A Negaverse Welcome

Scrooge McDuck thought he had seen it all... He’d been in marina trenches, in caverns deep below the earth’s surface, in all of the world’s jungles and deserts, imprisoned in magical dimensions, time jumped, body swapped, and even gone into outer space. He’d met aliens, ghosts, monsters, magical folk, mythical beasts, ancient civilizations, and done more than most people can do in multiple lifetimes. But this- This was new to him.

He’d left the bin at lunch hour and gone walking through town, intending to drop by a few of the businesses he’d helped kickstart with loans. Contrary to popular belief, he did not actually own all of Duckburg, However, if he demanded everyone who owed him to pay up now, full interest, probably everyone would go broke and he would own all except for Glomgold’s and Rockerduck’s businesses.
The aged drake was in a good mood, despite having a long chaotic morning full of phone calls and demands for split second decisions. He’d still made a profit and that always made the Scotsduck chipper.

What did not make him chipper was taking a step and suddenly catapulting into open air, in a pink spiraling wind tunnel. He dodged several random pieces of furniture, diving into a bathtub to avoid getting squished by a kitchen hutch, and riding said bathtub past a hole in the stream that seemed to lead to a red lit room?

Taking a chance, Scrooge pulled his hat tightly over his brow, hooked his cane over his arm, and swam toward the round portal. The suction closed around him, pushing him through with enough force to send him careening over a building’s roof.

“GAAH!” He hooked his cane around a gutter to stop his fall. “Howling crash wagons! Where am I and what happened?”

The gutter creaked warningly.

    • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
      (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

      Route smiled and laughed. "I like you better than our Scrooge. It's a plan, then!" 

      His communicator beeped and he answered it. 

      "Oh, yes, of course. We were just finishing up. Why are you calling me?" he asked as he walked over to open the door. Then he stopped and stared. 

      "Amy!" he exclaimed, running over to check on her. "Are we under attack? What happened?" 

      The boys looked relieved to see their not-Uncle Scrooge safe and sound... and now felt very silly. 

      "Uncle Scrooge!" they ran over to hug him. "We thought you were kidnapped!" 

      • Richest Duck in the World
        Richest Duck in the World

        Scrooge hurriedly followed Route out of the room and hugged the kids. “Kidnapped? Me? Hehehe, it would take more than one man to do that, Laddies. Now then, what’s all the hullabaloo?”

        Amy tried to respond to Route. She’d taken the dart out of her leg and stayed still to slow the affects of the tranquilizer, but she still felt sluggish and sleepy. “They jumped...Dr. Masai...got her tranq gun.” 

        Randal had checked on Shanti and gotten her untangled from her lab coat. “You kids are pretty resourceful. You’d make some fine agents if you want to stick around with us old fogies and teach us a thing or two about teamwork.” He smiled. 

        “That was quite a jump one of you pulled off.” Shanti also did not seem upset as she straightned her clothes. 

        • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
          (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

          Route sighed in relief. "Okay, don't worry. Agent Randal, would you mind taking her to the infirmary?" 

          The boys were all hiding behind Uncle Scrooge nervously once more. 

          "We're really sorry..." 

          Why weren't any of the grown-ups angry? If it was Uncle Donald, he would have whacked them until they were black and blue. Maybe they were luring them into a false sense of security and then bring out their punishment when they least expect it?

          Louie felt terrified. Huey still had headaches. He could not take another beating... 

          "I'll take all my brothers' punishments!" he said, just as his brothers shouted the same thing in unison. Then they glared at each other. 

          "Don't be like that! You're still not feeling well!" 

          "I'm the oldest! I can't let you guys do this!" 

          "Only by a few minutes! And I don't have your headaches!" 

          "Your tail is still bruised!" 

          • Richest Duck in the World
            Richest Duck in the World

            “Roger that. Up you get.” The shorter hare took the duck’s arm and draped it over his shoulders. “I’d say something about you getting your tail kicked by pipsqueaks but that wouldn’t be a fair shot at the moment.” 

            “I was...saving your tail. Ingrate.” Amy muttered. 

            Shanti moved to help Amy but she stopped and frowned at the kids. “You’ve already apologized. The only losses were two darts, an adrenaline shot, and a little bit of dignity. I’m not upset about what happened, Children. Nobody in this building will hurt you.”

