Authors Note: A lot of people are going to be annoyed with the first chapter of this tale. If so, good! That means I'm doing my job! I know this is confusing (especially that bit about the "Wild Hunt", what the heck was that?), but it's all leading somewhere, really! So bear with me and just enjoy this stuff, okay? Thanx.-- End Author's Note.


By Crow

Chapter Two

"Aren't you a bit nervous, walking out in the open like this?"

Mallory looked at Raye expectantly, waiting for her answer. The younger woman shrugged.

"I suppose I ought to be, but no, not really. I don't remember what happened yesterday, but I have a feeling the saurians won't be attacking so quickly again. 'Sides, I think they're going to be busy searching for Chameleon. Draganus doesn't strike me as the type to just let him go without punishment."

"No, I guess not. But they will be back."

"I know." That was all she said, so Mallory let it drop for the time being. Besides, she noticed a shoe sale, and wanted to go take a look. Raye followed, not with as much enthusiasm as Mal, though, as she was more interested in taking in the sites. The last time she's seen anything truly civilized was.....too long ago, she realized. She felt like some stupid tourist, and tried to look less conspicuous. That was hard though, being the a stranger in a strange place. She was getting odd looks from the human shoppers, and hurried to catch up with Mallory. She wasn't sure she really liked humans yet.

"Yo! Mal! Babe!"

Mallory groaned as two young humans approached them. One was male and had a shock of red hair and a beer gut. The other was female, petite, and had spiky purple hair.

"Thrash, Mookie, don't you two have a comic store to run or something?"

Thrash and Mookie? Oh, yes, from the theater. She hadn't seen them in broad daylight till now.

"Nah, like, it's not open yet. 'Sup, Raye?"


"Mal-Mal showin' you the ropes? Why ain't you with 'Dive?" Thrash asked.

"Because his caffeine level just rocketed to heights previously unknown to civilization," Mallory informed him before Raye could answer. "Why don't you go get another nose piercing, okay?"

"Aw, go stuff it, Mal-Mal. Wanna come with us, Raye? We're opening up soon...." Mookie offered.

Raye glanced at Mallory, then shook her head.

"Thanks, but no. I just got here, and I need some clothes, then I have to get back to build an arm."

"Thass cool. Don't be a stranger, then. See ya 'round, Mal-Mal...."

The two left, and Mallory muttered once they were out of range, "God, I hate those two!"


"Thanks for the eats, Miz Robbinson, but I gotta get a move on, if ya get my meaning....."

'Leon' had the feeling she was going to be a hard one to shake. Sue was a nice old lady, but he had to keep moving if he was going to stay safe from Draganus. Mrs. Robbinson sighed, and he felt a cold grip in his gut. He knew this wouldn't be easy. An old lady, of all people....

"And here my beautiful niece was coming to visit! I'm sure she could offer you a job, being in charge of a huge computer engineering company or whatever it is..."

"Say wuh.....Did you take stupid pills this morning? I don't want a job!"

Sue looked surprised.

"Are you sure? I mean, since you're no longe working for the Overlord and all, surely you should be looking for another means of production. Maybe you can go into lab-testing, I'm sure they're looking for new subjects..."

'Leon' went pale.

"What....? Aw shneikees........."

'Leon' dived for the door, only to find Wraith waiting on the other end. The tall sorcerer grinned maliciously.

"Hello, Chameleon. We miss you."

"No. No. No." Chameleon backed away and turned to see Spectre shape back to his true form, grinning in similar fashion. Siege came out of the kitchen, holding the real Mrs. Robbinson hostage. She looked indignant, and scared, though she hid it well. The English have to keep their image, after all.

Siege was holding a gun to her head.

"Really, 'Leon', treason is bad, but hiding behind little old ladies is just pathetic! It was hard enough tracking you after you scrambled your 'porter, but having to stoop to this level...."

"No. No......Jus' let'er go, okay Siege? This doesn't have anyt'ing t' do with her...."

"Aw, that's sweet. Maybe I should put a bullet through her head. Whattaya think, Wraith?"

"As you wish."


The dark saurian grinned.

"Wait! Uh...I need to tell you something. Real important. Yeah."

The three saurians laughed, and Siege suddenly shoved Sue at him.

