The Forgotten (MA)

((OOC: As of right now this is reserved for Piper/ Jade and Jacob. If anyone else wants in, message me. Keep in mind that at times this will be MA themed, and I think I will have it marked so that people can avoid it if they choose.))

---

It started small.... barely noticeable at first. 

A homeless person was missing. 

Okay, so perhaps they were vagrant and had simply moved on? It wasn't unheard of. Easily dismissed and not taken as a top priority. Then a few more happened... And then several more. 

Before long, it was not just the homeless that were coming up missing. Piper was sitting on her futon, pouring over a college course selection book, highlighter balancing precariously on the end of her bill as she scanned her choices. Her thoughts, admittedly, were not on the weak and vulnerable of St. Canard. Rather, on which classes she would start at St. Canard University. 

She was just about to draw a neon mark over "Biochemistry" when the news report blaring from her TV caught her ear. 

Reporter: "Good afternoon folks, Guy Everyman here with a special bulletin from St. Canard P.D. Officials would like to ask the general public to keep on the look out for one Prissy Puffington, of St. Canard's upper north side. She went missing around 2 PM last night, and her parents are offering a fifty thousand dollar reward for anyone who can offer a tip to lead to her safe return." A picture of a small Puffin in what was clearly a designer dress flashed across screen. " She is 20 years old, stands three foot, four inches and has black and white feathering. If you have seen her, or know her location, please contact the number below."

The screen flashed back to the reporter. "Miss Puffington's disappearance is one of several that have been sweeping the city in the past few months, and with the growing number of reports, rumors of a trafficking ring have began to circulate. St. Canard P.D. has not confirmed this, but urgently reminds everyone to be aware of their surroundings. Now back to your regularly sch--"

Remote in hand, Piper turned off her television. She'd heard rumors of some goings on, but to be frank... she'd kept a low profile. Malicia's work kept her busy, and because it was such a lucrative venue, she did not wish to risk exposure through her more petty pass times. 

But this one bugged her. Perhaps because she was the same age as the girl who had gone missing. After a few silent moments, lost in though... she stood up and pulled out her cell phone. Her finger hovered for a moment... wondering if this was something she could really turn to Jacob about. In her mind, she knew what she was planning to do... and he had asked that she keep him in the loop about anything she was attempting. 

She bit her lip. Piper had no idea if this would work or not. If nothing more, she could discuss it with someone who had a lot more experience than her. Pressing her contact, she quickly texted Jacob, not wanting to bother him if he wasn't free. 

"I am plotting."

    • Piper/ Jade
      Piper/ Jade

      “He does.” Piper chimed in. 

      Granted, Phineas for the most part had been a gentleman to her... except at the end. And she really didn’t like what he’d done to Miguel. She reached up to brush a bit of dead foliage off his head, then gave a small smile. “‘poor guy.” Her tone suggested that her words did not hold the meaning.

      Stepping back, she sipped her coffee and waited for the tour to continue on.

      • Quiverwing Duck
        Quiverwing Duck

        Drake made a quick, quiet exhalation. Then he said, "Served him right, I have no doubt. Conniving son of a buzzard." He had never encountered the Sharpe of this world, at least not until that very moment, but he had the displeasure of dealing with him in his home dimension.

        "Well, at least this way, he's useful," Drake had regained some of his chipper demeanor."Art isn't always about aesthetics."

        • DarkwingPsycho
          DarkwingPsycho

          Jacob grinned at Drake.  "Glad we agree, then."

          He led them through a maze of paths until they had come around to the side of the manor.  He opened a side door, after pressing his thumb against the panel near the side, and they walked into the garage.  While the yellow Jaguar mostly stayed outside, there was a space for it inside of the five-car room.  Along the back was a workshop of sorts, with a wooden countertop, cabinets, paneled wall from which tools hung.  Others were scattered haphazardly on the countertop.  Jacob had the idea of organization, but rarely implemented it.

