To SHUSH or Not To SHUSH

To SHUSH or not to SHUSH
Published by: Launchpad on 4th Sep 2014 | View all blogs by Launchpad
((For Launchpad, Alex Shoveler, and Sophie Sarcelle for now.
If other players want to get involved, PM me and we'll have fun figuring out a go-plan. For now, this is just a "getting to know you" rp.))

Prologue:

Every day at S.H.U.S.H. is full of activity. Usually the building looked and sounded like any other facility, with employees busily typing, talking, or experimenting in labs and offices. Sometimes it had smoke, explosions, and/or the sound of shattering glass added to the mix.

Today was just another slow, ordinary day for S.H.U.S.H. employees but there was a ray of sunshine in the break room, for today, Launchpad McQuack was visiting. The pilot had stopped by to deliver copier paper and visit with Dr. Bellum. He'd come to see if she had any more cool gadgets for him or Darkwing Duck to use. After being (nicely) told to stay out of the way, he'd wandered back to the break room for a snack and to see if there was anyone around to chat with.

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Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
((As this was started on another site, here's a bulk post to help us catch up. ))

Alex:

Around that moment, the double doors to one of the numerous conference rooms in the SHUSH headquarters building opened. Employees steadily trickled out into the hallway and headed towards their respective office spaces. One group of workers carrying on a muffled conversation walked down the long hallway, up the stairwell, and weaved through a large labyrinth of cubicles until they reached the opposite side of the floor. A small sign above the doorway designated the room as the employee break room. It was the perfect place to vent frustrations and share thoughts after a lengthy cross-departmental conference that goes thirty minutes over schedule.

The job might call for a dozen too-many conferences and department meetings each month, but SHUSH didn’t skimp on coffee. About the only way to get a better cup would require traveling half way across town, waiting in line for an hour, and paying eight dollars for a small cup of rich, organically grown java. And so, Mr. Alex Shoveler, a data analyst and geographical information system (GIS) operator, and his colleagues queued around the coffee and vending machines to get some well-deserved refreshments and snacks. The soothing aroma of freshly brewed coffee permeated through the entire floor and persuaded some workers to temporarily leave their computers and enjoy an invigorating beverage.

Immediately after getting coffee and a bite to eat, several of the employees shared their thoughts about the conference. Most of the discussion revolved around the mutual frustrations concerning redundant tasks carried out by multiple departments and how the computer programs used up too much memory space.

The most recent conversation cropping up among SHUSH employees concerned the fax machines and how they were always running out of paper thanks to a new directive requiring more employees to write more reports. Everyone suspected that the new ruling was influenced in no small part, by Agent Vladimir Grizzlikov, the Assistant Director of SHUSH. But, Alex had heard the same string of complaints before for nearly a week and slipped away from the conversation. He came here to relax, not to get involved in another debate.

Reaching into his pocket, Alex pulled out a smart phone and leaned against the countertop. Before long, he was partially gazing into the screen lost in thought until he noticed a rather large pelican in an aviator outfit walk into the room.


LP:

Launchpad was surprised by the influx of agents. He wove around the crowd to try to stay out of everyone's way. When things settled down and everyone else paired off to chat, he noticed one fellow standing off by himself.
Ever the extrovert, Launchpad smiled and made his way over to Alex.

"Hehe. Reminds me of the line at Starducks when it first opened."

 

Alex Shoveler
4 minutes ago

Slightly caught off guard by the statement, Alex looked around the room in until the observation sat in.

"Oh, yeah!" Grinning, Alex shifted his weary gaze from his phone to the pilot near by. The caffine had not kicked in yet.

"Heh. Actually, it seems to be that way in Starducks no matter what day it is." He chuckled, now putting his phone away. "This place is usually pretty quiet and relaxing, but I swear, it has been a zoo in here for the past month now! In fact, we've had to restock the machines twice just this week."

At the same time, one of the employees let out an annoyed grunt as he continued hitting one of the buttons in quick succession. A clear sign that that particular item was sold out.

"See what I mean?" Alex motioned to the man fuming by the machines.

"I don't think I've ever met you before. Are you new here?" Alex proceeded to explain his curiosity. "Most of the people who work here wear suits. Unless if you're a part of the R and D Department. Those people usually wear crash helmets thanks to Dr. Bellum." He joked.


LP:

Launchpad laughed at the observation and the joke.

"Nah. I'm not new at all. In fact, you could say I'm an ‘Old Hat,’ heheheh. Hopefully those crash helmets are flexible. They wouldn't want to get hit with that ray that makes your head grow like a balloon."

Launchpad self-consciously rubbed the back of his head just to make sure his flight cap still fit like it is supposed to.

"I'm just visiting right now. I dropped off a crate of copier paper. Looks like the director will be ordering another shipment of coffee soon, too."


Alex Shoveler
2 minutes ago

"Yeah, you can say that again." Alex huffed. "I don't know about other departments, but ours has gone through..." Alex momentarily shifted his gaze upward as used his fingers to count, "three times the normal amount of paper for our printer/copiers. And, that's after we converted most of our work into a digital format!"
He added in a matter-of-fact manner. "I suppose I should be thanking you for the paper you dropped off, then. We'll probably go through all of it by tomorrow." Alex chuckled again, both sincerely thanking him and wishing that the last point was an exaggeration.

"A ray that causes your head to grow!?" His eyes widened, "Sounds like you must have ran into Bellum's department. I had no idea you were a part of SHUSH." Alex said in astonishment. "I always forget how big this place is. It seems like after a while you just start to talk with people in your own department." Alex smirked, "And, thanks to one of the higher-up's new directives, you barely get to see anyone outside your department except in meetings."

Then it dawned on him. "Oh, I'm sorry! I should probably introduce myself." Alex put his coffee cup on the counter and proceeded to firmly shake the man's hand with his normal arm. "I'm Alex. Alex Shoveler." He beamed. "I'm a part of the Data Analysis Department here."


LP:

"You're welcome, although it doesn't sound like I did ya much of a favor." Launchpad mused about the paper.

"Hiya, Alex." He cheerfully shook his hand in return. "I'm Launchpad McQuack. Hehe. Better known as Darkwing Duck's pilot and sidekick. And occasional delivery man for J. Gander."

He noticed something was off about Alex's other hand but he didn't want to be rude by staring.


Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
"Wow, like, 'The Launchpad McQuack' from the Flying McQuacks? " Alex eagerly inquired, momentarily forgetting the rest of his new acquaintance's job title.


Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
If smiles were street lamps, Launchpad's grin would have lit up Calisota. "Yeah! Best synchronized air show in the west, hehe."


Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
"I'll say!" The sudden burst of excitement between the two garnered the attention, and to an extent some annoyed looks, of several office workers on the floor. "I got the chance to see one of your shows in Duckburg during summer vacation a few years back. It was really impressive! By far the most exciting show during the whole event. I just wish I could have stayed longer, but my parents' had other things they wanted to see." The mixture of caffeine and enthusiasm was beginning to give him a second wind. "Well, it is certainly a pleasure-honor to meet you, Mr. McQuack." Alex sincerely proclaimed while reaching out to shake his hand again. In his excitement, Alex reached out to once more shake Launchpad's hand. However, he caught himself and quickly withdrew his "modified" arm while shaking the world-famous pilot's hand with the other.


Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"It was great meeting you, Mr. Shoveler." Launchpad's smile stayed in place but he really couldn't help staring at the retracted hand this time. He tried to keep the conversation light to be polite.
"That's pretty nifty looking."

Yep. He was used to all kinds of robotics and machines. Building them was easy. Programming them... That's a whole other story.

Launchpad then remembered something interesting that Alex had said.

"Say, since you're into data analyzing, maybe you could help me figure out what's going on with the Thunderquack's GPS system. There's a volcanic island that my former boss and his competitor found, and it's owned by a tribe of natives. Long story. Anyway, Mr. McDee asked me to fly him there to speak to the owner, but I can't find anything on the map. I entered the coordinates Mr. McDee gave me, but all I'm finding is open ocean. This discovery is a couple years old. I'd a thought it'd be in the satellite system by now. I was wondering if it was being blocked for security reasons or something."


Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
"Mmm?" Alex continued to smile at Launchpad until it sat in that he was referring to his mechanical arm. Alex still wasn't quite comfortable with it in public. It was uncommon to see someone with an artificial appendage, especially one of this caliber. "Oh, this thing?" His face began to turn a pale shade of red.

"Yeah, that was from an 'accident' I had back when I first joined SHUSH. Not their fault, of course. Just a... an occupational hazard I suppose." He lifted his arm up and slowly articulated his hand and fingers, giving both a demonstration for Launchpad and checking to see that it still had dexterity.

It was almost mesmerizing to look at. Like a piece of modern art, the whole prosthetic seemed to be sculpted into abstract shapes and intricate details. Undulating tubes of some sort of carbon fiber fabric ran down the length of the arm condensing into a series of semi-metallic 'tendons' at the elbow and hand. A series of smaller carbon fiber tubes and even more tendons branched out to the fingers that were encased in a flexible, semi-transparent material resembling silicone. A few USB and other ancillary ports were located along the back side of his arm, appearing to be implanted in a metallic artificial bone. The rest of the arm was a mystery concealed by the rolled up sleeve of his shirt. The extent of the arm was soon revealed as Alex rubbed the base of his bicep and winced slightly.

Trying a crack at some humor to lighten up the subject, "I've sorta become 'attached' to it lately." He grinned. "I am lucky to have this thing. If it wasn't for Dr. Bellum and the resources of McDuck Industries and SHUSH, I'd have a heck of a time trying to type all these reports." He half-heartily laughed. Actually, he could do much more than just type on a keyboard with it, but the sort of things it could really do were technically government secrets. Some of which even Alex was unaware of.

"But really, I don't mind it much. It just takes a while to get used to it, like learning how to ride a bike." He beamed, suddenly feeling more comfortable.

"So," Switching subjects, Alex offered to help the pilot's dilemma. "you're having trouble finding an island, huh?" Alex became intrigued. "I'd be more than happy to help a flying legend! It is a little strange that it isn't coming up anywhere if you have the coordinates to it. I mean, the oceans are pretty big and all, but satellites should easily be able to find it. It could just be that there's a glitch in your GPS system. Those things are never that reliable anyway." Alex mused. "The only other way it could have disappeared is, like you said, it's blocked for security reasons. Although I can't imagine why... unless." Alex shifted his head to see if anyone was listening in on their conversation and then lowered his voice slightly. "Unless if the coordinate data for that island has been tampered with. Possibly by whoever this competitor is." Alex quickly shook the idea from his head. The last time he was thrown into a mystery he lost an arm. "Y'know it's probably just a programming glitch or something. I'd be happy to help out!" He quietly hoped nothing strange would come from this peculiar anomaly.

"By the way, what's 'the Thunderquack?"
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Wow." Launchpad watched the limb with almost child-like fascination. "Boy, if I didn't know better, I'd swear you were an android."
Whoops. That did not come out sounding as complimentary as it was meant to be.

"They did a good job on it. Hmm. I wonder if Gyro had a hand in designing it."

No pun intended. Honest.

Launchpad went along with the topic change easily. He nodded when Alex said that it could be a glitch. When the agent looked around and lowered his voice, Launchpad glanced at their surroundings as well before leaning closer to listen. The sudden mood change startled him a little, but the pilot went along with it. He was always happy to brag about his pride and joy.

"Oh! Hehe. I forget that not everyone watches the late night news. The Thunderquack is a custom jet I built for Darkwing Duck. I designed it to look like a picture I saw of his motorcycle on the news a while back."
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
"Actually, this baby here Does make me an android." Alex admitted with a mix of embarrassment and pride, reflecting on the things he was capable of doing now that it was a part of him. But, only a hand full of people knew everything it was capable of. In time, Alex would, too.

"Dang! I knew you were a great pilot, but a mechanic, too?" Alex whistled in astonishment, briefly gaining the attention of nearby employees. "All I know is that jets are difficult to understand, let alone to build. This Darkwing Duck person must be awfully happy to have someone as talented as you helping out." Alex lauded Launchpad's accomplishment while trying to remember who this mysterious Darkwing Duck was. He could have sworn he recognized the name from somewhere. But where?
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
Launchpad blushed at the compliment. "Aww, gee. Thanks. Yeah, DW doesn't have any complaints about it. Hehe. He's pretty good at working with stuff, too. I've kind of taken over all the vehicle maintenance but he used to maintain the Ratcatcher all on his own! And he still comes up with his own gas recipes. Oh, and he has a black belt in Quack Fu, and he passed every agency test Agent Grizzlikov threw at him."

Launchpad's admiration for his friend was evident in every word.
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
Alex raised his eyebrows in astonishment as he downed the rest of his coffee. "Whoa, I'd hate to get on his bad side. No one but the most talented and dedicated agents have passed Grizzy's tests. Sure, there are the initial ones for agent trainees and employees wanting some 'advanced job training'. But, there are some tests I've heard about that are borderline illegal!" Alex winced while mentally recounting some of the stories he had heard floating around the office. One included rescuing a data cassette from a pool of live alligators. Another included a live fire exercise.

