wood then a shorter tree. (4)" Dan continued.

"But lately, a lot of the logs disappear on us- we've looked for them but found nothing. We could really use some help, before some of us lose our jobs. No point for Mr. McDuck to pay so many workers to get so few logs." Dan said.

"Can I see a map of the areas that you've searched looking for the missing logs? " Launchpad asked.

And Dan showed him the map they had used to coordinate their search, with the search areas clearly marked.

"The river bends here- but the area past the bend in the river hasn't been searched." Launchpad noticed.

"We can't search there, we'd be trespassing. That land is owned by another logging camp." Dan explained.

"Who owns that land?" asked Launchpad, suspecting he already knew the answer to that question.

"Some old geezer named Flintheart Glomgold, why?" Dan asked.

"Sigh. Boys, three guesses what's been happening to the missing logs?" Launchpad asked.

"Flintheart Glomgold's been stealing them, duh!" the Trins chorused.

"But he's stinking rich! Why would he BOTHER?" Dan asked.

"Friend, Flintheart would not only steal anything that hasn't been nailed down, he'd steal a claw hammer so he could pry up nails and steal stuff that's nailed down, too!" Launchpad explained.

"But you can't get on that land to look for stolen logs- it's patrolled and fenced off!" Dan objected. "You can't even fly over it, Flintheart owns the air rights to that land, too."

"If I'm right, stolen logs are getting on the property. Boys, I'm going to hide inside a hallowed out log." Launchpad told them.

"Can we come too? We're smaller, so we can fit inside easier." Huey asked.

"We can also DROWN easier." Dewey pointed out.

"Doesn't sound like much fun." Louie said.

"Are there any logs BIG enough for ME to hide in?" Launchpad asked.

" Of course! We'll use one of the biggest log, they are the ones that disappear the most often, anyway. And we'll "forget" to keep an eye on it.." Dan said.

Soon, the log was hallowed out, ready for Launchpad to hide in.

" I am NOT going to like this." Launchpad mumbled when he saw how small the inside of them was.

"This was YOUR idea." the Trins reminded him.

So Launchpad went. The rest of the gang followed, an shore. They ran as as they could to Flinty's land , without trespassing. They kept an eye on Launchpad's log, via binoculars. The log had been marked with red paint, to make it easy to spot.

Flinty's flunkies snuck onto Mr, McDuck's land. They moved the logs so they went not onto the upper river, but to a smaller, lower branch. An branch that headed to Flinty's mill. Seeing this, Dan took out his cell phone and called the cops.

Soon, the local cops were investigating. Dan, Huey, Dewey and Louie were allowed to come with the cops.

"These are logs from Mr. McDuck's land. I saw some of these men steal these logs and use the river to bring them here." Dan testified.

The boys nodded, but were too young to be allowed to testify.

"PROVE IT! " Flintheart replied.

Then, they saw the the log was clean. The fast moving water had washed off the paint. It was an oil-based paint, but they must not let it dry long enough.

"I belong to Scrooge McDuck!" the log "said". "I'm a talking log. Some of these men used the river to move me and other logs belonging to Scrooge McDuck here."

"WHAT?" screamed Flintheart.

" Hey, l m look at me, I'm a ventriloquist!" Launchpad joked, climbing out of the log.

"WHAT were you doing in that log?" Flintheart demanded.

"Being a witness." Launchpad testified for the record. "I was inside the log the whole time! Thur a knothole, I saw some if these men use the river to move logs belonging to Mr. McDuck here."

Launchpad had to repeat that testimony before a judge, Flintheart had to pretend that he didn't know what his flunkies had been doing. But Flintheart also had to stop stealing logs. If it happened again, the judge would not believe Flintheart was not involved.

Soon, Mr. McDuck came to thank Launchpad and the boys for stopping the log thieves. And Launchpad, the Trins and GOLDIE surprised him with a birthday party when he came.

THE END.

(1) Yeah, I know that's something Ducktales made up and is NOT in Carl Banks original stories. Neither is Mr. MD and Magica being an item. And if YOU think him loving Magica is a GOOD idea, YOU are the naive one.

(2) I harbor the suspicion Launchpad wears that aviator cap to hide his hair. It is highly unusual for a duck, especially a male one, to have a full head of hair. I think it embarrasses him. And it suits ME just fine if most people (including Disney) think he's partially bald. Especially female "people".

(3) I don't think just chopping the trees down so they are more likely to grow back is enough. Too much can go wrong, too many wouldn't make it.

(4) I do NOT know that for a fact. It might be worth your while to spare them anyway, just to get the protesters off your backs.