          Beyond the workspace were two vehicles that very rarely saw the light of day.  A 1970 Corvette and a 1967 Buick Wildcat.  It was a little clearer now why Jacob so easily gifted the Knighthawk to Drake, although even if that had been his only other car, he'd have done it.

          "I've been tinkering with the 'cat here and there, but she's mostly drive-worthy.  All that's left, really is the security system."

          He smirked at Piper.  "Which is upgraded from the Jaguar's..."

          • Piper/ Jade
            Piper/ Jade

            She gave him an innocent look. "I was just playing... I would never have hurt Hubert."

            .... yes. She'd named his car for him.

            However, now she was eyeing the wildcat with a lopsided grin. "It's such a gangster car. In the back of her mind she wondered where she found time to do all of this fiddling around. He made it sound like... or she had interpreted, that he was always busy.

            She set her coffee cup down and walked over to get a better look at it. "What a roomy front seat. Are you going to deck this thing out with SHUSH tech? Have a magic button to make an oil spill behind you for a get away?" She was going to throw all the spy cliches at him.

            Looking to the corvette she moved. Now this was more her style. "Hello there gorgeous..." not that she even drove much. Inner city meant she had loads of public transportation to depend on.

            • Quiverwing Duck
              Quiverwing Duck

              "Wow," Drake was almost ogling the Wildcat. "That is a beauty." He marveled at the similarities and differences present in vehicle designs between this world and his own. Everything looked so familiar, especially the older a vehicle--or building, for that matter--was, in this dimension. Kind of an interesting thought he might have to explore, later.

              He gave a smirk to the back of Piper's head, because his car did have a button that released an oil spill behind it. He said to Jacob, "This reminds me, I ought to show you a photograph of my previous car. You might... find that kind of interesting."

              "Anyway," Drake lifted one hand in a vague waving gesture. "What sort of security do you use? Generally if I know it'll take me longer than five seconds to get into a vehicle, I won't bother with it. Not that I condone stealing cars, of course, unless the situation truly demands it."

              • DarkwingPsycho
                DarkwingPsycho

                Jacob raised a brow.  "We're not naming the Jaguar 'Hubert.'"  Then he smirked at her comment about the front seat.  All the better to ravish you in.  "Oh, it's all in there," he assured her.  "No oil spill stream on this one, though.  It's upgraded with a bit more modern flare.  Perhaps we could take her out sometime, but not today."

                He glanced at Drake with interest.  "All right."  He walked around the Buick as he spoke, looking it over with pride.  "It's an off-the-market system...I put to together myself from various sources so that it wouldn't be easy to commandeer.  Maybe I'll have the both of you take a crack at her later, find any bugs for.  Right now, the main thing is, she won't start without me."  He waggled his thumb, then put it against the handle.  Of course nothing happened, as the car was already unlocked.  He opened it and sat in the driver's seat, then motioned to the ignition.  Instead of a "start" button or a keyhole, there was just a pad.  He put his thumb against it, then said, "Wildcat.  Mallard.  On."

                The engine roared to life, which was a sound Jacob never tired of.

                • Piper/ Jade
                  Piper/ Jade

                  She gave an amused look... Piper already had a plan for trying.

                  Because that was what she did. Let him keep his fantasy of keeping her out of his stuff... she’d just keep dashing those dreams by taking his cars. 

                  Piper leaned down to look in and see what kind of hardware he was working with. She pulled off her sunglasses... must feel better, and eyed the panel. “‘very well. It’s a date, right Drake?” She chuckled softly, she was pretty sure that between the two of them, they could steal all of Jacob’s cars... all in one go. Or at least the ones that were running. 

                  For another time though. Straightening back up, she hooked the glasses on her shirt. 

                  • Quiverwing Duck
                    Quiverwing Duck

                    The growling engine elicited a quiet yet enthusiastic response from Drake. "That is absolutely sweet." He loved driving, even if some of his maneuvers would probably cause heart failure in meeker passengers.