"This guy must really love what he does." He then furrowed his brow and rubbed his chin in thought. Alex was still puzzled by who this talented crime fighter was or did. "So," He drew out as he tried to put the pieces of the picture together. "if 'Darkwing Duck' had taken Grizzy's tests, and if you and 'Darkwing' know Dr. Bellum and J. Gander... then does that mean that he's a secret SHUSH agent?"
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
Launchpad rubbed the back of his neck.
"Well, DW did pass Griz's toughest tests. The only requirement for that last one was for him to live through it! And then he made poor DW fill out a pile of paperwork that's taller than he is! So, yeah. I think that does make him at least a freelance agent. J. Gander calls us to do special deliveries or investigate cases that his other agents can't close. DW does really love catching crooks, and making an entrance. I'm surprised you haven't heard all the complaints about the smoke from his office visits with J. Gander."
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
Alex couldn't help but smirk when Launchpad mentioned the daunting pile of paperwork the masked mallard had to fill out. Every SHUSH employee could sympathize in one way or another about the exhausting task of filling out government forms that would probably never see the light of day. Your tax dollars at work.

"Huh," Alex furrowed his brow, "well, that would probably explain all the fire alarms going off all the time in the main building. I always thought someone was fixing popcorn. He must be incredibly important to actually meet with the director personally!"

He began to rub the back of his head in in slight embarrassment. "Actually, since I belong to the Data Analysis Department, I don't really get to hear too much about what goes on outside of our floor."

And, by floor, Alex meant basement. One of many. Due to the ever-growing importance of international security and intelligence, spurred by two world wars and the dawn of the nuclear age, the government invested heavily in federal and international agencies to manage national and global affairs. SHUSH was one such agency that utilized this influx of investments. Like most other agencies, SHUSH was a subdivided into branches and departments to more efficiently maintain order and to help manage its various activities. However, the growing responsibility of the agency as a whole required more departments to perform more specialized tasks to keep operations running smoothly. The addition of more departments and more workers, along with greater agency jurisdiction, meant the addition of more office space. To complicate the matter, much of the work performed by the departments was too sensitive to leave in a typical office setting that could be accessed by office guests or professional information thieves. The answer... build below ground. Once only accommodating the R&D and agent training departments, a new series of sub-levels was constructed. The newer SHUSH Central Headquarters now existed as a small grouping of office buildings in downtown St. Canard connected by a web of subterranean pedestrian tunnels, parking garages, offices, and research labs. But, to the public, SHUSH appeared to be just a collection of office buildings surrounding a small park.

"I've just been so focused. I guess I just don't get out enough." He weakly smiled. "Coming here for coffee or visiting the cafeteria is about the only time I'm not behind a computer." He paused. "Well, that n' visiting my girlfriend when she's around." Alex allowed a smile to peak through his typically serious demeanor.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
Launchpad grinned. "DW does have some unique ways for catching bad guys. Once, J. Gander let DW school a team of SHUSH agents to pull the wool over FOWL's eyes! Hehehe. It sure had Steelbeak fooled. Of course, DW wasn't too thrilled to find out it was all a trick, but he was a good sport about it."

He listened sympathetically when Alex said he didn't out much.
"Aw. Well, at least you have someone to talk to. Hey, if you two ever find yourselves in Duckburg on a weekend, look up the Flying McQuacks and tell them Launchpad sent ya. My family would enjoy meeting some folks who appreciate mechanics and stunt flying. Hehe. If I'm not busy helping DW, I could swing by and give you a ride in one of the biwings! Nothing like feeling the breeze with nothing between you and the sun! That is, if you or your girlfriend are into speed and heights and such. Hehehe."
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
"Wow! Yeah, that would be great! Thank you very much for the offer." Alex beamed. "I'm sure my girlfriend would love to take a ride and get to meet you and your family. Assuming she can find some time off."

Just then, his mobile phone vibrated. Caught off guard, Alex looked at his pocket in confusion and delicately pulled out to discover that he had a couple emails from the department director. Noticing the time displayed on the top right corner of the screen, Alex let out a small agitated sigh. He put his phone away and grabbed his notepad and day planner from the counter top and turned his attention back to Launchpad.

"I hate to cut this short, but it looks like I need to get back to work." He admitted.

Attempting to sound more relaxed and to not suddenly walk away from his new acquaintance in such a rude manner, Alex tried to be as convivial and polite as possible. "If you're not busy, you're more than welcome to follow me down to the lobby. I'd hate to take off after just getting to meet you."

He suddenly remembered Launchpad's request for help regarding the Thunderquack. "Oh, wait! You still need me to take a look at what's wrong with your GPS, don't you?" He began to make a mental note.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Sure, I'll tag along for a moment. Sorry for keeping you busy." Launchpad smiled. He finished his drink and tossed the cup into the wastebasket on the way out.

"Oh, right, the Thunderquack. Well, maybe you could look up these coordinates in your spare time and see if there's something going on that I shouldn't know about." Launchpad pulled out a little notepad and jotted down the longitude and latitude. He tore off the paper and handed it to Alex.
"That will cover one lead anyway. I could pop the computer out and bring it in sometime tomorrow. Maybe one of the circuits got fried or something."
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
Alex took the paper and scrutinized the coordinates as the two walked through the office. All of the previous conversations in the break room had been replaced with the rapid tapping and clicking sounds of employees working on computers occasionally interjected with the sound of a fax machine spitting out ever more paper. "Thank you, Mr. McQuack. I'll look into this right after work." He said as he simultaneously fluttered the paper in front of him.

Lowering his voice to avoid unwanted attention and to not disturb the workers, Alex continued to discuss the issue of the missing island. "Since I have nearly unlimited access to the databases here, I should be able to come across something. Most of our information is updated on a regular basis."

They had now made it to one of several elevators in the middle of the main office building. The button for the lobby glowed as Alex lightly tapped it. As the two waited for an elevator, Alex did his best to fold the paper with one hand and tuck it into his shirt pocket. "If you ca-" Alex was cut off as the elevator rang. Both sets of doors slowly slid open to allow a couple workers off. Alex held his arm in the doorway, allowing Launchpad to enter first. Continuing his sentence. "If you can bring your computer in, I'd be more than happy to take a look at it. I'm not really a hardware guru, but I can at least take a look at your software." The doors closed, and the elevator lazily descended to the lobby a few floors down. The building seemed to be twice as tall on the inside than the outside. Although, this was technically true considering its basement levels.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Thanks. And sure thing. I wouldn't mind talking with you again later. When you're not so busy, that is..." Launchpad replied sheepishly. He felt a little bad about holding Alex up from his work and getting him in trouble, but it had been nice to meet a fan of his family for a change.

