It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Crime-mas

Grunning’s department store had started to notice that their holiday displays were always a draw for the tourists with all that fabulous money in their pockets.  And through the power of <strike>commercialism</strike>-er-Christmas that money magically transferred from their wallets into the registers! A holiday miracle!  So... why not make the displays bigger?  Brighter?  Flashier? Literally.  The large store front that took up an entire city block lit up like the sun after dark, with little dioramas and music plinking away happily as heartwarming and product heavy scenes whirred around behind the glass.  It was akin to a commercial lighthouse. Come to us, come inside, spend that money.  You know you want to.  The manager had decided that this holiday season was going to be the beginning of a year round celebration of the greediest time of the year!  ...Joyful time of year!  How silly to mix those up. He had loudly publicized the idea in every news paper and television report.  Come to the spectacle! Be part of the magic!  And wouldn’t you know it, it was working.  Tourists flocked to the lights like moths to a bug zapper.  Only there was no real threat of zapping... right?

 

Gladstone frowned at the mass of people pushing and shoving each other to get a look at the displays.  That seemed like a lot of work.  He leaned against a crossing sign lightpost,  something was bound to happen so that he could get up close... all he had to do was wait.  Hadn’t Lilly asked him to meet her here? Guess he’d beaten her, he let out a sigh, his breath hung in the air as a small white cloud for a moment and he just settled in to watch.

    • DarkwingPsycho
      DarkwingPsycho

      She had experienced traces of Christmas in Duckburg, but had been on the outskirts of the celebrations much as she had been her entire life.  They didn't exactly do Christmas in Transylvania.  Not like the Normals did.  She was determined now that she had people in her life that she cared about to participate in the holiday.  She just...wasn't exactly sure how.  Or what it was all about.  But the decorations certainly were beautiful...

      She had been wandering the streets again, as she'd been wont to do since the decorating began, and noticed a giant crowd in front of an enormous and detailed display of lights and figures.  Curious, she began moving toward it but paused on the outside, not wanting to shove into the masses to get a glimpse.  She figured if she was patient enough, she'd get her turn.  Right?

      • Lilly Teal
        Lilly Teal

        Why HAD she asked him to meet her there? She was already regretting it as she looked at the crowds.

        It had seemed like a nice idea at the time, since he was new, and Grunnings usually had very pretty light shows. This year's seemed a bit... excessive on the news, but there was no harm in going to look at it. And it was always worth showing to someone who hadn't seen their displays before.

        Of course, it didn't look like she'd be able to find him in this mess. The crowd was given a slightly helpless look, and she wondered if she should try to push her way through, when she spotted a familar blonde head just on the outer edge.

        "Ariana? Ariana!" Perking up, she waved brightly at her friend to get her attention. Thus unintentionally making herself noticeable for anyone who might be looking for her.

        How lucky.

        • DarkwingPsycho
          DarkwingPsycho

          Her name was barely audible over the multiple conversations around her.  It also didn't help that she was wearing earmuffs.  But finally she glanced away from the wonder of the lights and caught sight of Lilly.  Instantly she brightened and waved back, then began worming her way as politely as possible toward her friend.

          "Lilly!" she cried breathlessly.  "What are you doing here?"

          • Lilly Teal
            Lilly Teal

            "I'm here to see the lights!" She bounced in place, not wanting to move in case she lost sight of her friend. Take your time, I'll wait right here for you! "I was going to ask you to come with me but I couldn't reach you! I assumed you were busy. It doesn't look like either of us are going to see them, though."

            The crowd was given another look, a slightly regretful one. She LIKED the light display. But it made sense that it would so crowded, with all the publicity.

            Sigh.

            "Maybe we'll be able to see some of it on the news later?" she added helpfully as Ariana finally came closer, giving a little hop as she lost sight of her behind a tall member of the crowd near her.

            • DarkwingPsycho
              DarkwingPsycho

              Ariana breathed a sigh of relief when she finally reached Lilly.  "I haven't got a cell phone yet..." she said abashedly.  The number had to be reached at was Morgana's landline, but she wasn't too sure how much longer she'd be able to use that.

              "I didn't even know this was here..."  Her eyes also travelled over the crowd to the tip of the brightly lit window.  "I wish we could see it.  Is it always this busy?"