                    "Of course, Miss Lee. I've had some ideas as to how to bypass biometric scanners and locks in general, but I haven't had much opportunity to try it." Drake already looked a bit scheming, brows pulled down as he tapped his chin with his index finger.

                    "...without causing any damage to the vehicle whatsoever, of course," he added after a long moment of thought, just to make sure Jacob didn't think he intended to so much as scratch his car.

                    • DarkwingPsycho
                      DarkwingPsycho

                      Jacob could see the look in Piper's eyes.  "Controlled stealing, mind you.  I don't either of these out and about when there could still be glitches in their respective systems."

                      The elder mallard chuckled at Drake's appreciation of the engine.  "I'm glad you like her.  Perhaps once she's ready to go, you can take her for a spin."

                      He pressed his thumb to the ignition again and it shut off.  "All right, then.  Let's continue."

                      He led them back into the house where they were met with a modest-sized mud room.  With a sly smirk behind him, Jacob reached out to one of the hooks lining the wall and pulled down.  Suddenly the floor to the left of them shuddered, and began lowering into what had previously been a hidden staircase.

                      With a proud expression, because who wouldn't love showing off their secret passages in their secret house, he moved down below and into a large furnished space.  One section held a lot of computer equipment - security, camouflage, etc. - while another housed an impressive gymnasium.

                      • Piper/ Jade
                        Piper/ Jade

                        She shrugged. Piper would make no promises... but her record spoke for itself.

                        Following along, she folded her arms behind her back. She glanced over at the moving floor, tilting her head a bit... this was almost like a carnival house. Secret passages and all.

                        Following them down the stairs, her eyes were immediately drawn to the gymnasium. "And here I have been paying through the nose to use St. Canard University's facilities."

                        What? She needed to keep up her normal cardio and strength training. They also had a wonderful set of mats for tumbling. She wandered away to get a better look at the equipment. "No wonder you are in such good shape." She complimented without hesitation.

                        • Quiverwing Duck
                          Quiverwing Duck

                          Drake looked rather pleased at the idea of getting to drive that Wildcat at some future time, but he was also interested in seeing the rest of what was clearly an extensive house.

                          The secret passage made him grin. He could not help but appreciate that, considering how many he had employed for his own hideaways. It was strangely comforting.

                          Drake's attention was initially caught by the computer equipment, at least until he realized there was a gym. "What?" He said, before he even thought about expressing an opinion. "And I just did push-ups in the guest room this morning, never knowing..." He just gestured with both hands at the gymnasium space. He loved training. He would do it for fun even if he wasn't doing it out of necessity.

                          • DarkwingPsycho
                            DarkwingPsycho

                            Jacob flashed her a boyish grin at her compliment, then moved closer to Drake.  "Well," he said simply.  "Now you know."

                            Past the gym, which also had a small sauna attached to the bathroom next to it, they caravanned through a doorless entry and came upon a short hallway.  There was a set of double doors beyond which was modest-sized theater, a laboratory with various chemicals and testing equipment (Drake had been here before - it was where they had analyzed the patch), and a room that Jacob distinctly passed up because it was the room he had first taken Piper to upon one of their initial encounters.  "Storage," he said instead, vaguely motioning to the locked room.

                            Up a set of stairs that Drake had gone down earlier to the first floor.  They were now back in the foyer.

                            The rest of the home that Jacob actually showed them was fairly normal.  Library, dining room, living room, office, parlor, multiple guest rooms and bathrooms...There was at least one other hidden passage that he did not show them, and an office upstairs that was off-limits, but it wasn't like he aired that fact.

                            "Well?" he asked them breezily once they had returned to the kitchen.  He was already making a second pot of coffee.  "What'd you think?"

                            • Piper/ Jade
                              Piper/ Jade

                              Pretty extensive for one person...