Even though Honker and Darkwing could figure out the missing island coordinates on their own, Launchpad didn't think the problem was worth bothering them with. He had no idea how valuable the island, and namely its content, is. Even if he did, though, he wouldn't have any reason to suspect someone at S.H.U.S.H of foul play. He figured Agent Shoveler was as trustworthy as anyone else in S.H.U.S.H. headquarters.

Finally the elevator stopped. Launchpad hung back to let Alex go first since he was on the clock.
"It was nice meeting you, Agent Shoveler. Good luck with the rest of your day." He said cheerfully.
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
"Same to you, Mr. McQuack." Alex returned the good tidings and waved goodbye as he headed back to the elevator. Suddenly, he spun around and rushed back to the pilot. In the process, he tore a small piece of paper from his note pad and scribbled down a series of dates and times indicating his work schedule. His penmanship had not improved over the years as the numbers and days he had written nearly required a magnifying glass to read.

"I should be available tomorrow from twelve to one. And, you can reach me after work any time after seven. My cell number is there at the bottom." He quickly explained, waved once again, and turned around to disappear behind one of the elevators in the lobby.

While Alex adjusted his collar and organized his day planner on the ride down, another agent around the same age was riding the adjacent elevator up to the lobby.
Sophie Sarcelle
by Sophie Sarcelle 9 months ago
A pair of bright blue eyes rapidly browsed over the screen of a durable top-of-the-line tablet. Fingers danced across its surface in an impressive display of coordination. Fwoosh! A digital sound effect indicated that an email had just been sent. Unlike a typical office email, this was encrypted like all other digital information packets sent and received by SHUSH. Almost instantaneously, it would work its way through specialized routers, sail through Internet hyperspace, get redirected to another nearby secure router, be analyzed and scanned by state-of-the-art protection and surveillance software, and find its way to the intended recipient. And, with a simple sliding motion of two fingers, the screen went dark. The agent looked down to quickly unzip the briefcase slung around her shoulder and slide the tablet into one of the soft side compartments. In doing so, her auburn hair swept down to brush her fluffy cheeks and tickle her beak. In slight annoyance, she batted it out of the way and dug around another compartment in the briefcase to find a hair tie. Within a few seconds, she gathered up her hair that had rested at the top of her shoulder blades and secured it in a loose ponytail. Nothing fancy, but at least there's no more hair getting in the way of her vision.

Curious to see if the weather was going to allow for an outdoor dinner, Agent Sarcelle drew out her smart phone and scrolled through a few too many apps until she found the weather app. Just then, the elevator sounded and the doors parted to reveal a large lobby with the usual sight of security guards, front desk attendants directing visitors and other government workers where to go, and a couple groups of SHUSH employees strolling across the three-story atrium. Sophie proceeded to walk out of the elevator and toward a short hallway leading to a meeting room just right of the main building entrance. However, her peripheral vision detected something out of the ordinary. This lobby had a rather large pilot standing not too far from the elevators with a face that almost seemed familiar. Which was strange because she certainly didn't know any pilots. Nor did she know anyone at SHUSH who dressed up quite like that. And, what a cute scarf!

The meeting wasn't supposed to start for at least a half an hour, and it didn't look like this man was lost. What a great opportunity to make a new friend! She nonchalantly put her phone away and walked up to within a comfortable conversation distance and complimented his choice of attire. "I love your scarf!" She pleasantly smiled.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Gee thanks!" Launchpad replied cheerfully. "It's my favorite part of the outfit. Hehe."
Sophie Sarcelle
by Sophie Sarcelle 9 months ago
Sophie grinned, pleased to see that he took the compliment well. Not all people were keen of having complete strangers walking up to them and starting conversations. But, it would be such a dull, depressing world if nobody ever stepped out and met new people or tried new things.

Judging from the rest of his attire, the aviator goggles, leather sweater, and leather cap, she could only assume he was a pilot of some sort. Intrigued by his unusual outfit and seemingly cheerful personality, she couldn't help but mention, "You must be a pilot." and could only wonder what the answer would be.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Sure am!" Launchpad replied. "Ace stunt pilot, world traveler, and number one sidekick. Hehe. Oh, and occasional delivery man. I almost forgot that. And Junior Woodchuck Scout Leader." He scrunched up his forehead in thought for a moment. "Boy, I didn't know I had so many titles."
Sophie Sarcelle
by Sophie Sarcelle 9 months ago
"Haha, wow!" She chuckled. "You must have an exciting life if you do all of that. I don't believe I've ever met a stunt pilot before. Or a Junior Woodchuck Scout Leader. And, a sidekick?" Now even more intrigued, she raised an eyebrow and continued to smile. Was he really a sidekick, or was he just exaggerating and trying to make her laugh? Either way, he seemed like a nice person.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
Launchpad chuckled as well. "Hehe. Yeah, I guess that is a funny way of introducing myself to someone. I don't normally get this much attention. I was just talking to some other guy a minute ago about Darkwing Duck. I'd a thought everyone here would know who he is at least. Especially since J. Gander had to get a new smoke alarm for Darkwing's famous entrances."
Sophie Sarcelle
by Sophie Sarcelle 9 months ago
Hidden beneath her constant smiling, Sophie was pondering who this Darkwing Duck guy was. Or, why she hadn't heard of him before if he managed to create enough noise to garner the director's personal attention. Certainly she would find out soon enough. After all, she was still new to the job and decided to admit it to help clarify. "Actually, I'm quite new, here." Her cheeks would have turned pink in embarrassment, but her previous life and job experiences had taught her to not be ashamed of something she didn't know.

"There have been rumors of Director Hooter walking around with a man wearing a cape and mask. But, I've been too busy with training to pry." Despite her outgoing personality, she and the rest of the agency trainees were mostly in the dark when it came to gossip. Their supervisors weren't too keen on having rumors and speculation flying around the agency, even if most of them were true. Besides, the best way to move up the bureaucratic ladder was to stay on the Assistant Director's good side. And, considering Agent Grizzlikov's relationship with the masked mallard, that meant not mentioning Darkwing Duck. At least not around the Assistant Director anyway.

"You must know him better than anyone if you're his sidekick." She was eager to discover just how much Launchpad knew and what kind of work he and Darkwing Duck performed. This was turning into a rather interesting day.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Hey, welcome to S.H.U.S.H. then." Launchpad replied genuinely. No wonder this agent was so friendly. She had not been hardened yet by all the demands, crises, long hours, and grunt work.
"If you hang around Agent Grizzlikov long enough, you might hear about Darkwing, heheh. Those two don't exactly see eye to eye on a lot of things."