            ”You were trying to find your uncle, and you were defending yourselves from a bunch of strangers you’re not sure you can trust.” Randal added over his shoulder as he walked Amy down the hall, his ears still canted back to catch the cconversation. “Seems like an honorable motive to me.” 

            “Aye, but I think we’ll call it an evening early since we’re already done with dinner. I think the lads have had enough excitement for today.” Scrooge replied. “Where is the library? We’ll swing by that on the way to our room.”

            Shanti glanced at her watch.  "Agent Anca is on his way with the keys to your rooms. Agent Route, do you have time to show them around?” 

            • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
              (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

              The boys could not believe it. 

              "Is this a trick...?" Louie asked warily. Uncle Donald had pulled that trick a few times before, pretending to be nice to them only to give them a severe punishment when they started to feel relieved. 

              Route nodded. "Yes. My schedule just has you four on my list today," he grinned at them. "Let's show you our library." 

              Dewey looked excited but Huey yawned boredly. "Didn't you say you had a pool?" 

              • Richest Duck in the World
                Richest Duck in the World

                “What sort of trick?” Scrooge raised a brow. If anyone tried to pull a trick on these boys, he’d give them cane. He nodded at Huey’s question about the pool. “I heard the same. Perhaps you could give us a tour then, Agent Route?” 

                • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                  (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                  Route nodded. "Yes. Come this way, please." 

                  He showed Scrooge and the boys some of the offices the agents worked in, as well as his own. He had... very interesting taste, having his furniture a horrible clash of bright colours with stuffed teddy bears all in a row and hanging cute wind chimes.

                  High Command even stopped a meeting in progress to wave cheerfully to the boys. They were still shrouded in shadow and behind a screen like their counterparts, but they were noticeably nicer and had colourful decor and dreamcatchers all around them. He even showed them the radio room they used for spying and alerting other branches of their agency in case of major crisis. 

                  Then there was the gym, pool, game room, training room and library. Louie looked interested at the training equipment and the work the agents were doing, Huey had his eye on the game room and pool, and Dewey was very fascinated by the library. 

                  "...and lastly, here are the living quarters," he gestured to a hallway of doors that had a soft carpet laid out with a nice shade of blue. "We normally use these for people under the witness protection program, but some of our agents live here too. Your room is at the end of the hall. Shall we proceed?" 

                  • Richest Duck in the World
                    Richest Duck in the World

                    Agent Anca met them in the hall with the keys to their room as Shanti had promised. He assured the ducks that there were bathrobes and towels already in their rooms along with some spare clothes.  Apparently NegaSHUSH already knew the boys’s clothing size. 

                    Scrooge was keenly interested in the radio room but it was disappointingly old fashioned.  They appeared to use some form of Morse code, phones, and regular staticky radio frequencies to communicate with other operatives. There was certainly no super computer perusing over financial records or emails or texts. Sighing quietly, he continued following Route, appearing just as interested in the library as Dewey...until he went in and scoured the titles. There did not appear to be many history books in here, and what little history he found seemed to end right about the time Negaduck took power.  

                    Scrooge borrowed a book to read in the room and thanked the agents for their assistance.  He did not have much to say at the moment. Small talk had never been his strong suit. 

                    • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                      (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                      Dewey enthusiastically looked for a book to read too but Huey and Louie were far from interested. Louie wanted to explore more of the offices and labs, and Huey wanted to play in the pool. But they seemed unwilling to leave out of sight of their uncle and brother. 

                      "Hey guys! I found storybooks!" Dewey exclaimed, waving several books in his hands. "Let's read them together! Remember that torn page we found and kept reading to each other at bedtime, about the witch and the lion?? I found the actual book! Eee!" 

                      "That was months ago, Dewey. Uncle Donald burned that page. I never liked it anyway," Huey rolled his eyes, but he was clearly interested as he moved towards his brother with Louid, eyeing the book curiously. 

                      • Richest Duck in the World
                        Richest Duck in the World

                        “A lion and a witch?” Scrooge looked over. “Ah yes, I read that story many years ago. Or at least my world’s version of it. Don’t tell me the witch wins in this one and gets rid of those wee children.”  He held his hand out so that he could flip to the end of the story and see what happens. “Regardless, it should still be an interesting read. The world it’s set in is make believe but it’s a pastiche of real life and another story written long long ago.” 