"Even better! That's really sad, you know. Fine, you can die together. Draganus doesn't even want to see it. Told us to get the job done and get back. Say goodbye, you two."

"Bye," Chameleon said, punching a button on his wristport and disappearing with Mrs. Robbinson before anyone could react. Boy, was he ever glad he'd already had those coords pre-set!

He could hear the Saurians roaring angrily as he disappeared. Time to pay the Ducks a visit...



The older woman was trying on a pair of trendy boots. They'd be out of style before the week ws out, but that didn't stop the red-head one bit.


"Um, this is going to sound odd, you remember what color my eyes were a couple of days ago?"

Mallory looked puzzled.

"Same color as they are now. Gold."

Come to think of it, that was an odd color for eyes, even on a duck. She hadn't really thought about it before. Raye looked confused but didn't say anything, and before Mallory could ask why she wanted to know, her wrist-com went off. She flipped on and was greeted by the sight of Wildwing's face.

"We got a....situation. You two get back here,"

"Roger." She turned the communicator off and yanked her own shoes back on. "We're gonna have to call this little excursion to an end, kiddo. Wildwing wants us back at the Pond for something."

"I heard. And don't call me 'kiddo'."

The thought came to Mallory that the girl had pretty good ears if she'd been able hear that, but that thought was lost fairly quickly as they hurried back to their Duckcycles.


"Oh, this is bloody nice," Mrs. Robbinson muttered, still somehow keeping her cool in all the confusion. She gave the ducks an annoyed look, while they gave her a suspiscious one. The leader (she couldn't remember his name, she wasn't a big hockey fan after all), tapped the side of his mask, staring hard at her, then at Leon. He nodded in satisfaction.

"Chameleon. What do you want?" He asked. He was talking to Leon? Why did he call him a lizard? That was rude!

"Look, Wildwing, I know you have no reason to trust me, an' I don't blame ya, but I'z got a problem...."

"Who's she?"

"An old lady--" Sue cuffed him and he sputtered, "Um, this is Sue Robbinson. A nice old lady."

"Better," Sue said. The ducks looked vaguely amused.

"Why is she here?"

"That's what I would like to know," Sue said.

"Uh, it's like dis, WIldwing...I was tryin' ta figah out a good escape plan, you know, get outta the city, then the country, an' dis nice old lady took pity on my plight an' offered me a place to stay. Unfortunately, I turned my back for half a minute --less even-- and somehow the other saurians found me. Draganus wants me deader than roadkill, or Larry Hama on GenerationX*, an' I figured, maybe, since i did kinda help youze guyz, maybe you could give me a hand?"

Wildwing glanced at his companions, considering. Mrs Robbinson stared at Leon, now completely lost. He looked at her, then away, feeling guilty and hating it. Danged old lady!

Two more ducks pulled up on strange-looking motorcycles. They joined the group, which withdrew to discuss what Leon had said. Mrs. Robbinson frowned.

"I think you owe me an explanation, if only because I very nearly met my maker early, Mr. Charter."

"Man, Sue, you don' wanna know. Dis stuff? Humans don't deal well with it."

Humans. The way he'd said that. Humans. As if he wasn't refering to himself as a part of the collective. Humans.....

She edged away a little.

"Alright," Wildwing said, coming back toward them. "We've decided you can stay here, under certain conditions." He looked at Sue. "And you?"

"I....I cannot return to my home, yet. They may come back. I think I'll rent a hotel room."

"We'll make you some reservations. You were drawn into this unknowingly, so it isn't your fault. Duke? Mallory? Escort Chameleon to his quarters, please. Taunnie, get Phil up here, would you?"

Leon was led away. Sue never saw him again. Years later, she would look back on that incident, and still feel glad she never found out exactly what he was.


Minutes later, Wildwing was giving Chameleon strict instructions as to his stay.

"You are not to leave your quarters unattended. You are not at anytime to use you shape-shifting. No phone calls. No use of the internet, or any other communication device...." He continued on for several minutes, till finally Chameleon shook his head.

"Okay, I get the idea already! I stay here an' don't do anythin' without your say-so. Got it. But once I decide on an identity, I need to keep that shape for a few days, okay?"

