The room was fairly large, with a long rectangular table and several seats, a couch and one wooden door. Tanya along with Hacker and Marri were talking softly on one side of the table while Grin listened in on what Melissa and Ace had to say. Krysta stood by the window, staring off into space.
"Are you okay?" Dee asked, placing a hand on Nyre's shoulder as she sat down on the couch, a thoughtful look on her childlike face. "You've been going through those files since we got here. And you've been avoiding any way to approach Wildwing. I'd assume something's up."
Nyre sighed and closed the laptop. "I just... I just don't know what to do. The only one who can actually comfort him right now, losing Dive and the others to Dragaunus, is Drake." She glanced up to watch the two leaders talking softly as they leaned on the wall. "And besides, who am I to comfort him? As far as he knows, I technically lied about who I am, to him, to Dive and to the others."
"No you didn't." Dee said, hugging her foster sister's arm. "You didn't tell them everything, but you didn't lie. And besides, if you have to blame anyone, it's Drake. How many times did you want to tell them? I've been counting and I've lost count on three million and fifty something." Nyre smiled slightly and Dee smiled back. "Here's your chance." And she left.
"Hey." Nyre glanced up and saw Wildwing smile down at her. "Is this seat taken?"
"No." She moved to make room. "So, how's the arm and everything else?"
"Fine." He replied and leaned on the backrest. He turned his attention to the closed navy blue laptop. "You've been tinkering with that for the past half-hour."
"Just edgy, I guess." She sighed. "I'm sorry about Dive. Had we known earlier..." He cut her off by placing a finger on her lips. "Don't blame yourself, Drake told me you have a tendency to do that, being second in command and field captain at times." She blushed and looked away.
"I've been taught hard lessons in responsibility." She explained softly and opened the mini-computer, and booting a file. A spinning icon of the teams' logo blinked on screen and Nyre shut it off, bowing her head. "It's something I got off the net."
"I see." Wildwing nodded and peered over.
Just then, Captain Klegghorn entered the room and approached Nyre. "He's in his cell. I'll take you but you can only bring four others with you, okay?" Nyre nodded and motioned for Hacker and Drake to follow, Krysta came as well. For the fourth Nyre made her decision quick and took Wildwing's hand in hers leading him outside.
* * *
"You jerk!" Hacker and Drake held Krysta back as she lashed out at the man in question. He was tall, a little shorter than Wildwing, with reddish-blond hair and a pair of pale green eyes. He smiled wryly as he watched the older woman's reaction. "So you were the reason Malcolm ended up in the hospital!"
"And so she realizes." He mocked her, raising an eyebrow. He turned murderous gazes to Wildwing and then to Klegghorn, "And you said you'd rather choke on your doughnut than team up with these guys, bit of a hypocrite, aren't we, captain." His green eyes flashed.
"That is none of your business, you eel." Nyre stepped forward and grabbed the guy's collar. "Kevers, you shape up or ship out, we'll drop the charges if you give us the location to where that blasted lizard is!"
"Aww, c'mon princess, what's wrong with the Lord Dragaunus ruling the world, huh? He's gonna make things better." He smiled as he gave Nyre a sort of once over. She let go of his collar and sent a hard slap across his face.
"Do you even know what he's already done?" Wildwing asked from where he stood. Ex-officer Kevers glanced to the duck and snorted. "He's destroyed what we knew as home, enslaved the people we cared for. We can't allow him to do the same to this planet."
"Oh, real heroic. Why don't you just go ahead and play your hockey game? That's what you do best." He mocked Wildwing, he smiled wryly and added one more. "Oh, that's not the only thing, I bet you'd be better as dinner on a silver platter."
Wildwing turned beet red under his feathers, which got a malicious laugh out of the man seated before the group. "Get him outta here!" The two officers behind the man dragged him out of the room. Krysta had calmed down and stayed quiet as Hacker squeezed her shoulders. Wildwing rubbed his temple and sighed. Officer Klegghorn walked over. "I'll bring him back in for questioning later." And left the room quietly.
"Nyre," Drake said softly, "we'll be outside if you need us." And the three other humans left.
Nyre sighed and walked over to Wildwing who'd now removed the Mask and kept his eyes downcast. "Wing," She pulled one had into her own and touched his cheek gently.
He turned his attention to her and smiled weakly. "I guess those insults always get to me."
"Hey, that guy was a total idiot. He's just scum. Don't mind him. Look, I'll be a little harder later, just keep your cool, it doesn't help that he can insult you and you'll take it just like that." She smiled, "Smile, please! Standing on tiptoe is killing me!" She teased.
Windwing turned red once more as Nyre stopped standing on her toes. "Sorry." He said, remembering how tiny the girl was. "You're sixteen, right? What's your height anyway?"
Nyre turned slightly pink. "Don't ask." He cocked an eyebrow. "...Four feet, eleven inches."
"Got it from my mom." Nyre explained. "It's not my fault. Check the genetics."
He laughed and touched her cheek. "Thanks Nyre. You're a real friend."
