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Launchpad.

This is all for Launchpad.

The thoughts centering her, she exhaled, releasing her nerves with her breath, and transferred her gaze from the barrel of the gun aimed between her eyes to the wielder of the weapon. His beak was turned downwards in a frown, his blue eyes glittering dangerously in the moonlight. They were the same shade of blue as her father’s.

Of course they were! Negaduck and Darkwing were the same duck, after all, the most noticeable difference between the two being their morals. Then there was their voices and color schemes… 

Launchpad. Remember Launchpad. Stop being so ridiculous. Focus.

“I see you’ve been to that new discount weapon warehouse.” She nodded to the gun, the barrel still cold from the factory lines. 

“You think this is impressive, wait until I break out the bazooka that was half off,” he growled, eyes narrowing under his blood red fedora. 

“I’d rather not stick around that long if it’s all the same to you,” Gosalyn said, holding her hands up in surrender.

“I’ll make sure you won’t.” Negaduck pushed the gun forward, the barrel now pressed against Gosalyn’s forehead. Ignoring her instincts to grab for her bow and arrows or drop to the ground and kick Negaduck’s webbed feet out from under him, Gosalyn maintained eye contact with the villain. 

Launchpad.

“I’m not in the habit of getting captured…” Petering off, Gosalyn couldn’t think of how to end her sentence. Negaduck’s frown deepened in the silence. Oh, boy. He was probably offended that she mentioned she’d allowed him to capture her. Even if it was true.

What had she been thinking, considering this good idea? How was she supposed to explain her plan? Where was she supposed to start? With the truth?

The truth!

She’d never used that as a weapon before. Now was as good a time as any to try. Negaduck was eager to maintain his Public Enemy Number One slot; wouldn’t murdering St. Canard’s newest hero just be icing on the cake? 

Right. The truth. 

“What I meant to say was that I planned this little … meeting … between us."
Negaduck cocked a brow, not moving his weapon. But he hadn’t fired. Truth: 1 Lies: 0

“I wanted to talk to you."

“Did you now?” Negaduck growled. “Getting captured was the best way to have this 'discussion'?"

“How else would I guarantee uninterrupted time with St. Canard’s Public Enemy Number One?"

Negaduck’s eyes gleamed with self-congratulations at his unquestioned reign of terror over St. Canard. That was it! She needed to pander to his ego. Her father was insanely arrogant, Negaduck would be no different.

"I know you’re busy,” Gosalyn continued. "Besides, Darkwing would never have allowed me to meet you in my free time."

“Never mind Dipwing,” Negaduck snapped. “He’s hardly worth my time as it is.

What makes you think you’re so special?"

“I have a proposition.”

“You’re stalling. I bet you're just wasting time so Darkwing Dork can jump in and save you.” Negaduck glanced to the skies, eyes roaming through the cloudless night. “That plane is probably up there with the air-for-brains pilot waiting for some sort of signal…"

The mention of Launchpad, however unwittingly, spurred Gosalyn forward. “I wanted to see if you’d be interested in planning a villainous escapade to Duckburg.”

She was all for truth, but blurting her whole plan out like that. How uncouth. If she wanted to be the hero her father was, she would need to master the art of banter with the villains she came up against. They could go for days, throwing insults and puns at one another. Bantering seemed to elude Gosalyn completely. She had always swept in while her father and the villain argued and simply captured the bad guy. Never mind silly word games and clever puns. She had a job to do.

Darkwing always chastised her later, saying he had meant to do what she had done, or the arguing was all a part of his plan, but Gosalyn knew. He was stalling until he figured out exactly what to do.

No wonder Negaduck had called her on it.

Negaduck broke the silence, and Gosalyn’s thoughts, with, "Why shouldn't St. Canard keep my interest?"

At last! She had him considering the idea. 