                        • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                          (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                          Oddly enough, the story seemed very similar. Aside from several grammatical mistakes and inappropiate swearing by the author, the ending was just the same. 

                          "Wait, what happened to the kids in your world?" Dewey asked nervously. 

                          "You mean this story was real?" Huey looked intrigued. Even Louie was interested. 

                          • Richest Duck in the World
                            Richest Duck in the World

                            Scrooge was pleasantly surprised to see that the book ended the same way. “Ahh. Maybe things aren’t as different as I thought. This story is about four siblings who lived in war-torn London. They were sent away to the countryside for their safety and while exploring the professor’s house through a game of hide and seek,  the youngest found a wardrobe. ... Hm. You might not know what those are. It’s basically a big closet in the shape of a large wooden chest with a coat rack, drawers or shelves, and two large doors. This particular wardrobe was made with wood from a whole other world! And when the girl entered it, she walked further, and further in, past more coats than could possibly fit in an ordinary wardrobe. Until-...” 

                            Scrooge was just as dramatic and animated as he described a fictional tale as he was with his own stories and legends. 

                            “Her feet crunched. On snow.” He grinned. “Out in the middle of a snowy forest. Do you know what the first thing is that the wee lass saw? A lamppost! Right out in the middle of the woods! And do you know what else she saw? A gentleman, with an umbrella and some parcels, skipping along...on cloven hooves.” 

                            Scrooge gladly shared more of the story as they picked out more to read and headed to their room. He was happy to see that the room was furnished like a nice hotel, and he invited the boys to join him on the couch as they flipped through the book to look at the pictures and imagine the betrayal, the consequences, forgiveness, the sacrifice, the grief, the bravery, and triumph of the children and the lion over the witch and the endless winter. 

                            An hour passed and Scrooge cleared his throat. “Och. All this yammering has turned me throat to sandpaper. I wonder what they have available for tea or coffee in here.” 

                            He turned on the faucet and grimaced at the unsightly brown water. “Yick. Don’t they have water filters on this building?”

                            He rummaged in the cabinet and fridge. “Ah, good. Bottled water. I’ll see about getting us victuals to see us through the night. I wonder if there’s a room service...”. He picked up the phone and pressed zero. 

                            Agent Anca answered, and agreed to send whatever the boys wanted to eat and drink up to their room. 

                            “That should cover us for the night. What do you lads want to do now?” Scrooge asked as he sipped on some water. 

                            • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                              (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                              The boys listened eagerly to more of Scrooge's story. The more time they spent away from their uncle Donald, the more alive they started to look. 

                              At the end of it, they started to look sleepy. They just had one heck of a day, after all. 

                              "Not many people can afford water filters," Dewey told Scrooge. "Uncle Donald spent a fortune to have one installed in the house. It's only in his bathroom though. And he never let us use it because we aren't worth enough." 

                              "Do you think he's missing us?" Huey asked suddenly, looking sad. 

                              "Pfft. He's probably relieved not to have us as a burden anymore," Louie rolled his eyes. "And whether he missed us or not, he still hurt us. I'm not letting you all go back to him again." 

                              His brothers sighed quietly. Then Dewey brightened. 

                              "Pillow fight!" he shouted, tossing a pillow at Louie. Louie dodged and it hit Huey. Huey retaliated by tossing two pillows, but his aim was off and both of them hit Scrooge in the face and stomach. 

                              There was a dead silence as the kids stared at Scrooge, unsure of how he'd react to that. 

                              • Richest Duck in the World
                                Richest Duck in the World

                                “What kind of idiotic psychopath only rigs a water filter to one durned faucet instead of the main waterline?” Scrooge shook his head. “The more I learn about that poor excuse for a nephew, the more grateful I am to have you three with me. You don’t deserve to be treated like burdens, Lads.”

                                He sat back down with his water and watched the kids play while he wet his whistle but the stray pillows knocked his glasses askew and made him squirt water on his coat. He coughed and eyed them all disapprovingly for a moment as he straightened his glasses and closed the water bottle. Then his eyes and bill crinkled with amusement. 

                                “If it’s a pillow fight you laddies want, it’s a pillow fight you’ll get. En garde! Haha!”  He tossed one pillow back to Huey and playfully swung the other one at Dewey’s pillow, laughing merrily. He’d air dry his coat later. 

                                • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                  (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                  "Aaaah!" Huey ducked and laughed. "Ha! Missed!" 