                              Piper put her now empty cup down on the counter. "You have your own little fortress here." She commented with a small smile. The though occurred to her that he used this place to get away from everyone. Or, in reverse, keep someone hidden away.

                              She tilted her head curiously at him... clearly she had more to say on it, but was keeping quiet. With Drake here, she had to be careful about what she said.

                              Then with a small smile, she added, "it's like you never stop working though. Labs, gyms, security...you have your own mini SHUSH." her voice carried with gentle sadness. Her desire for him was to feel safe. To feel like he could take a break and simply relax... but she knew she would be fighting s losing battle there. It struck Piper that Jacob was a work-a-holic, and his history-- both recent and non-- did not exactly lend to safe feelings. There was no denying he liked his job, but she knew there needed to be a little balance.

                              ... she was one to talk. Erm, internally dialogue. It wasn't a critique on Jacob, but more her own longing to step in and help him find that balance. 

                              • Quiverwing Duck
                                Quiverwing Duck

                                "It's amazing," said Drake, once Jacob had asked their opinions, with a somewhat restrained enthusiasm that implied he was trying to keep a lid on his geek-out.

                                "Easily one of the coolest secret lairs I've seen," he started to elaborate, as if he had been in enough of those to make a genuine ranking. "Everything you need for conditioning, experimentation, investigation, and living quarters?" He grinned at Jacob. "I was gonna show you my HQ but heck, after this, I dunno!"

                                Piper's comment about how Jacob never stopped working earned her a puzzled look from Drake. What was wrong with that? Although, that reminded him of a non-work matter.

                                He turned back to Jacob and said, "Sir, is it all right if I use my phone, here? I haven't attempted it as I didn't know whether cellular use would be a security compromise. I just need to call and leave a message."

                                • DarkwingPsycho
                                  DarkwingPsycho

                                  Jacob straightened proudly, not catching the hint of sadness in Piper's tone.  It was rather like a mini-SHUSH.  At Drake's enthusiastic comments, he grinned.  "Well, I appreciate that."

                                  He clapped the other mallard on the back.  "You can show me your 'HQ' anytime you'd like.  And use the landline.  There have been a couple of issues recently with the cell tower pings, but that should be resolved soon.  Still, better safe than sorry."

                                  • Piper/ Jade
                                    Piper/ Jade

                                    Falling silent to Drake's enthusiasm, and Jacob's clear pride in his home, she rested her hip on the counter and stared at her empty cup.

                                    Well... they were certainly two peas in a pod.

                                    But there was no helping it at this point. Piper had no right to interfere with how someone else wanted to live. Even if she cared.

                                    So, to save her sanity, she shifted mental gears. How to get back in with the kidnappers. The caffein had done an excellent job of pushing away her headache, so it was much easier to focus. And although she couldn't recall anything, she was questioning whether it not it would be a good idea to have Jacob or Drake involved.

                                    It had hurt Jacob. Or at least been too hard on him, and Drake admittedly acted despite the plan. She wasn't angry over it, but they were two factors that she hadn't counted on. Her own reaction to getting drugged being the third. So mistakes had been made all around.

                                    Unfortunately it seemed the only way to rectify it was to start cutting out the variables. Piper accepted it was an extreme reaction to the situation, so while Drake went to go make his phone call, she tried to come up with another plan.

                                    Pulling herself up to sit on the counter, she took her cup in her hands to fiddle with it. Her mouth twisted a bit as she considered her options.

                                    • Quiverwing Duck
                                      Quiverwing Duck

                                      "Yes, sir. When you're free and in the city," Drake said to Jacob, in reference to his headquarters. "And thank you." He flashed Piper a bright smile on his way past.

                                      He was somewhat audible making his phonecall, as it was clearly not a clandestine communication. Normal inside voices applied. "Hi, sweetheart. It's daddy. I know you won't get this until later, I just wanted to tell you that I'll see you soon. I love you."

                                      After that, Drake called his voicemail, and then he was quiet as he jotted down some notes to himself.