"Why?" Wildwing wanted to know. He wasn't going to let anything get by him. This guy wouldn't trust his own grandmother, if she gave him reason. Yeesh.

"It's part of my shape-shiftin deal. If I stay in one form for an extended period of time, that form eventually becomes my true appearance."

"Really?" He seemed genuinely interested at this. "I didn't know that!"

"'S'okay, not even Draganus knew that. The form you've known me by for, what, a year now? It ain't my original form."

"Wait a minute, when I read you with the Mask..."

"Like I said, when I stay in one form long enough, that becomes my 'fall-back' appearance. I've had dis form about three years now."

Wildwing shook his head in confusion.

"I'll take your word for it. Fine, if that's what you have to do, then do it. Meanwhile, make yourself comfortable. You'll be seeing a lot of this room, after all."

"Hey, at least I have a TV, heh. Say, does this get the Playboy channel?"

Wildwing sighed and left Chameleon by himself. The doors hissed shut, and the saurian began flicking through channels on the television, mostly to get an idea for a face. As long as he was staying on Earth, he might as well take on a human look. Anyway, changing his bio-pattern ought to send the Overlord's Seekers on a fritz, heh.

This was bringing back unwanted memories. There were things that Draganus didn't know about him. A lot of things, actually, that nobody alive knew about him. And he intended to keep it that way. He began shaping his new identity....again.


"Tanya, you're wonderful! How on this planet did you manage to get all this so fast?"

In the time Raye and Mallory had been gone, Tanya had stocked up at 'Lectric Land with every mechanical part neccesary, and then some. And gotten started with the building. At this rate, they'd be done before the day was ended. Tanya just grinned in satisfaction.

"Hey, uh, like, no problem! Come on, I need help here."

Raye joined her, and soon a conversation was well under way.

"I noticed some specs for a multi-holographic projector in one of the drawers over there," Raye commented. "Are you planning on building anything like that?"

"I'd love to, Stars know we could use it to touch up our training, but have never found the time to make the proper modifications."

"Well, believe it or not, I built something along those lines about a year ago. It didn't quite come out right, though. I think I know what I did wrong, though, looking at those 'prints. What this place needs a training room, rink aside, built specifically for off-field training."

"Like the Danger Room!" Nosedive's voice cut in, as he made his entrance. Raye eyes him suspiciously, wondering if the caffeine had worn off yet.

"The what?"

"Oh, damn, not those comics again, 'Dive," Tanya grumbled.

"Well, it's a good idea," Nosedive protested. "The X-men have their Danger Room, where they do all their training, with lasers and crap built into the walls, and those holograms...they're, like, solid, you know? Could you build that?"

Raye frowned. "I don't know. Solid holograms? Hmmm....."

Tanya rolled her eyes. "It's just a, uh, a, uh, comic buh-buh-book. It's, uh, not real."

Raye shrugged, deciding to put off the idea for later and focus on the job at hand. Nosedive hung around for a while, watching and asking questions, mostly pertaining to what this arm was gonna do, and was it going to have any "major cool" built-in weapons. After a while, though, he got bored and left. Tanya and Raye sighed in relief and amusement, and kept working. Several hours later, the arm was finished and ready to be attached.

"That can wait till tomorrow, though," Tanya said decisively. Both women were tired by now, and hungry. Upon the older woman's urging, Raye ordered a 'pizza' (whatever that was!), and settled down in the den to watch some TV.

The first thing that came on was some kind of horror movie that just made her grimace and change the channel. The next was a cartoon of people with enormous eyes, called 'Sailor Moon'. Raye was quickly annoyed with it and began flicking through the channels aimlessly till Duke came to join her.

"Hey, we haven't gotten to talk yet!" he exclaimed, sitting back lazily on the sofa next to her. He looked at the control in her hand and started to reach for it. She quickly snatched it out of his reach.

"As if, Duke. I'm in charge of this right now."

Duke shrugged as if he didn't care.

"So what have you done with yourself this past couple of years?" he asked her.

"Avoided plague and killer robots, served in the Rebellion, followed the orders of Major McMallard...."

Duke didn't like the way she said that. Something odd in her voice.

"How was that, anyway?"

"What, working for McMallard? Heh."