                                  And was promptly attacked by Louie from behind. 

                                  Dewey blocked the pillow attack and tried to smack Scrooge with his pillow. 

                                  The triplets were all very relieved that their uncle wasn't angry. Donald would have thrown a fit and took all their pillows away. And these ones were so soft... it wasn't like those uncomfortable foam pillows they used to sleep on at all. 

                                  After a while, the boys were exhausted. Louie lay where Dewey pillow-whacked him, starting to doze off. Huey claimed he wasn't sleepy but he was yawning. Dewey was the only one who made an effort to go to the bathroom and brush his teeth. 

                                  • Richest Duck in the World
                                    Richest Duck in the World

                                    Scrooge had more stamina than the kids, but he was enough of a parent-figure in his own boys’ lives to see when fatigue crept in. When he saw Louie starting to doze off, he picked up the pillows and put them back on the beds. 

                                    “Hehe. That was fun. Alright Lads, time to tuck in for the night.” He offered to pick Louie up to set him properly in bed.

                                    Regardless of how they ended up there (whether he carried them and tucked them in like a parent or they avoided him and tucked themselves in), he’d see to it that each little head was cushioned on a fluffed pillow and each little hand had an edge of the blanket to hold onto.  

                                    “Sleep well, Huey, Dewey, and Louie. I don’t know what exactly tomrrow will bring, but I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to play in the pool and the game room later. It’s been an honor getting to know you lads.” 

                                    • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                      (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                      When Louie first opened his eyes, he thought the events of last night were just a dream. He'd wake up in his bunker bed with his siblings in the cellar, with Uncle Donald banging on the door, telling them it was time to work on their chores. 

                                      But he wasn't. He was in bed, snuggling with his brothers, who'd stolen his pillows- 

                                      Wait a minute. 

                                      He snatched back his pillow, ignoring Huey's sleepy grumble. It was just for lighthearted spite, since he was already getting up to explore the facility. 

                                      Where was Uncle Scrooge? Was he still asleep? Or was he a morning person? Or- 

                                      Terror struck Louie for a moment. What if he'd left them in the middle of the night?? 

                                      • Richest Duck in the World
                                        Richest Duck in the World

                                        Scrooge was sitting at the table, reading. Of course he’d gotten up early. He was hard-wired to take advantage of daylight from dawn to dusk, and even though it was still dark in their room, thanks to the overcast sky, his internal clock was still on the dot. 

                                        He’d let the boys sleep, choosing to sit quietly nearby rather than look for something to fix for breakfast. He smiled warmly and waved Louie over when he saw the boy looking for him. 

                                        “Good morning, Lad.” 

                                        I still have no idea which one you are.

                                        “Did you sleep well?” 

                                        • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                          (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                          Louie let out a small sigh of relief. " Morning, Uncle Scrooge.Yes, I did. Thank you. I thought it was just a dream. I'm so happy you're real!" 

                                          He started to leave the room. "I'm going to explore more of this place!" 

                                          • Richest Duck in the World
                                            Richest Duck in the World

                                            “Hold on there, Lad. Let’s wait until your brothers wake up, first. They’ll worry about you if they find you missing.” Scrooge said gently. “Unless they’re used to you wandering off?” 

                                            • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                              (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                              Louie screeched to a stop and sighed, walking back to sit next to Scrooge. "No. You're right. It's just... so exciting being here! It's so cool how FOWL are helping people. Like a ray of hope in the darkness! I never knew they existed. I wanna be an agent too! Then I can protect my brothers. Or anyone else in danger! Or I could be like you!" 

                                              • Richest Duck in the World
                                                Richest Duck in the World

                                                “Any of those would be fine goals.” Scrooge assured Louie. “You already have a strong protective streak and a discerning eye.”

                                                He looked embarrassed after a moment. “Uh... What is your name, Lad? Your counterparts wear different colors back home. I haven’t quite figured out how to tell you three apart yet. But I will.” He smiled softly.

                                                “After I find and talk to Magica, I’d like to see about researching the kind of technology that’s available around here. This place is years behind what I’m used to. But I can hang around here for a while and enjoy the day with you three at the pool or the gym.” 

                                                • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                                  (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                                  Louie brightened. "You really think so?" 

                                                  He looked slightly hurt that Scrooge couldn't seem to tell him apart from his brothers, but it was quickly gone. 