              • Lilly Teal
                Lilly Teal

                "Normally? No. But the store owner was talking about it all over the news, building it up as a bit of a tourist thing. It might be because of that," she sighed. "But I'm so glad you're here anyway. I was supposed to meet someone but I have no idea where they are."

                That because you keep looking at the crowd. Honestly, do you think he'd mess his suit up in that chaos?

                "Do you want to try pushing in together?"

                • Gladstone Gander
                  Gladstone Gander

                  "Pushing?"

                  What?! Where did he come from?  How did he just appear behind Lilly as if he walked right up with no resistance? It was like he had timed it exactly  so that people were leaving gaps in the mass of humanity for him to stroll right through. ...well no, that's exactly what happened although not intentionally. "I think we'll need to push.  Oh,"  He noticed Ariana and offered his hand. "Gladstone Gander, pleasure to meet you.  Lillypad how are all your friends so pretty? Do you hold auditions?"  After he had shaken her hand he opened his arms toward Lilly. "Hugs! C'mon hurry up!" He demanded.

                  • DarkwingPsycho
                    DarkwingPsycho

                    Ariana was about to protest the "pushing" when another voice piped in.  She turned and glanced over Gladstone, not sure what to make of him.  Tentatively she took his hand and felt a blush rise to her face when he mentioned the word "pretty."  Was he joking?

                    "I-I'm..." she trailed off when he continued to Lilly without waiting to hear her reply.  Uncomfortable now, her eyes shifted back forlornly toward the crowded display.

                    • Lilly Teal
                      Lilly Teal

                      Oof, so demanding, said her expression. But it was said with a warm smile as she wrapped her arms around him and poured love into the greeting.

                      "Gladstone, she was introducing herself," she chided gently, leaning back to look at her, one arm coming out to take her hand. "This is Ariana. I'm sorry, he starts talking so fast sometimes." I think he forgets to wait for people.

                      "I hope you haven't been waiting long. But this is lovely! Now we can all go look at the lights together!"

                      Push tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!

                      • Gladstone Gander
                        Gladstone Gander

                        Thoroughly chided he grinned apologetically to Ariana.

                        "Sorry, I get excited about hugs." he confessed.  "Especially when it's  cold..." and when they're from Lilly.  "It's nice to meet you Ariana.  I promise not to stomp on every sentence you try to stay although as you've been warned I tend to run my mout-" like you were doing right now? He mimed zipping his mouth shut.  Sorry.  Not trying to be rude. It just happens.

                        • DarkwingPsycho
                          DarkwingPsycho

                          Ariana gratefully and bashfully let Lilly take her hand and draw her back into the conversation.  It was so unusual to have a friend who seemed to truly want to include her.  And Lilly's hand was so warm compared to the icicles that were Ariana's fingers.

                          "That's all right..." she said softly.  I'm used to it.

                          Then, to break the tension only she felt, "A-are you sure we have to push?  There are so many people, and...I don't want to make them upset."  Though clearly more than a few were already upset at not being able to force their way to a better view.

                          • Lilly Teal
                            Lilly Teal

                            "I don't think we can push anyone enough to actually upset them. It looks very packed," she pointed out. People seemed to be a state where they'd only be upset if you took their place, and no amount of shoving would effect them if they could keep position.

                            "Oh! Maybe we can..." Hm. No.

                            "How about-" Not that either. Wow, there really wasn't space.

                            "Gladstone, do you see any space? Anywh- oof!" Hey, we're on the edge of the circle guy, there's no need to push me!

                            • Gladstone Gander
                              Gladstone Gander

                              Oh okay, now this was ridiculous. He steadied Lilly after making sure she was okay. 

                              "Alright. Hold on ladies." He grabbed them by their free hands.  "Stick close to me, we've got some holiday spirit to spread." 

                              What was he going to do?  Ram his way through?  He wasn't that big of a guy... but the one who had bumped Lilly was.  He turned to look at them now and a strange emotion passed across his face. Was it recognition?

                              "Mr Gander!"

                              Gladstone froze.

                              "Uh-yes?"

                              "Oh it is you!"

                              "...is it?"

                              "We met at the museum gala, I'm Arnold Sipperstein!" 

                              Gladstone stared at him blankly.  

                              "...you won my boat The StarCatcher and then sailed it right into the headlines."

                              "O-oh. Yes hello." He supplied weakly.

                              A man in a Grunning's uniform approached.

                              "District Attorney, we're ready for you,  if you'll just follow me?"