She didn't answer for a while, still flicking through the channels. The switching began to get faster.

"He was....I didn't like him. He was a slimeball. I don't know how Mallory turned out so well, with a father like him. I mean, she likes to order people around and stuff, but that's probably just her personality--"

"He didn't...touch you, did he?"

"He wanted to. I would've broken the arm that did it if he tried. He knew that, and I think that's all that kept him from...." She broke off with a frustrated snarl, not realizing she was now switching channels at imperceptable speed.

"And we're supposed to be the good guys," she said bitterly. Duke sighed, and changed the subject.

"Did you finish Cleech's arm?"

"Yeah, we put it on tomorrow. It turned out pretty well, actually. I hadn't expected this world to have the equipment."

"You know Cleech is attracted to you."

Raye gave him a sharp look.

"Yeah, so?"

"I don't have anything against him, personally, me a hypocrite, but I don't trust him. With you."

"You're not my mother."


"And I know how to take care of myself."


They stared at eachother a while.

"You haven't changed a bit, Duke."

"Neither," Duke said, a bit sorrowfully, "have you."

Raye narrowed her eyes and was about to say something, but Nosedive suddenly yelled "PIZZA!" from the next room, grabbing both their attention.

"That's mine," Raye told Duke, rising from the couch. "Care to join me? That is if Nosedive doesn't eat it all before I get to it?"

"Nah, I'm not hungry," Duke shook his head. Raye shrugged and walked out.

Duke turned back to the TV, taking the remote in hand. The channels, he realized, were still changing wildly. Disturbed, Duke tried to halt the chaotic switching, and finally had to turn the machine off to get it to stop.

He dropped the remote on the couch next to him, no longer in the mood to watch any more. He stared off into space, an unnerved look on his face.


The Next Day....


"Quit being such a hatchling, Cleech," Raye said, as she made the final adjustments on his arm. "Besides, you can't feel anything with this arm....yet."

"It's not that," Cleech said through clenched teeth. "You're twisting what's left of the flesh there!"

"Oh....sorry," Raye said, then connected the last wire. The mechanical limb powered up with a brief humming sound, and Cleech reluctantly tried it out, moving the fingers and wrist around. He nodded, finally.

"Works great, Lass."

"It should. How do you feel? Sedative coming off fine?"

"Pretty much. I still feel a little off-balance, but--"

"No, you're mistaking sedation with your mental state."

"Har har, I am slayed. So what have I missed?"

"Chameleon is staying here, and those two--" she nodded toward Canard and Lucretia-- "woke up screaming about the time we got back from the Raptor. We had to put 'em under again. Other than that, nothing much."

"You have an interesting sense of humor...."

"So I've been told. Once you feel strong enough, you're free to roam," she informed him, and abruptly left his side. Cleech scrambled to his feet, intent on following her, and immediately regretted it, feeling the blood rush to his head. Dizzily, he stumbled out the door after her.

"Hey, wait a minute, Raye!" She stopped and let him catch up.


"Um..." she waited patiently for him to speak, all the while giving him a steady stare that just begged for him to try something stupid right about now. Cleech rubbed his neck, feeling self-conscious under her scrutiny. He didn't like that feeling.

"Are y' busy right now, Lass? I mean, do you have time t' maybe take a walk or somethin'. Maybe get some dinner later?"

"Well....I dunno, Cleech. I feel a bit nervous alone with men over a decade older than me...."

"Oh. Well, then tha's okay--"

"...But I suppose if you promise to behave yourself..."

"Well, tha' goes without, sayin', don' it, Lass?" Cleech said, smiling.

"Cleech, do me one thing: stop calling me Lass."

"Yes, ma'am."

He offered her his arm, which she took, albeit reluctantly, and they headed for the exit. Their departure was noted by Tanya, who shook her head.

"He better not try anything stupid...."


Chameleon was getting restless, and that could be a dangerous thing if allowed to continue. He was under Nosedive's guard right now, and the kid was outside his door, reading a comic and looking dead bored.

Chameleon still hadn't decided on a face. He wanted something he could stand seeing when he looked in the mirror in the mornings, that much he knew, but he still wasn't certain what he was going to do with himself yet. Careerwise, he was clueless. Chameleon made a mental note to ask that Phil character about it. Maybe he could become an agent....