                                                  "I'm Louie. Uh, what if I wear my hair differently?" 

                                                  He reached up and started messing his hair until it looked completely ruffled and untidy. 

                                                  Just then, his siblings came out, both yawning sleepily, with bedhead similar to Louie's. 

                                                  "Oh, come on." 

                                                  "Morning!" Dewey said cheerfully, hugging everyone, then quickly disappearing to brush his teeth. 

                                                  "Do we get breakfast? I'm hungry," Huey asked. Right on cue, his stomach started growling. He flushed and grinned, embarrassed. 

                                                  Louie smiled. "A day here sounds fun... I wish we could all go with you, though. I still don't understand why we have to stay behind. What do they want from us?" 

                                                  Scrooge had gained his trust, but FOWL had not completely earned it yet. At the back of his mind, he was still waiting for it all to be a trick. 

                                                  • Richest Duck in the World
                                                    Richest Duck in the World

                                                    Scrooge chuckled.  “Nice try, Louie. I may have a better idea on how I can tell you apart.”  He took out some coins, sniffed and sorted them until he had three set aside. An old penny, a new shiny penny, and a new nickel. 

                                                    “I can smell money, and copper has a distinct scent from silver alloy. Huey, since you’re the oldest, you get the  oldest coin. It may not look like much, but these wheat ear pennies have been out of circulation for several decades where I come from. It’s worth more than a regular penny, and it’s been in me pocket on a good many adventures.” He proffered the coin to the boy who stepped forward. 

                                                    “Dewey, your bright mind and curiosity will keep your perspective fresh and help you make new discoveries. The whole world is at your fingertips. So, I’ll give you this newly minted penny. It has never been imprisoned in a cash register. Yours are the first hands to hold it since I got it from the mint. Your future is just as bright and clear as this coin’s shiny surface, so it reminds me of you.”

                                                    ”Louie. As the self made leader and guardian of your brothers, it’d be my honor to offer you this nickel. It’s traveled in my pocket for a good while, too. Fortune favors the brave, and no one’s braved as many dangers around the globe and beyond as I have. May your courage serve you well.”  He gave the boy the coin like it was a medal of honor.  “May all of your fortunes be made rich with memories.”

                                                    His own stomach rumbled.

                                                    ”Ah yes, breakfast would be good. I’d normally make it myself, but since we’re guests here, let’s go see what kinds of accomodations we have. I’ll bet there’s something waiting in that cafeteria. Then we can do whatever you three would like.”

                                                    • (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard
                                                      (Nega) Gosalyn Waddlemeyer Mallard

                                                      Louie watched Scrooge in awe as he pulled out some coins and sorted them out easily. He was sniffing at them! Louie couldn't say he was very interested in money, but he loved the metallic smell they all had. 

                                                      He'd have to ask Scrooge about that later. 

                                                      Huey could scarcely believe it when he stepped forward and was handed the coin. No one had ever gifted him anything before, and he did not even mind that it looked old. Even more so when he was told where the coin had come from. That was the coolest thing ever! And now it was his, like Scrooge's Number One Dime! He was going to treasure it forever. If he could remember to, at least. Maybe if he got a locket for it, or a glass case... 

                                                      Dewey then came forward to accept his coin, his eyes wide in fascination. His face broke into a grin and tears sprang to his eyes. Her wasn't really his uncle, yet he acknowledged his interests more than their Uncle Donald ever did. Aside from his brothers, people used to say his inquisitiveness and eager to learn was never going to do him any good, but he knew he and his brothers were right for him to not give up, deep down! And if Uncle Scrooge encouraged it, who cares what everyone else thought! 

                                                      Louie was surprised himself when he was given a coin as well. He did not expect to be given anything... as long as his brothers had something he was content. He smiled at Uncle Scrooge as he clutched the coin to his chest, touched that the man he was starting to admire saw him that way. 

                                                      The gifts had apparently rendered the boys speechless, but when they snapped out of it, it was in unison. And so was their next course of action. 

                                                      "Thank you, Uncle Scrooge!" Group hug!! 

                                                      Just then, there was a knock on the door, and when told to come in, George looked into the room. 

                                                      "Oh, you're all awake! Excellent. We have breakfast served in the cafeteria! If you'd like to have them in your room, let me know. But none of us will bite if you join us!"