That's putting it lightly.

"But the director calls DW in whenever there's a case that involves a lot of travel. That's where I come in. Hehe. My jet is super fuel-efficient, super fast, and super quiet! With it, I can dodge missiles, fire nets to catch crooks, and fly between buildings without scraping the paint."
Sophie Sarcelle
by Sophie Sarcelle 9 months ago
Delighted to hear his cordial welcoming, Sophie gave an even larger smile. But, her euphoria diminished upon hearing about the friction between Agent Grizzlikov and Darkwing Duck. Although she had never been on Vladamir's his bad side, possibly due to taking her new line of work seriously, she knew it didn't take much effort to aggravate him. She would be sure not to mention him around the Assistant Director. But, what in Heaven did this masked crime fighter ever do to earn so much disrespect and anger? Perhaps it didn't matter. Director Hooter apparently trusted him with special cases. Besides, she just needed to focus on getting through training and playing by the Directors' rules.

As soon as Launchpad mentioned his jet and flying skills, Sophie was immediately drawn out of her speculation. Her eyes lit up when he mentioned "fast". Although it hadn't been long since she stopped racing, she missed the excitement and thrill. She also missed the large paychecks, but money isn't everything, right? "Amazing! That sounds like so much fun!" She exclaimed. "Unless if you're being shot at." A worried expression quickly washed over her face. And people thought being a race car driver was dangerous.

Most agents here possessed a great deal of courage, selflessness, and confidence to meet their job demands. Sophie didn't doubt her new acquaintance shared these traits. But, he seemed so upbeat and different from the rest of the employees. "What made you choose this line of work?"
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Yeah, dodging projectiles in the air isn't everyone's idea of fun, but it sure gets the adrenaline going," Launchpad replied with a dismissive shrug. Being targeted by bad guys was part of the job. It kept them from hurting ordinary citizens.

"I've always liked those westerns where the hero had a sidekick backing him up. And I've always liked helping people. When I read about DW's exploits in the newspaper, I thought he could use a sidekick. He'd have transportation and someone watching out for him, and I'd get to help a hero protect the city! It's a lot more exciting than flying cargo around the world for my previous boss."
Sophie Sarcelle
by Sophie Sarcelle 9 months ago
"I'm sure it is more exciting. And dangerous." Sophie's admiration momentarily turned into concern. "You really have to be dedicated to protecting people if your job is that hazardous. Darkwing Duck must appreciate your help very much. I certainly would!" She continued to extol the pilot in a reassuring manner.

Of course, everyone at SHUSH was dedicated to safeguarding the public's safety. But, much of that dedication was rewarded with an impressive list of benefits, a pay check, and a relatively comfortable office space. Not to allude that work benefits were the only reasons that people joined SHUSH. Indeed, there were always people who wanted compensation, nothing wrong with that. But, as far as she could tell, Launchpad didn't get much in return for his services aside from, perhaps, a personal 'thank you' from the Director. That level of selflessness and devotion was difficult to come across, even here at SHUSH or back with her Formula 1 team. Come to think of it, he sounded a lot like a certain boyfriend she was blessed with. Maybe there was a chance the two of them would meet each other. Surely they would get along. Besides, it would be fantastic to make a new friend!

Gearing her mind back to their conversation, she wondered who he used to work for. She decided to ask, "Who WAS your previous employer?", out of genuine curiosity. There wasn't exactly an abundance of employers that had people fly cargo around the world. At least, not that she was aware of.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
Launchpad grinned at the praise. Boy, S.H.U.S.H. sure has some nice employees! Not even the mention of "Darkwing" and "appreciate" in the same sentence could dampen his mood.

"Hehe. Thanks. Danger is DW's middle name! Or so he says sometimes."

Since he was in S.H.U.S.H., and many of his adventures had been published in news reports over time, Launchpad didn't see any harm in being open and honest with Sophie.

"My very first boss was Scrooge McDuck. We flew all over the world together. Multiple times."
Sophie Sarcelle
by Sophie Sarcelle 9 months ago
Now, why did that name sound so familiar? Because she had a "McDuck Tire Swing" when she and her sister were little, that's why! And, because a few items back at her condo also had the McDuck Industries logo printed on them. And, he may have been one of the corporate sponsors of her Formula 1 team. With all of those late night publicity dinners and the occasional advertisement campaign, it was hard to keep track of private sector business deals and where the money really came from. At the time, she was much more focused on racing and practicing than meeting business representatives. Although, without their help, she would never have had the opportunity to race at all. Professional racing was expensive. No doubt multiple racing teams competed to gain Scrooge McDuck's trust and a portion of his investments.

This man surely must live up to his reputation if he personally worked for Scrooge McDuck. Once again, the pilot had impressed her with his resume. She raised her eyebrows again in astonishment. "That's amazing! You must have had some exciting adventures during your travels." She desperately wanted to stay and talk. The conversation was growing more intriguing by the second. But, it would only be a few minutes before the meeting started, indicated by the increased foot traffic in the lobby and the rising volume level of conversations in the meeting room. Maybe she could spare a couple more minutes and at least get his name.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Hehe. I sure have." Launchpad's grin widened. "We've been underground, under water, out in space, up in the Alps, Himalayas, and Andes. We've crossed the Sahara on camels. Mused over Antarctica. Found a couple of lost princes. Found a bunch of treasure. You name it, we've done it. Hehe."

He noticed the crowd and the chatter. "Boy, it's gettin' kind of crowded. Is the lunch break over already?"
Sophie Sarcelle
by Sophie Sarcelle 9 months ago
Footsteps and indistinct conversations. Those were the only sounds that could be heard in the spacious lobby. As they echoed off of the tall walls, they culminated into a constant drone. All the while, Ms. Sarcelle just gawked at the pilot after hearing him list off his adventures in a rather casual tone, as if enumerating items from a grocery list.

Under more normal circumstance, she may have given him an odd look or, if he was a long-time friend, would have laughed. But, after learning of his other exploits, adventures, and occupations, she knew he wasn't exaggerating. The awkward silence and staring, with a most bewildered expression, would soon fade away as the pilot's question pulled her out of her quandary and back to the conversation.