Grinning at the thought, he peeked out the doorway and peered at the book in curiousity. It had to be good to keep the kid's attention for so long. Nosedive didn't even look up.

"What's that?" Chameleon asked.

"A book."

"DING DING DING! Whatta we have for him, Nellie? I know it's a book, what's it about?"


"Cool, that guantlet?"

Nosedive looked up finally, surprised.

"You've heard of it?"

"Not just heard, kid. Seen. That thing is creepier than your friend Raye."


"S'true. Who's that?" He pointed at a tall, dark-haired man in the comic.

"That's Ian Nottingham. He's a top assassin, man, and he's the second man to ever wield the Witchblade."

"Not a bad looking guy...."

"Well, he has the main character drooling all over him. Keep this up, and he'll need his own series. A lot of the readers are more interested in what happens to him than to Sara, the heroine!"

"Hmmm......" Chameleon looked thoughtful. "Bring that in here, Kid. I think I've found my new face....."


Hours Later...

"Well, I guess we arenae eatin' dinner out t'night!" Cleech exclaimed as he and Raye, panting, arrived back in the Pond. They'd been chased all the way back by the press, who'd been more than thrilled to hear about the arrival of some new ducks.

"We could order out," Raye suggested lightly, peering out a window at the reporters who were still waving around paper and microphones.

"Sounds good t' me. What was that you mentioned earlier? Pete-sa...?"

"Pizza. It's pretty good, at least when it's hot...."

"Okay. How's that? We meet in my quarters, have dinner, watch a movie...."

D'oh! Now he'd really blown it! Cleech waited for her to slap him, or do something typically female. She just gave him a stern look, to his relief.

"I have no problem with that. Just remember your promise: no fooling around."

"Hey, I'm nae going t' do anything. Well, unless you ask me t'. I'm just bein' friendly."

"The last time someone tried 'being friendly' to me...." She didn't continue, having made her point. He promised to keep his hands to himself, and, satisfied, she went to order pizza. Half an hour later saw them in front of Star Wars: A New Hope, sausage, onions, and green peppers, and several packs of Budweiser.

After another half hour of the movie, and two beers, Raye grumbled something about unrealism in the machines.

"And how about that 'Force' business, eh?"

"Still, there's something likeable about the whole thing," Raye returned, settling back in the sofa...and his arm. He glanced at her curiously, but she didn't seem to notice, watching the film with a slight glaze over her eyes. She didn't hold her liquor well, apparently.

"You know what really irks me about the bad guys in this movie? They're sexist, that's what they are!" Raye said, sometime later, having downed another couple of beer cans. Cleech was beginning to get nervous. This wasn't going to look good.

"Not a single woman on board!" Raye was saying. "An' wassup with Leia's hair, anyway? What is that? Looks like she stuck a couple of bread rolls on either side of her head and hoped it would become a fad!"


"Well, it does!" She leaned against him, and sighed.

"Anyway, 'Dive already tol' me about this movie: Leia's really Luke's twin sister, an' they were seperated at birth. And Darth Vader is their father, but none of them know that...yet."

"Well, thank ye for ruinin' th' movie for me, Lass!"

Raye snorted.

"Whatta hick, falling in love with his sister. I can't stand my brother. Even if I didn't know he was my brother, I'd hate him anyway."

"I didnae know ye had a brother," Cleech said, looking down at her, interest caught.

"Well, now you know."

"Do ye know where he is?"


"He survived th' Invasion, then?"


"So you still have a family, back on Puckworld?"



He considered pressing the matter, now that his curiousity had been roused, but something else was in danger of being roused, the way she was leaning into him.

Luckily, she rested her head on his shoulder and dropped off before she got too drunk to make a fool of herself. He pulled away and gently lifted her from the couch and carried her to the bed, laid her down, and spread the covers over her. Then he turned off the movie and stretched out on the couch.

This girl is going to be the death of me, he thought to himself as he drifted off to sleep.

To Be Continued....

* This is a joke only Marvel readers will get. Larry Hama is the current writer of GenerationX, and he's ruined the book so bad that his being there become something of a running gag. Sorry, Hama, you were good on Wolverine, but you're no Bacchalo!
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