                              "Come along my boy, ladies, you're going to  get the full VIP experience today. "

                              With one fell swoop the man pulled all three of them through the crowd  pushing and shoving a clear path through until they were safely behind a velvet rope partition where they had an up close and personal view of the windows. 

                               

                              Well... that was lucky.

                              • DarkwingPsycho
                                DarkwingPsycho

                                Ariana felt incredibly awkward the second Gladstone grabbed her hand, but once the entire situation with the DA had been laid out, she didn't dare let go as they slid through the swarm of people.  She still felt guilty as they moved, seeing the baleful stares and glowers from people who still had yet to see anything of the lights.

                                Still, she didn't feel guilty enough to martyr herself by staying outside.  She followed them in and tried to allow her wonder and curiosity to overcome the anxiety.

                                • Megavolt
                                  Megavolt

                                  "Look at this wasteful display. Such an excessive draw of energy from the power grid, and for what?" The figure standing on the street before the department store was not speaking to anyone in particular. Possibly just to himself, although he was doing it loudly and with a broad gesticulation of his arms.


                                  "Absolutely shameful, all these beautiful strings of lights forced to toil out in the cold. No one cares about their plight!" Pulling off the mittens he was redundantly wearing over his gloves as well as the stocking cap that had been pulled over his two-pronged helmet, Megavolt added in a more conversational tone, "Except for me, of course."


                                  After the judicious use of light yet painful zaps of static electricity to clear a path through the thronging crowd, the supervillain stopped, looked around, and admitted, "Wow, they really went all out, this year. This is a lot of stuff. I should'a rented a bigger truck."

                                  • Lilly Teal
                                    Lilly Teal

                                    Lilly winced in guilt as well at the looks they were getting, and attempted a few apologetic looks on the way.

                                    All of that, of course, dissolved when she saw the lights, and she squeaked with delight, shaking first Gladstone and then Ariana lightly by the arms. "It's so pretty! Thank you, Mister Sipperstein, really."

                                    LOOK HOW PRETTY IT IT ALL IS. IT'S ALSO KIND OF TACKY BUT IT'S STILL SO PRETTY.

                                    It was about then, of course, at the high point of the wonder and curiosity, that there was a distraction.

                                    "Does anyone else hear an... electric sort of sound? Are the lights shorting out?"

                                    ... oh.

                                    Oh dear.

                                    It wasn't a short, but it was a short fuse of a different kind.

                                    • Gladstone Gander
                                      Gladstone Gander

                                      Gladstone felt the crowd part behind him and glanced at the person who strolled up beside him.  Rented a bigger...? 

                                      He looked over his shoulder, taking his eyes away from Megavolt to see that the crowd was quickly dispersing like pool balls when first introduced to the cue.  Huh. Weird.

                                      "Are you an electrician?"

                                      Clearly Gladstone had never seen such a mythical creature as an electrician with his own eyes.  So this could very well be the uniform they wore for all he knew. 

                                      • DarkwingPsycho
                                        DarkwingPsycho

                                        "Oh yes..." Ariana said softly, remembering her manners thanks to Lilly.  "Thank you, sir..."

                                        Her large gray eyes moved over the display with amazement.  So many lights...so many cute scenes going on...she wasn't sure where to look.  Overcome with a sense of wonder, her bill fell open a little and she felt entranced.  She barely noticed the person who had sidled up near Gladstone.

                                        • Megavolt
                                          Megavolt

                                          Megavolt was used to citizens moving aside or even running away when he showed up. They were always a sort of unimportant background static when he was engaging in his cause. "Hmm. This may take two trips. Maybe even three! Oh well, I'd better get started."


                                          He was raising his hands when Gladstone asked him that question. He lowered his hands. "An electrician?" That made him laugh. "That's one way of putting it." Lifting his index fingers, an arc of electricity jumped between them in a bright blue bridge.


                                          Megavolt resumed raising his arms up, his hands glowing with energy. The air felt supercharged with static electricity. "I am MEGAVOLT! And I am hereby liberating these beleagured lights, and... that big shiny thing, it's up there on the front over the sign, I'm not sure what it is yet but that's coming with me, too!"

                                          • Lilly Teal
                                            Lilly Teal

                                            As the realisation Megavolt was in their midst spread through the crowd that hadn't been zapped by him already, St. Canardians began to panic and get as far away from him as possible.