"Hmmm!?" She looked around. Her bewildered gaze was slowly reverting to her normal, calm expression. "Oh, yes, it is!" Curious to see if the lunch break really was over, she pulled out her phone to check the time. Five 'til one, close enough. Glancing at the meeting room, Sophie observed that most people had found their seats and pulled out their notepads and computers. She needed to get ready ready for the evening session. Turning back to the pilot, she gently smiled. "You clearly have an exciting life! I loved getting the opportunity to talk to you and would love to hear more, but," She made an apologetic face. "I have to attend a meeting in a couple minutes." She pointed to the crowded room. "Oh, I'm sorry, I don't believe I asked what you name is." She laughed.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Oh! Right. Hehe. Silly me. Got carried away there. I'm Launchpad McQuack. Pleased to meet ya!" He offered to shake hands. "I don't want to make you late for your meeting. Good luck with that. Maybe I'll see you around tomorrow or the next time I stop by for something."
Sophie Sarcelle
by Sophie Sarcelle 9 months ago
She graciously took his hand and returned the gesture. "And, I'm Sophie Sarcelle. It's no trouble at all, Launchpad. I'm sure we will meet again soon." She waved goodbye and retreated into the meeting. And, just in time, too. With a little maneuvering, she found a seat and pulled out her tablet to start taking notes. The session would last a couple hours until the meeting would adjourn and the employees would return to their other tasks. Sophie would meet up with a group of her trainee friends to take the elevator up to the third floor. There, they would take a gerbil tunnel, an enclosed walkway elevated above the cross street, and enter the adjacent, modern office building. This was the newest addition to SHUSH Central and housed much of the bureaucracy's field agent services and classrooms.

Later that evening, after receiving a phone call from her boyfriend explaining how he would be working late, she decided to go and order some carry out Chinese for dinner and dropped it off at the condo. After a quick shower and slipping into more comfortable clothing, she received another phone call indicating that Alex was done at work. A short while later, she walked up the small flight of steps parallel to the sidewalk and entered the main building lobby to find Alex waving at her. With no one around to interrupt, they gave each other an after-work kiss and made their way down the steps, around the corner, and to the reserved on-street parking.

Since they both worked at the same agency, they almost always took her car to work. Besides, riding in a BMW i8 was much more pleasant then Alex's Ford Explorer. The only kink was that entering and exiting the German supercar required a series delicate and contorted movements. The doors opened up instead of to the side, and the sides of the carbon fiber tub that encapsulated the occupants came up too high.

Aside from the brief acrobatics of entering the hybrid car, the couple drove home and discussed their days. They were pleasantly surprised to hear each others encounter with the red-haired pilot and talked for the rest of the night about it. That is until Sophie disappeared into the bathroom to take a quick shower and curled onto the living room sofa to play a few games of Sudoku on her phone. Next to her, Alex kept up to date by reading the Wall St. Journal and checked up on day trading and market trends on his laptop.

But, Alex was not focused on what the columns of red and green market indexes were saying. Instead, he was thinking about the conclusions, or lack of conclusions, he had extrapolated from his special task. Maybe he could get some more answers tomorrow when meeting Mr. McQuack again. For the sake of security and safety, he had not shared that bit of his conversation with anyone. Not even Sophie. It was a semi-personal matter for Launchpad. And, if something strange came about from any of this, he didn't want to drag Sophie into it. Not like anything bad WOULD happen. But, it was a chance he didn't want to take. Too many strange things happened in this city, anyway.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Bye, Agent Sarcelle!" Launchpad waved as he walked away. "Boy, there sure are a bunch of really nice people working here– Oof!" The distracted pilot didn't notice the door until his cheek smacked into it. "Sorry, Ma'am." He stammered automatically.

He returned his visitor's pass and retrieved his pilot's license from the guard at the gate (thanks to the new renovations and recent increases in government security, S.H.U.S.H. had vamped up their building security. Even a well-known person like him could not walk in without identification and a stated purpose.

Launchpad flew back to the tower and worked on removing the GPS unit from the Thunderquack, replacing it with an older version. At least he knew the old one worked like it was supposed to. He put the new unit in a box and left it on the passenger seat in the cockpit for now. Then he went home and hung out with Drake and Gosalyn. He mentioned that he'd made a delivery to S.H.U.S.H. and bumped into some new agents but he didn't remember enough about either agent to share much about his day. The conversation died down and the normal evening activities ensued. There wasn't anything on tv that interested Launchpad, so he went to bed early.

The next day, Launchpad called his former employer to ask him about the island. Scrooge told him that the tribe was requesting diving and salvaging equipment from his sailing fleet, and Scrooge himself wanted to know what had changed since his last visit. It was a mystery that hopefully had a simple explanation and easy solution.

Be mindful of Drake and Gosalyn, Launchpad fixed breakfast quietly and headed back to S.H.U.S.H. to meet Agent Shoveler. He had a bit of trouble explaining his way past the guards as the GPS looked suspicious and he did not have a personal invitation to enter the building. He tried to explain but he ended up taking the GPS back to the jet and returning empty handed. He asked the front desk if Agent Shoveler was available.
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
One of the guards punched in the name, 'Shoveler Agent', on the hardened computer. A second later, a profile of the agent in question showed up. Scrolling down the page, the guard found a department phone number and picked up the landline phone to notify the Agent that he supposedly had a visitor by the name of Launchpad McQuack. Not giving an inch of leeway, the guards asked the visitor to stay by the desk until they received a conformation.

Just then, the elevator doors opened to unleash a flood of workers eager to escape the doldrums of their office environment and head out to their favorite eateries. Somewhere in the back of the crowd was Alex. He decided to hold back and found a chair to relax in and wait for his new friend to show up. However, as soon as the initial wave of employees exited the lobby, Alex spotted Launchpad waiting by the security desk. And, by the looks of it, he wasn't entirely there out of his own free will. If it had been a decade ago, Launchpad could have strolled in as long as somebody recognized him. He smirked at the situation and walked over to the desk to give his friend a proper welcome.

He explained to the guards that he was planning on meeting the pilot and that he was no danger to anyone. With a little persuasion, the two were free to roam through less restricted areas of the building. Alex led Launchpad away from the desk.

"Sorry about back there. I should've known about the security here." He apologized. "I'm surprised they held you up like that, but I suppose they're just doing their jobs." He tried to downplay the security issue with some friendly small talk. "But, I'm glad to see you could make it back! How's the traffic out there?"
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Hey there," Launchpad smiled cheerfully. "Yeah, I'm surprised they didn't recognize me. But then again, I don't recognize them so maybe the guys who do know me aren't working today." He shrugged. "Come to think of it, I rarely come in here without DW or a message from the Director, so maybe it's one of those ‘civilians aren't authorized’ things. Looks like a lot has changed since that last renovation."

