The fire engines screeched down the street past the Pond, heading for the Mall. Wildwing, Duke, Mallory, Tanya, Grin, and Jadestar, watched their progression with a morbid interest.
"Think it was the Saurians?" Duke asked. Tanya sniffed.
"Who knows? Probably not. A gas leak or something." She turned and went back inside. The others followed until it was just Duke and Wildwing outside.
Wildwing glanced to Duke. "I wonder where Nosedive is."
Duke shrugged. "Out." he offered. Wildwing chuckled, and returned to the hockey practice.
Duke stayed outside the Pond, leaning against the wall, counting fire engines, ambulances and police cars idly. He could see the smoke rising over the buildings.
Jumping when a pale hand tapped his shoulder, Duke turned to find Jadestar looking up at him. "Wing wants you in for practice. He said ‘surely he’s seen enough explosions for one lifetime!’." She put her hands on her hips and mimicked him. Duke gave a half smile.
"Yeah, you can tell him I’ll be there in a minute." Jadestar turned to go, but he stopped her. "Where’s Nosedive?"
Jadestar paused. "He went to buy a CD." she told him after a moment’s thought.
Duke nodded. "Yeah…Okay, I’m coming…"
"Can you hear me?" The plaintive female voice asked the air desperately. "Please, someone, anyone…I’m trapped….Help me…" The rubble trapped her pleas for help from the outside, but the echoed through old pipes and enclosed spaces within the destroyed building. "It’s dark…I can’t move…Please…"
Nosedive leaned against the table inside the shop-come-disco. "Is that guy dancing, or should I direct him to the bathroom?" The teen standing next to him grinned. Nosedive stood up properly. "Speaking of which…" He started to move away, then paused. "Can you smell gas?"
The brown haired boy shook his head. "Nope."
Nosedive sniffed for a moment, then shrugged. "Guess it’s time to change my underwear." He walked off, absently dusting a fine layer of powder off his jacket.
"Can you hear me?"
Nosedive halted in his tracks, and listened. The loud music started to fade into a lost-sounding voice.
"I’m trapped…I can’t move. Please answer, help me, talk to me…"
He was confused. He looked down and slowly dusted at the thick layer of plaster dust that covered him from head to foot.
"Can you hear me…?"
Jadestar flipped open her comm as Mookie beeped her. "Hey Mook!"
"Like, hi Jade! Say, can you get Nosedive for me? I can’t get his comm for some, like, reason."
"So you decided to call second best." Jadestar joked. "Sorry, he’s not here." She suddenly frowned. "His comm isn’t working?"
"Dude, it’s like, totally not responding!"
"Oh. Thanks Mook…Bye." Jadestar sat in thought for awhile, then went to find Tanya.
"Kiddo?" Duke looked up from Drake One as Jadestar entered, looking worried.
"Hi Duke. Since Tanya’s not here, can you get Nosedive’s comm signal for me?"
"Sure." Duke tapped a few buttons, and frowned. "It’s not there."
Jadestar sucked absently on the point of her finger. "Oh…His comm wasn’t working…He’s been gone for a long time."
The grey duck looked at her sharply. "Do you think something’s wrong?"
She was about to answer when the portable TV played a piece of dramatic music. "We take you live to the southern end of the Anaheim Megamall, where a five storey building has blown up in a gas leak. Much of the building was deserted, but the floor level, the Compact Disco, was in the middle of a promotional party. Rescuers are working hard…"
Jadestar stared at the television. "Do you think he’s in there?" she asked him softly. Duke shook his head.
"I wouldn’t think so. He’s probably just out showing up a bunch of kids at street hockey. And his comm breaks down regularly cause he’s so rough on it. Either that, or he’s turned it off so we can’t come and tell him to leave the poor humans alone."
Jadestar smiled. "You’re right. I guess Wildwing’s worrying is genetic, huh?"
Duke grinned. "Guess so."
Nosedive shifted uncomfortably, and blinked awake. He was honestly surprised when he realised he was surrounded by four walls of rubble. "Now *that’s* a party…"
"Hello? I can hear you talking!"
Nosedive ignored the voice, and irritably rubbed at his head. "I should be used to concussion by now." He started pushing pieces of fallen rock off him, wincing as he removed a large clump of cement from his left foot.
"Hello? Hello? I can hear you moving around…"
The young duck finally paid attention to the voice. "Hi. Sorry, thought you were my imagination…Had a bump on the head. Wasn’t sure. Where are you?"
"I don’t know…It’s dark…" The voice started to cry. "I can’t feel my legs…"
Nosedive shifted along on his bottom towards a pile of rocks that the voice was coming from. "Well…Uh…Hey, I can never feel my legs when I wake up. Is feeling your legs such a great experience anyway?" He paused, and laughed a little. "And, as Duke would probably comment right now, if so, can I feel them too? That was a joke, not a come-on." he added hastily. "How are you feeling apart from that?"
"I hurt…My head’s spinning…It’s hard to breathe."
Nosedive bit his bottom beak, then made an effort to look cheery. "See? It is a party!" She laughed painfully, and he smiled slightly. "There, that’s better. You sound really close…" He started pulling at the pile. Plaster and rubble groaned.