"Of course! Why ruin a good thing? Your reign as Public Enemy Number One is untested. Why risk leaving to terrorize more citizens in a bigger city? I don't think they even have a list of public enemies in Duckburg with Gizmoduck as the local hero..."

“That sappy do-gooder!” Negaduck snarled, the grip on his gun tightening. Gosalyn’s breath hitched. Maybe she should convince him to drop his weapon before getting him riled up. 

“He wouldn’t know a true villain if he got hit in the face with one!” Negaduck continued to rampage. 

“And he’ll never know what it’s like to have any sort of challenge unless someone takes action. I thought that someone could be you."

Negaduck returned his attention to Gosalyn. She took advantage of his silent scrutiny.

“Duckburg’s entire city is run by one thing: McDuck Enterprises. There are major departments within this blanket corporation that you could wreak havoc with. Their power grid, for example, is all connected to one central location. Can you imagine what Megavolt, under your leadership, could do with the whole city’s power at his fingertips? And what about the water department? McDuck Enterprises would be running amok if you told Liquidator to redirect the water supply or switch clean for dirty water…”

“What is this?” Negaduck interrupted, pushing the gun further against Gosalyn’s head, causing her to lean back slightly and immediately raise her hands higher. “What are you up to?” 

“I’m just pointing out how easy it would be for someone of your talents to all but rule that city…” 

“This isn’t something a hero would typically do.” A manic look crept into Negaduck’s eyes. “Tell a super villain how to take down a city one step at a time.” 

Gosalyn focused on breathing normally. “It’s not like there’s nothing in this for me. Darkwing, Launchpad, and I would get to travel to Duckburg to fight all of you.” 

“Dipwing, the pilot, and you would be coming along?” 

“Gizmoduck couldn’t take one of you, never mind the Fearsome Five as a whole unit. Darkwing Duck and Quiverwing Quack would need to help him. Or maybe just take over and fight all of your ourselves.” 

Negaduck considered Gosalyn briefly. “It’s more of a change of venue? St. Canard become too pedestrian for you, hero?” 

“If you like,” Gosalyn offered. Negaduck observed her for a moment before glancing around at the city below and the towering skyscrapers surrounding them.

“I’m inclined to agree.” Negaduck dropped the gun to his side. He kept the weapon in his hand but his grip was considerably looser. Gosalyn released her breath in a rush, collapsing on the ground in her relief.

“Gotta say, Quiveriwing, I’m intrigued by your offer. But I’ll need something more than a change of scene to get me to travel all the way to Duckburg and commit a few felonies.” 

“What do you have in mind?” She was willing to give him just about anything if he wouldn’t point that gun at her again.

Stop! Her personal safety couldn’t be on the line here. She had to negotiate this as if there was nothing for her to gain. Couldn’t become desperate; desperate people always gave away too much.

“Scrooge McDuck’s gold. He won’t willingly part with any of it, so kidnapping those nephews is out of the question. But surely he won't miss a few thousand out of that money bin. Especially if he’s not present for the burglary and his alarms are all disabled.” 

Gosalyn shook her head, standing up on her feet. “Oh no. I refuse to get tangled up in that mess. Find someone else to disable Scrooge’s vault.” 

Negaduck rolled his eyes. “Not you! I would take care of the crime, all you would need to do is make sure Scrooge was out of the picture for, say, thirty minutes. And in return, I can arrange a few villains to commit some crimes at precise locations and specific times.” 

“Are you suggesting we… become agents … for Darkwing and the Fearsome Four?” 

Negaduck shrugged. “Why not? I can guarantee some success for Darkloser, which would give him a better track record than Gizmoduck, and boost his ego. And you can make sure everyone’s otherwise occupied when I sneak into the money bin and nab a little something for myself. Or see a painting that I think might look better in my home than in an art gallery … What do you say?” 

