"Címon Joan." Brian called to the young girl.
With a puzzled glance in Dukeís direction, she trotted over to him.
"Why arenít they landing?" Kit asked.
"They're looking for those nuclear bases." Firesky replied. She, Kit and Duke were standing next to the corral fence, watching the Raptor roar over the state. Duke glanced back at Brian and Joan, who were heading for the barn, they stared at Firesky.
"Lemme guess, you're reading their minds."
The young female duck nodded. "And Dragaunus is ticked! He's not gonna find anythin' 'round here. We'd better check in wit da boss though." She flipped open her com, ignoring the noise of the over head in flight jumbo jet x3 and said, "hey Wing, we've got lizard control problem. They're looking for those nuclear bases."
"Firesky! Why in the heck aren't you human?! Now everyone'll know!" Wildwing went on for some time. Right around the point he started repeating himself, Firesky cut in.
"Hold it! I'm hearing the same things twice! Wing, ya gotta calm down. Anyway, the iguanas are just flying over right now, but itíll get worse. Oops, here comes Joan." Firesky heard footsteps behind her and flipped shut the com.
"What was that all about?" The black-haired girl asked as she wiped her hands on her jeans.
"Nuttin'." Duke replied, glancing at Kit and Firesky.
"Is it dinner time or is my internal clock on London time?" Firesky asked.
"It's dinner time."
"So whadda we have?" Kit asked.
"How 'bout taco bell?" Duke suggested.
"No Chinese." Firesky retorted.
"ick! Meat! I say we do vegetarian." Kit gagged.
"Yuck!" Firesky made a face.
"Hey guys, just order what ya want ok? Joan, what da ya want?" Brian cut in.
"Ya really wanna know?"
"How else do I order?í
"Why fast food?" Duke asked.
"So whaddaya call Taco Bell, Mr. Burrito Breath?!" Joan retorted, surprised at herself. Duke opened his mouth to say something, then shut it and glared at Joan.
" She got ya there Duke." Brian chuckled.
20 minutes later the five were sitting in the living room. Firesky and Duke were tormenting Kit with their meat and Joan was laughing, watching them.
"C'mon Kit. It's good." Firesky waved a piece of Mongolian beef at her.
"Nope." Kit glared back.
"Shoot!" Duke had just spilled his fried beans on the floor.
"Don't try and balance everyth'n on one leg then." Joan told him around a mouthful of food.
Duke glared briefly at her then started mopping up the mess. Suddenly, his com beeped. "Yea?" He flipped it open.
"You guys need ta get back right away, Shiska and Nastinya are up ta something."
"Hey, why da ya need me? I'm not specializing in magic, only burglary." Duke asked.
"Duke." Wildwing warned.
"Ok ok." Duke flipped his com shut and looked at Firesky and Kit, "we gotta be back at the Pond in less then 5 minutes."
Firesky nodded. "The day Shiska is gone is the day I throw a one duck parade down main street." The three disappeared.
Joan stared at the spots where they had been , shook her head and pinched herself. "Hooo boy."
"Shoulda warned ya. They do that a lot." Brian told her as he started cleaning up the Styrofoam plates.
Joan bent to help him and soon the living room was clean againÖ except for the beans squashed into the carpet by Duke.
Brian glanced at the clock, nine. Joan was looking sleepy. "Joan, you'd better go ta bed." He told her.
The tired girl didn't respond. She was asleep on the couch.
Brian sighed. He remembered the times Kit had done that when she stayed up to watch that last cartoon.
Walking over to the easy chair, he grabbed the horse blanket. On his way to cover Joan with it, he noticed a small blue disk on the floor. Picking it up, he turned it over and stuck it on the TV, then put the horse blanket over Joan and left the room, turning out the lamp as he went.
In the half-gloom there was a flash of light and in the blue disk's place stood a tall cat-creature. Her markings were that of a tiger, and she moved with the silence of long practice. To herself she hissed, "this is my first forming in ages, must make the best of it."
Walking over to Joan, the black clad girl stared at the human, "you have changed much." She whispered.
Joan rolled over, still asleep. "Not much." The cat girl shook her head and slunk out of the room.
"Oh, my gosh!" Joan sat up straight. Where was she? And what was with that crazy dream? Then she realized, "I can't believe I fell asleep on the couch!" She thonked herself on the head." First day of work and I fall asleep on da couch! Oh, cool horse blanket." She fingered the grey cloth, using one of her usual subject changes.
She didn't notice the disk on the TV glint, even though there was no light hitting it.
With a yawn, Joan got up and headed for the kitchen. Brian looked up from a bowl of cereal, "oh hello. You fell asleep on the couch last night."
"Yup, where'd ya get the horse blanket?" Joan plunked herself down across from him and grabbed one of the bowls sitting on the table.
Brian snorted, "Phuh! You fall asleep on the couch, someone walks around here all night, and you asked where I got a horse blanket?!"
Joan glared at him. "Hey, I was just wondering! Someone was walking around?"
"Yea, all I heard was the floorboards creaking."
"Hmmm." Joan chewed thoughtfully until Brian said, "oh yea, Kit called, she said Spiritsongís yours now."
Cereal flew across the room. "Whaaaaaaaaaat!" Joan screeched.
Brian nodded, "yup. Heís yours."
"Bu... bu... but why?"
"Well, she already has Corky ta take care of, and she and Spirit didn't get along too well anyway. He needs exercise."
"Heh, kinda my payment in advance huh?" Joan leaned back.
"Yup, now go out and start riding him. Later I'll give ya a list o stuff ta do round here."
Joan nodded and headed for the door.
She walked into the tack room to be bombarded with water balloons. The blond and brunette holding the bucket winced, "oops, heh, we thought ya were someone else."
"Oh did you now?" Joan asked, shoulders hunched. She grabbed two balloons and tossed them at the two.
They landed right on target. "Oops, heh, no offense, but aren't ya a little wet?"
Just then a tall, willowy blond in designer clothes walked in. "Ug, that's disgusting." She made a face.
Joan looked at the blond and the brunette, "Disgusting, eh? Disgust this!" So saying, she picked up a balloon and plopped it right on top of the girl's head.
"Eeeeeeeeeee!" She screeched.
"I think I'm gonna like ya." The blond guy told Joan.
"Riiiight." Joan replied. Brian walked in just then. "What in the--!"
"She got me!" The tall girl said pointing at Joan.
"Joan." Brian looked at her.
"She asked for it!" The girl replied.
"She probably did, but still, her dad's really rich and he can sue me." Brian told her.
"Sure, on what evidence?" The blond asked.
"Guys, just go tack up OK?" Brian told them.
Joan was leading Spiritsong out of the barn when Kit, Firesky and Soar showed up in their duck forms. Joan pulled up short. "Hey Fire!"
The three looked at her and waved.
Soar split off from the others as they headed into the house. Before he got to her though, a large red beach ball with scales and a tail appeared with a haze of green light.