Dropping the subject, Launchpad picked up on Alex's next topic.
"Traffic for me was a breeze, hehehe. I flew here. It looked pretty clear from above though. It's a nice day for sightseeing and shopping. Oh, by the way, I brought the GPS along initially but, heh, the big guys didn't believe me when I told them what it was. Hm. I guess it does look kind of suspicious with wires sticking out everywhere."

He shrugged again, not letting the inconvenience of walking to and from and back to the top of the parking garage bother him.
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
"Yeah, kinda. We have bomb detectors at every entrance and exit that'll pick up even the smallest trace of explosives, but after some 'things' that happened in Europe, well..." Alex paused to look for the right words that wouldn't land him in trouble for talking about classified information with a civilian. Even though Launchpad technically worked for SHUSH. Maybe it was wise to play it safe until he got to know the pilot better. "We're just wanting to be extra careful I suppose. We've also hired on a some more security personnel." Thanks to a deteriorating sense of security across the globe, SHUSH began bolstering their defenses. Worst of all, there were fewer and fewer defined threats to deal with. Anyone could be a potential enemy. Just thinking about it agitated Alex enough to take on a more serious, dark tone than usual.

Wishing to switch to a more positive topic, Alex expressed his admiration for the pilot and his abilities once again. "That has to be so nice to have your own jet to get around the city. I imagine the view is spectacul-hang on!" Alex did a double take upon hearing that the pilot had landed a jet on a PARKING GARAGE. "You landed a jet on... on a parking garage!?" He momentarily stopped and looked up to the much taller man in a confused mix of astonishment and disbelief. "How on Earth did you manage THAT? Is it, like, a helicopter, too?" Man, this guy is talented!
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
Launchpad listened sympathetically as Alex described the security situation.
"Wonder if those were some of the new guys. They sure take their job seriously. DW isn't going to be too pleased when he has to prove his credentials to them and wait to be let in. I doubt any of them would appreciate his usual entrances."

The pilot brightened when the conversation turned to his plane.
"It's not a helicopter, but I designed her after a fighter jet that takes off vertically. The wings fold up to cut down on airspeed when I'm bringing her in. Heh. Takes up less real estate, too. I can land on any flat rooftop or street as long as there's enough space for the nose and body."
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 9 months ago
Alex whistled at Launchpad's mechanical prowess. "Dang! I can think of a number of businesses that would love to hire you if you can build your own jet that takes off and lands vertically. Sounds like the Thunderquack's awfully useful for a couple superheroes." Wait, did Alex just say, 'superheroes'? Yes, he did. Not just crime fighters or special agents, but superheroes. It took a while for that statement to set in. Although, come to think of it, ever since moving to St. Canard, nothing has been usual or even remotely normal compared to everywhere else. It would take the rest of the day for Alex to process what he said and what Mr. McQuack and Darkwing Duck really were.

But, his thoughts would have to wait. Within a few minutes, they arrived at the top of the garage. Alex would take a few moments to admire the Thunderquack upon seeing it for the first time. It was so compact and sleek. And pink and purple? Must be a special kind of radar-absorbing paint. Or, Darkwing Duck thought that those colors were appropriate. Either way, the jet was an impressive sight to say the least. No doubt Launchpad poured countless hours and effort into it. If he wasn't on break, he would love to take a closer look at it and ask how Launchpad managed to build and fly it. Those questions would have to wait, however. A more important matter had to be dealt with. "I assume the GPS is in there?" Alex pointed to the Thunderquack.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 9 months ago
"Really? You mean it?" Launchpad blinked at Alex. It was one thing to be praised for doing his job, but begin put in the ranks of superheroes? Wow! What an honor! But...it wasn't an accurate assessment.
"I'm not a superhero." He muttered quietly but Alex had already gone ahead of him to admire the Thunderquack.

Looking at his work and sticking to the task on hand did make Launchpad feel better. He popped the hatch and hopped inside.
"Yep! I left it right on the seat."

A few moments later, he presented the cardboard box and contents to Alex.
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 8 months ago
Alex reviewed the contents of the box and gently took out the GPS unit. For the next couple minutes, he closely examined the unit and scribbled the ID number on a small note pad. He then turned around to face Launchpad. "Thanks for bringing the GPS. I'm going to need to plug this thing into a power supply to turn it on so I can figure out what's going on with it." He explained and proceeded to reassure the pilot.

"After I get it powered up, I can hook it up to my laptop and run some diagnostics on it. I'll cross check it's software with the GIS data we have at SHUSH. It might take a while," As Alex had discovered with his job, projects usually took longer than anticipated. "but I'll get you some answers!" He said with a grin. "Hopefully you won't mind the wait. I'll work on it as fast as I can."
Launchpad
by Launchpad 8 months ago
"No problem'o," Launchpad smiled. "I can hook it up and power it on now if you want to look at it here. But don't worry. I know a fourth grader who's a wiz at computer stuff. He could probably upgrade my old GPS while I'm waiting for your call. Speaking of which: here's my card." He took out a business card with his contact information on it. "I didn't think about it yesterday."
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 8 months ago
His eyes grew as he graciously accepted the card and looked it over. It was a dream come true. This would probably get framed and mounted on the wall if he asked Sophie nicely. But, not before being scanned, printed, and placed in his wallet for future reference. In this city, having access to a renowned pilot could come in handy. "Thank you for the card, Mr. McQuack!"

Alex glanced at the GPS unit, then glanced over at the Thunderquack, and then took out his phone to see how much time he would have left. Pressing his thumb against the screen, the phone gently vibrated and came to life. A digital clock read that it was 12:14. Assuming it would take ten minutes to bid the pilot farewell and walk back to his office and another thirty minutes to get something to eat, he would only have about six minutes to work during the break. He almost began to explain that he would have to work on the unit after work. But, he remembered that Sophie also was on her lunch break.

Turning back to Launchpad, Alex handed the GPS over and responded, "Yeah, if you don't mind, go ahead and hook it up." to the pilot's offer. "I need to make a quick phone call, and then I'll start working on it."

He tapped the screen a few times and waited while the slow beeping tone indicated that the phone had contacted another device through the invisible ocean of radio waves. After a couple more seconds, the familiar, cheerful voice of a SHUSH trainee responded. "Hi Alex!" Sophie responded. Alex explained that he was busy helping out their mutual acquaintance, Launchpad, at the nearby parking garage and asked if she would bring back something for him to eat. A few minutes later, Alex pocketed his phone and walked over to the Thunderquack. He could see a distorted, fuchsia-tinged reflection of himself in the polished fuselage.

"Is there a special way to get in? I don't want to damage the Thunderquack." He asked.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 8 months ago
"Sure. There are a couple of ways to get in." Launchpad replied. He pressed the button that opened the top hatch (he'd disguised it as one of the teeth in the Thunderquack's beak. He easily hopped up on the wing and climbed inside the cockpit.