"Sure, anytime." Nyre whispered as the duck went to the door to call back the captain and the other two humans. "A friend. That's all I'll ever be."
* * *
"Man this stinks," Nosedive said as he tried to get a good position while having his hands tied in chains behind his back.
"Relax kid. You ain't the only one with a problem."
"Shut up Duke," Mal hissed, "I'm tryin' to sleep."
"Sorry sweetheart." The older duck silenced for a moment. "Hope the guys are doin' somethin' 'bout this arrangement."
* * *
"For the last TIME! WHERE?!?!" Nyre's voice level heightened. Klegghorn winced, Krysta and Hacker turned away, trying hard not to laugh and Wildwing and Drake covered their mouths trying to hide developing smiles of amusement.
Kevers was pale and sweat trickled down the side of his face as the sixteen-year-old held her pen at his throat. Her eyes, first kind and soft when he saw them minutes ago were now flashing with a sort of white light. He was smart enough to know that she meant business.
He swallowed, "The abandoned warehouse on the other side of town. That's the only thing I know, they wouldn't let me anywhere near their ship. Other from that I dunno."
Nyre smiled and backed off, "Thank you." She turned to Klegghorn and smiled sweetly, "you can reel him in."
"What?!" Kevers reacted. "You said you'd let me loose!"
"If you had cooperated the first time. We tried playing nice, you didn't. Your loss."
The three officers left with the Ducks' captain, and the four members of STROBE following close behind. As the five entered the main room once more, Wildwing smiled and nodded, "Let's rock!"
* * *
Nosedive's head shot up. What the hell is going on? He thought. Mallory and Duke glanced up as well noticing the sounds coming from outside and above. It sounded as if something or someone was being thrown around.
Quick footsteps rang out in the still air and then stopped abruptly to what seemed as outside their cell. "Take down that door now!" Nosedive recognized that voice. The door came crashing down, and in its place stood Wildwing, Grin, Tanya and a few other figures Nosedive failed to recognize due to the shadows. "Hacker, Ace, Dee, Tanya, untie them quick!" Wildwing ordered as Grin ran back into the corridor and a crunching sound was heard.
"Hack! Ace! Dee! What the heck is going on here?" Nosedive grabbed the blonde's arm and Hacker looked at his friend. "We're bustin' you out. Explain later. C'mon, we need every able hand." He tossed the pucklauncher into the duck's hand.
"I'm going to check the other rooms." A female voice spoke. Nosedive glanced up to see Nyre in a black and blue bodyarmor. Her usually loose hair was now tied back away from her face in a ponytail and in her left hand was a launcher.
"Be careful, Angel." Wildwing nodded and she ran off.
"Wing, what's going on?" Dive asked as he appeared at his brother's side.
"Good to see you too Dive, but now let's rock! GO! You all know what to do! Duke, Dive with me, Mal go with Tanya!" They scattered. Grin took on his share of the drones; Tanya and Dee charged for the Chameleon and pinned him on the wall. Mallory and the other two humans attacked Seige.
"You accursed ducks!" Dragaunus stepped into view.
"Go!" And Wildwing, Duke and Dive rammed him, he fell to the other end of the room, but they fell back at the impact of his tail.
"Oh no!" Tanya and Dee backed as the Chameleon turned into a slippery eel and escaped from their grasp. He then transformed into a large robot and knocked them to the side.
"Heads up Chameleon!" A puck hit the back of the green lizard's head and he returned to his regular form. "Marri, Mel, help Tanya and Dee."
Mallory looked up and smiled broadly. "DRAKE!" Her smile vanished at the sight of Seige coming from behind to hit the human. "DRAKE DUCK!" Drake saw the urgency in her eyes and did so and Mal hit Seige with several hard pucks.
"Give it up Draggy-boy!" Duke said as he slashed several drones to bits.
"Never! Retreat!" And in an instant, the Saurians were gone.
"We'll I guess we crashed this party." Nosedive smiled and helped Hacker get out Ace from under a fried drone. "You can say that again." The human boy smiled as he sat down on the floor, exhausted. "Remind me never to go to a party with you guys." He joked and Hacker and Dive high-fived.
"Let's go then guys." Tanya put in, brushing off the dust on her pants.
"Drake!" Mallory got up and ran over to him, giving the human a long kiss.
The others laughed as Mal turned completely out of character. "Enough kiddies." Duke and Melissa pulled the two apart. Mal realized her actions and turned bright red. "Let's go home."
"Wait." All eyes turned to a pale-faced Dee. "Where's Nyre?"
* * *
"It is useless to run human!" Nyre heard Wraith's voice boom. She ducked behind some crates and breathed. This guy doesn't give up. She ran to a different location and had her arm singed by a fireball. "Surrender now child!"
Ouch. She touched the burn and grimaced. "Never you old bag of bones!" She called back and shot a puck. He vanished for a moment and then reappeared as the puck passed. She glanced around and caught sight of a steel ladder leading to the higher portion of the warehouse. If I could just... GO!
Nyre broke into a run and quickly climbed the ladder. When she was near to the top, Wraith suddenly appeared and pulled his scaly hand back, creating a fireball. "Farewell, you wretched human," he sneered.