                                            The problem with that was, he was near the front of the crowd. Which meant the people on the inside were frantically trying to push through a packed sea of bodies who didn't realise they had to give away, which just increased the panic on the inside.

                                            Eyes widening, Lilly grabbed both Gladstone and Ariana by their arms and tried to shuffle away into the press of the crowd. "Shhhh, Gladstone, don't get in his way."

                                            • Gladstone Gander
                                              Gladstone Gander

                                              Gladstone blinked at the display of live electricity then calmly craned his head back to look at the "thing over the sign" curiously.

                                              "Huh. Yeah what is that?  Kinda looks like a light up crystal hippopatama-AH!" he was suddenly pulled away from this strange newcomer by Lilly. The unexpected pull caught him off balance and he  nearly toppled into the two women.  "What? Is he a bad guy or something? He seems chipper enough-" He turned to look back at the rodent. "even if it seems like Sparky's blown a few too many fuses." 

                                              • DarkwingPsycho
                                                DarkwingPsycho

                                                Ariana jumped, startled at the supervillain yelling his own name, then stared curiously at the electricity he wielded from hand to hand.  "Liberating" bulbs?  She glanced toward the aforementioned shiny thing, but didn't have time to ponder its identity before she was grabbed.

                                                She gave a small yelp, then looked toward Lilly, wanting to know the same thing as Gladstone.

                                                • Megavolt
                                                  Megavolt

                                                  The villain did indeed seem chipper. Perhaps even giddy. He had no interest in the crowd, at least, as he was busy fondling a string of sparkling, beautiful white lights. "Ooh yes, my little lovelies, you'll soon be indoors where it's nice and warm, no longer forced to perform for--"


                                                  His head snapped up and he exclaimed, "Who said that! Do not call me Sparky! I very clearly stated that I am MEGAVOLT!" So much for being chipper. He looked agitated, with ropes of electricity crackling around him, the display lights waxing and waning for a moment as the power fluctuated.


                                                  Megavolt extended his arms and bolts of electricity jumped from his fingertips, arcing into the displays of animatronics, toys, and appliances. It was bright, and loud, and also involved some breaking glass. The end result was a lot of unalive electronically powered items behaving as if they had just been granted free will, and their first action as sentient beings was to escape from their carefully curated displays and wreak some havoc.


                                                  That seemed to please the electrokinetic rat, who clasped his hands together and giggled. "Now it's gotten fun, again." He side-stepped a model train that had jumped its tracks and was careening through the panicking crowd like a super-speed snake, so he could resume his original goal of gently taking down strings of lights.

                                                  • Lilly Teal
                                                    Lilly Teal

                                                    "He's-"

                                                    Dodge a small squadron of remote controlled toy planes.

                                                    "Yes. He's a bad guy. I mean he's. He's fine." She looked from one to the other, keenly aware of the fact that they had no idea what she was talking about. "He's not as active about causing havoc as the others-"

                                                    Yank friends out of the way of the model train in a slightly panicked manner.

                                                    "He just wants the lights, so if we all get out of his way we should be fine. And," this next bit of information was given directly to Gladstone, in a lower tone in case Megavolt overheard them, "he does not like being called Sparky so please let's not. And let's just-"

                                                    Whatever she was hoping they could 'just' didn't seem like it was quite in the cards, as a massage chair rumbled towards them meaningfully, trying to ram them against the electric stove that had managed to silently shuffle up behind them.

                                                    • Gladstone Gander
                                                      Gladstone Gander

                                                      Gladstone seemed to be oblivious to all the terror around him but smiled broadly and clapped his jade gloved hands together seeming pleased.

                                                      “Oh he’s a legitimate super villain with powers and everything? Neat!” Uh, hello? Earth to Gladstone what did you think the electric display was? No, not the one on the store...

                                                      “Exnay on the Arkyspay, got it. Oh what’s this?” He reached out and took ahold of an arm of the massage chair and gave it a little spin. It inexplicably picked up speed, whirrring like blender blades. “Uh, I think I upset it?” It was almost upon them when the body of the chair suddenly shot up in the air like a popped champagne cork, carried off by its own centripetal force. Gladstone let out a pleased little laugh.

                                                      “Woo look at it go!” He turned to grin at Lilly and Ariana. “This is fun!”

                                                      Thats when he was “eaten” by the oven.  He’d backed up a little too far and his knees gave out as they met the open hatch and tumbled right inside before it slammed shut.

                                                       

                                                      So much fun.

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