"And then there's the easy way," he opened the back hatch in the rear of the jet. That was the easiest way to load up the Ratcatcher or supplies (or wheelchairs).
"And finally, there's this way!"
Launchpad pressed a button on the dash which opened the Thunderquack's beak.
"Hehe. That's my favorite part of the design. This baby can really take a ‘bite’ out of crime. I can launch nets or harpoons and use a pulley to tow vehicles or straighten bent signs. I've even propped up Pepe's Pizza tower with the Thunderquack when Negaduck tried to level it. Heh. That didn't quite work out as we planned, but hey, at least Negaduck was caught."

As he talked conversationally, the pilot took out a few tools and popped the old GPS out. He reattached the wires on the other one and turned it on.
"There we go. We're all set."
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 8 months ago
Well, that was impressive! Alex just stood in awe as Launchpad casually demonstrated all the different ways one could enter the vehicle as well as describing a few useful attributes that were hidden in the design. Realizing that the clock was ticking and that Launchpad was already reinstalling the GPS, he hopped out of his trance. Choosing to avoid damaging the paint job from jumping on the wings to get in the cockpit or getting too close to its armaments and other surprises in the 'beak', Alex hurried around to the back and walked up the vehicle ramp. He was amazed at how the pilot was able to fit so much stuff in such a small area. Talk about efficiency. Sophie would approve.

Upon finding a seat in the front of the cockpit, he opened up his briefcase and took out a laptop and some cables. He then opened the laptop and navigated through the digital compartments until he found the special government-encoded GIS software. Typing in his name and password, he clicked and was directed to another screen where he repeated the same procedure with a different password. Redundancy could be a pain, but there were too many people that wanted to know everything SHUSH knew. Finally, a screen popped up showing a series of toolbars along the upper and right sides of the monitor. In the middle, there was a blank white void that would soon be filled with information uploaded and translated from the GPS software to the SHUSH GIS software. Alex then minimized the screen and double tapped on another icon. Soon, another blank screen popped up with toolbars lining the upper and right side portions. However, this screen appeared as a large blank grid, much like a spreadsheet. The program currently in view would translate and merge any raw information from the GPS to a point, line, or geographical area on the GIS system.

"Thanks for going ahead and hooking it up, Mr. McQuack. I'll just plug this cable into there," Alex explained as if demonstrating the art of his trade. "and into here. There we go." He typed a series of commands on the computer. A few moments later, the spreadsheet filled up with vast amounts of information. As he continued working on the computer, he tried to explain what he was doing so Launchpad wouldn't be left out of the loop. On multiple occasions, he had to describe what some of the technical jargon and computer terms meant. Not many people were familiar with GIS. Alex clicked on the side toolbar to check if all of the information packets were present. Good, it doesn't look like anything is corrupted or unusual. Of course, there was a lot of information that was categorized into a few simplified folders. The problem could be deeper than just taking a glance at the information.

A few more commands later, Alex switched back to the GIS software and exited out of the spreadsheet. A large world map showed up on the screen. Quickly navigating through the toolbars, he found and dragged a few files into the map. Several graphics that looked like abstract maps appeared and seemed to be stacked on top of the base map. This was the beauty of GIS. It allowed the user to visualize an unlimited set geographical and quantitative information in almost any combination relative to each other.

Glancing at the digital clock display in the corner of the screen, over twenty minutes had passed. To Alex, it felt more like twenty seconds as he was lost in his work. Realizing that he wouldn't have enough time to diagnose the problem within the allotted lunch break, he looked over to the pilot. "Well, I've got the info from the GPS loaded onto a secure server at SHUSH. Don't worry, it'll be safe there. That'll allow me to access it after work without us having to figure out when and where to get together." Actually, Alex would very much like an excuse to get together and talk with his favorite pilot. "Unless if you want to try and get together tomorrow evening so we're both on the same page?" He suggested as an excuse to hang out with Launchpad more and to counter his first, less selfish thought. "Sorry I wasn't able to take a very close look at it. There's only so much you can do in an hour." He smirked. Hopefully, Launchpad wouldn't mind waiting a couple more days for an answer.
Launchpad
by Launchpad 8 months ago
Launchpad had watched with interest but the high-tech GIS stuff went over his head. It was pretty neat to watch, though. Although he didn't mind waiting a few days for information, his employer would definitely get impatient. Launchpad had not been given a deadline, but he knew the longer he waited, the greater his chances of being left behind were. Scrooge could fly a helicopter better than most pilots and if Scrooge wanted to get something done, nothing would stop the crafty quad zillionaire. Launchpad wanted to go along for some adventure and a chance to catch up with his former employer, and he knew he could get there with a regular map and the coordinates Scrooge had given him. There was no reason to wait for the GPS other than as a safety precaution.

"It's alright. I know how that goes; trying to get so much done in a short time frame. I've had to rebuild planes out of scraps in all kinds of hairy situations. Hm. Tomorrow evening...?"

The sidekick scratched his chin in thought. "I'm busy most nights but I might be able to swing it. Would six thirty be alright for you?"

That was past the time they usually had dinner, and past rush hour. It should allow Launchpad time to go to SHUSH and get back to Darkwing Tower by the time DW is ready to head out for his nightly patrol.
Alex Shoveler
by Alex Shoveler 8 months ago
"Sure. Six-thirty sounds fine to me." Yes! More time with flying legend McQuack. He concentrated on remaining calm so he wouldn't come off as flamboyant or strangely enthusiastic. "I'll just stick around here at SHUSH after work. I need to get a few extra things done, anyway. So, that'll work out perfectly. Just give me a call when you're here, and I'll come on over." Thanks to his arm, Alex preferred calling instead of texting. It was a struggle to type on a small keyboard with virtual keys when he didn't have fine control over his thumb.

Just then, a small vehicle quickly pulled up alongside the Thunderquack without a sound. The driver's side door swung up, and a few seconds later, a slender figure emerged with two small paper bags. The woman slowly made her way toward the uniquely shaped vehicle. The parcels she carried slowly sank down to her waist as she came to a halt and simply stared at the 'thing' in front of her. For a couple seconds, she was simply dumbstruck. Although she had seen and driven some of the most advanced and exotic vehicles in the world, she was forced to draw a blank. But, reality set back in. She had a tight schedule to maintain, as did her boyfriend. And, so she assumed, Launchpad was in a hurry as well. Not sure how to get in, she balanced both parcels in one arm and dialed Alex with the other.

Just as soon as Alex had finished explaining to Laun