What did she say? It was tempting, to schedule guaranteed successes for her father. He had been insufferable lately, lamenting that there were no crimes to solve, no evildoers to thwart, and giving him successful missions would help to make him less irritating. Granted, if he ever found out that his daughter and hero-in-training had arranged his victories he would then feel inadequate, thinking he wasn’t really a hero, just running around playing the crime fighter while Gosalyn did all the heavy lifting. Then there was the obvious fact that she would be in league with her father’s most hated rival. She wasn’t sure which he would take worse, the blow to his ego or the betrayal of his only family member. 

And who could vouch for Negaduck, really? He could be lying. Gosalyn would hold her end of the bargain and keep everyone occupied while Negaduck played the burglar, but who could say he would reciprocate and give Darkwing the success and fame he promised? Did Negaduck even keep his word? Did he make promises? These were all questions Gosalyn needed answers to before risking not only her father’s reputation, but also a trip to Duckburg with such high stakes. 

“I need to know you won’t double cross me,” Gosalyn declared, crossing her arms. “So I say we do a small trial run here in St. Canard before running off to the Duckburg big leagues.” 

“Fine by me.” Negaduck holstered his gun and cocked an eyebrow at Gosalyn, daring her to do her worst. The fact that the weapon had been put away spoke volumes of how seriously Negaduck was considering this, but Gosalyn wanted more concrete proof.

“Quackerjack. He needs to rob the First National Bank three days from now around noon.” 

Negaduck sneered. “Child’s play.” 

Nodding, Gosalyn said, “Good. Make sure it happens then maybe we’ll have a deal.” She turned on her heel, swishing her cape around her dramatically. Which turned out to be a mistake because Negaduck grabbed ahold of the end and tugged at it.

Stumbling back, Gosalyn glared at Negaduck as he glared right back. “I need to know you can follow through too, do-gooder.” 

It was only fair. She would need to show Negaduck she could keep the heroes distracted. Gosalyn straightened up, fixing her cape, and nodded her consent.

“There’s a gun expo coming to town at the end of the week. I’m sure I’ll need to restock my collection by then.” 

“How many guns we talkin'?” 

“The number doesn’t matter. I’m taking what I want, pipsqueak.”

Gosalyn opened her beak to object to the name, but Negaduck didn’t allow her the interruption.

“I’ll show up around ten in the morning and peruse the merchandise. Half an hour later, they’ll mysteriously disappear. Darkchump can’t show up until I’ve made my escape and I can’t be suspected.” 

Her mind reeling, Gosalyn almost denied Negaduck his challenge. Keep her father away from a crime for half an hour at least? Who did Negaduck take her for? Granted, she had given him the hardest villain to schedule. Quackerjack was the wildest of wild cards, often getting distracted mid-caper and altering his crime to fit his new needs.

And what was a test supposed to be if it wasn’t challenging?

Gosalyn scoffed at Negaduck’s demands. “Is that all you’ve got?” He didn’t seem convinced of her confidence and grinned at her maliciously. 

“Hold up your end of the bargain, Quiverwing, or Duckburg will only ever be a pipe dream.” 

“I will if you will, Negaduck.” 

“You’ll be hearing from me, or should I say from Quackerbrains, on Wednesday.” 

“Make room in your gun collection in your free time.” 

Negaduck’s grin grew. “This may be the start of a hateful relationship.” That said, the caped convict took off, jumping from the roof and using his cape as a parachute to land safely on his motorbike. With a rev of the engine, Negaduck sped down the street making sure to blaze through all the red lights on his way. 

Sighing, Gosalyn walked over to the side of the rooftop and shouldered her quiver and bow from where Negaduck had kicked them during their scuffle. Had she really just made a deal with St. Canard’s Public Enemy Number One? How was she supposed to go home and act like everything was normal when she was in cahoots with her father’s most fearsome foe? 

She would have to find a way or else Duckburg was out of the question and she refused to do that to Launchpad. The pilot deserved to see his old employer and catch up with his old friends and Gosalyn was determined to give it to him.

Even if it did mean being in league with Negaduck.
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