"Nyre!" She heard someone scream and a blast went off. Wraith disappeared, but the ball of fire didn't, forcing Nyre to let go. She screamed as she felt herself fall.
"Nyre!!!" Dee cried out.
"NO!" That was Drake.
So this is it. Nyre closed her eyes, everything seemed to slow down. If only I could've... Wildwing. I wish....
"Got you." A male voice came to her ears. The impact never came and Nyre found herself wrapped in someone's arms. "Thank the stars..." She was pulled closer into the person's arms. "I thought... No... I had to make it." Nyre pulled back and gazed into familiar eyes. Wildwing's eyes. "I couldn't let you die like that. You okay Angel?"
She nodded and he let her stand on her own two feet. "Thank you." She managed to get out.
"NYRE!" another person hugged her tight. Lavender eyes were brimmed with tears. "Thank the Lord you're okay." Dee began to sob. Nyre hugged her back and whispered soft, comforting words.
"She's okay." Wildwing said as the rest of the team gathered around. He placed a hand on Nyre's shoulder and smiled, "Let's go home."
* * *
"This is GREAT!"
"Oh no..." Dive covered his face with a pillow.
"Phil, we don't need this. The public doesn't have to know." Wildwing was trying to talk Phil out of an interview. Marri ans Melissa smirked and spoke among themselves. "We don't want it, Phil!"
"C'mon boobies!" The plump manager of the ducks tried to convince them otherwise.
"No, Phil." The other five ducks replied in unison.
Phil threw his hands in the air and sighed. "Okay, no interview, but at least make up for the photo sessions you've missed." A collective groan sounded out. "Hey! What's wrong with pictures? You always hate it where others don't!"
"I think I know why, Phil." All eyes turned to Nyre. She leaned lazily on the doorframe, her hair still wet as she dried it with a hand towel. She put the towel aside and fixed the sleeves of her blouse and sat on her end of the couch.
"Hey, you're that singer aren't you?"
"Yup. Call me Nyre."
"Okay Nyre. Then, what's the problem?"
"You make them wear clothes that look too ridiculous." Nyre said off-handedly as she used the nail buffer. "Just because they're from another planet, another universe for a whole matter doesn't mean they have to dress like it." Mallory looked over from what she was doing. This was getting interesting. The kid had a point.
Nyre continued. "I looked over those magazines and I have only one comment, oh so great one." Phil raised an eyebrow. "Scarcity of the pictures will make fans wants more. And making them dress in designer clothes instead of those weird pieces of cloth you have sewn together make the pictures more... how do you say, appreciating?"
Light bulb went up in the manager's head and he quickly rushed out of the room. "Thanks, Nyre!"
"What have you gotten us into?" Duke and Nosedive asked, faces in a grimace.
Nyre smiled and left, waving a hand. "Trust me."
* * *
"Oooh!" Mal cooed as she stood in front of the mirror, turning and appreciating the nice sporty outfit. "I like! What's the brand?" She asked Phil. The manager smiled, for once they didn't complain!
"I think it's Tommy Hilfiger," Nyre supplied from the dressing room. She wasn't done yet.
"Phil, now this is what I call clothes!" Duke and Grin walked up to him; both dressed in stylish jackets and slacks from Armani.
"Check me out man!" The attention turned to Nosedive who wore a pair of black cargo pants, rubber shoes and a muscle shirt from Nike. "Nice Dive!" Came Wildwing's voice as he stepped out in a sports jacket, a pair of nice looking navy blue corduroy pants and a pair of boots.
"Speak for yourself bro!" the two high-fived.
"Yo! Divey-o!" Hacker and Ace came out using jerseys and pants of their own.
"This was a terrific idea." Tanya stepped out using a thin satin, long-sleeved blouse and a pair of flare pants and sandals. "I'll say." The twins, Drake, and Dee came as well wearing clothing that could be used during parties. They looked very up to date!
"Nice out fit Tanya, Dee, but where's Nyre?" Krysta smiled. She was helping with the photography of the whole shoot.
"Oh my...." Drake cocked an eyebrow, Dee beamed and the rest clapped in appreciation as their petite young friend walked out of her dressing room in a short, black velvet, jumper-minidress with a thin cream blouse underneath and a pair of classy, white sandals.
"Isn't that a tad bit too short?" Wildwing commented, flushing a light pink under his feathers.
"For Nyre, I seriously doubt!" Tanya teased and the girl turned a bright red.
"Tanya..." she whined softly and grabbed Dee and proceeded to the studio.
"What's up Wildwing?"
"Hey Nyre! I want a pose with you!" Nosedive rushed after the two girls.
"The boy's enthusiasm has nonetheless grown." Grin noted.
"You can say that again." Tanya agreed as the two walked alongside the twins and Mallory.
"I have a feeling that this time, I'm gonna enjoy this photo shoot!" Mal laughed as the rest followed.
The shoot went fine; it was much more enjoyable than what the ducks assumed it would be. And now in their hearts and minds they knew they'd gained new friends to aid them against Dragaunus.