                                      • DarkwingPsycho
                                        DarkwingPsycho

                                        As soon as Drake was out of eyesight, Jacob moved in front of Piper, putting his hands on her knees and guiding them apart as he got between them to lean in and kiss her lightly.  "Alone at last...feeling better, little duck?"

                                        He had noticed her thoughtful expression and added with a fond smirk.  "You're plotting again."

                                        • Piper/ Jade
                                          Piper/ Jade

                                          She sat up a bit and returned his kiss, moving her cup out of the way. When he pulled back to speak, she smiled at him. "The Tylenol and coffee helped. Thank you."

                                          Piper knew she would need another cup though. Leaning back to rest her head against the cupboard she broke into a true grin. "I am always plotting. Either about one thing, or another." Gently she placed her hands on top of his. "How to steal jewels, how to mix drinks properly, how I am going to steal your car..."

                                          She looked up at him through her eyelashes, a bit of a devilish gleam in her eyes.

                                          • DarkwingPsycho
                                            DarkwingPsycho

                                            He was going to offer her another cup of the pot he had just made, until she gave him that look through her lashes.  His hands slid out from under hers to snake around her hips.  He pressed intermittent kisses to her neck as he spoke.  "And you think...you can sneak...them both, do you...?"

                                            He stopped but only so that he could inch his face closer to hers, their bills barely apart.  "I can't decide if that'll be a reward...or punishment."  He reached beneath her slightly to grope her backside and kissed her more.  My, my, aren't we rather affectionate today.

                                            • Piper/ Jade
                                              Piper/ Jade

                                              She closed her eyes, flushing heavily at his attention. Every now and again she would cast a nervous glance towards where Drake had wandered off.

                                              But she was having a hard time caring. Jacob had that affect on her. He was good at making her lose herself in his attention. She chuckled softly, "Well of course I can sneak them both... " she rested her hands on his chest, playing with the lapels of his robe. Cocky of her, yes... but that was what made her so endearing.

                                              Hooking her ankles behind his back, she trapped him for a moment, closing her eyes once more to enjoy his kisses. She murmured gently, "caught you."

                                              • DarkwingPsycho
                                                DarkwingPsycho

                                                "Hmm...we'll see..." he murmured with a grin, knowing full well she was a pretty damn good thief.  When her legs came up behind his back, he scooted her farther toward the edge of the counter against him.

                                                "So you have..." he growled sensuously.  "For now..."

                                                He could hear Drake's footsteps returning, and reluctantly he released her.  He did grab her empty cup, however, to refill it with coffee for her.

                                                • Piper/ Jade
                                                  Piper/ Jade

                                                  She let out a disappointed sigh and let her feet drop. "Aw..."

                                                  Scooting back into the counter, she watched Jacob take her cup. Okay, go away now blush. She fanned herself quickly, then started braiding her hair as a reason to not be looking up when he entered.

                                                  Happily she noted Jacob actually refilling her cup. Normally coffee wasn't her thing, but it was helping. Maybe a third cup and call it quits?

                                                  Yeah, she was going to be obnoxiously peppy at this rate.

                                                  • Quiverwing Duck
                                                    Quiverwing Duck

                                                    Rather distinctly audible footsteps, in fact, considering Drake was a guy who tended to walk around eerily silent out of habit. "Thank you for letting me use your phone," he said, before he was even in the room.

                                                    If Piper was blushing, Drake didn't seem to notice. "Oh, if there's coffee left, I'd like another cup as well, please."

                                                    He didn't seem to need more, since he seemed pretty chipper already. Innocently, he commented, "Miss Lee, you seem to be feeling much better now."

                                                    • DarkwingPsycho
                                                      DarkwingPsycho

                                                      "You're welcome," Jacob responded without looking up.  He handed Piper the newly filled mug and passed her a flirtatious smirk.  Then he took Drake's cup and refilled it as well.