"Don’t! It’ll cave in on me!"
"No, you can’t be so far under…" He kept trying to pull at it, but a small rock fell on his foot. "Ah…" he gasped, and sat back. "Okay, idea. We just sit back and wait it out. I mean…The company’s good. We have all the rubble we can eat…"
"You make it sound fun."
"Hey, I wouldn’t have come to this explosion if I hadn’t heard good things." He lapsed into silence, then started to try and take off his shoe. He groaned involuntarily, and she picked up on it.
"Are you okay?"
"My right foot’s fine. My right foot is swell, sweet and sexy. In fact, it’s so good, I can nearly see it passing smug glances at my left."
"What about your left?"
"Let’s talk more about my right." he kidded.
"Take your shoe off."
"I have this thing about removing footwear when I can hear my foot squelch."
Jadestar poked at her lunch nervously. Grin and Duke looked equally uneasy. Wildwing was catching it, and Tanya was busy eating. Mallory sighed, and gave up trying to start a conversation.
The girl turned to Duke in a sudden action. "I’m sure he’s in there."
"What, you have some telepathic bond with him?"
Jadestar looked scornful. "Don’t be silly. It’s just that all the facts add up."
Tanya, Wildwing and Mallory all broke in at once. "What facts?!"
Duke looked up. "She thinks Nosedive was in the CD place that blew up."
Mallory was cautious. "What makes you think that, Jade?"
Jadestar sighed. "He was going to a CD shop. He’s not back. His comm isn’t working. It’s possible to explain them all away, but don’t you think it’s a bit of a big coincidence?"
Wildwing nodded slowly. "She has a point." he said lowly. His little sister looked gratified.
"Now can we do something about it?"
"You sound familiar…" the voice muttered.
"You watch hockey?"
"No. Hockey…Are you Nosedive Flashblade?"
"I go to your school. Lynda Day."
Nosedive was surprised. "Lynda Day? The brunette with the walk?!"
Lynda laughed. "I do have brown hair…"
"Do you have any idea what your hips are doing to the population?! I got lost one day following them!" He grinned. "It’s too bad we had to meet like this…"
"Yeah…" They both fell silent for awhile. "Nosedive?"
"Still here. Not going anywhere."
"Keep talking. It gets so lonely when you’re quiet…"
Nosedive cleared his throat. "You know, a lot of people say that. Nosedive, you’re way too quiet and shy…You need to speak up more…" He stopped again. "You okay?"
"No. Keep talking."
"Aww, man, you must be really close! I can hear you well! Kinda hollow, but close." He started pulling at the rubble. A few rocks skittered down from the roof, but he kept going.
"Nosedive? Nosedive? I don’t think you’re close…"
"No, I gotta be. I…" He trailed off when he came across a pipe buried underneath the pile. He looked disbelieving. "Lynda, say something…"
Her voice clearly came from the pipe. Nosedive closed his eyes for a moment, and swallowed hard. "I think you’re right. You are a long way down."
"Please…Can you keep talking?" Lynda was sounding fainter now.
"I can keep talking forever. How long can you keep listening?"
There was a slight pause, then she answered. "For the rest of my life."
The Ducks were all ready to go when Tanya called them back to Drake One, where she’d started monitoring the police radio band. "Who couldn’t you shut up even by dropping five stories on him?"
"Nosedive." was the answer from everyone. They crowded around.
"We can hear someone moving around and talking…"
Jadestar turned pale. "I was right! He’s in there!"
Wildwing put a hand on her shoulder. "But he’s okay. He’s talking and moving around."
"But he’s in there!"
Mallory broke in. "Dive’s head is as tough as concrete, he’s fine."
"He seems to have stopped talking, but he’s still moving around. We’re nearly through…"
Nosedive looked up at the roof dully. "You’re a little late guys. You missed a really nice girl." He waited quietly, sitting leaning against a thick concrete pylon, looking down. He absently started brushing the plaster dust off his jacket.
Nosedive was lying in the Sick Bay, foot newly set in a cast. Wildwing and Jadestar were there with him.
"We’re sorry we couldn’t get you out of the hospital earlier." Wildwing apologised. "They wouldn’t let us through. Mallory made quiet a fuss."
Nosedive grinned. "I know. I heard her two floors up."
Their sister smiled. "Same old Dive." she said fondly. He grew serious.
"Maybe." There was a long quiet, and he continued. "They got her out eventually. She bled to death while I was talking to her." He looked up at them both. "How is that right? I mean…We never spoke at school, so I guess I never really met her, but it seems like I’ve known her…" Here he paused.
"For years?" Wildwing supplied.
"Forever?" Jadestar tried to help him too.
Nosedive turned his attention to the ceiling for a moment, then he glanced back at the two standing over him. "For the rest of my life."
Story Copyright Rachel Baker ’99. Jadestar Copyright Rachel Baker ’99. All other characters © Disney, and used without permission.
Author’s Note-Yes, this whole story is a Mighty Ducks parody of the British children’s drama ‘Press Gang’. Why do you think the girl was called Lynda Day? ;)