In Captive Wings
Part 3:Confining Dark Nights
The night wore on and Duke wracked his brain for any other way of getting the scientist to give him the formula. Threats hadn’t worked, she couldn’t be intimidated. Duke grinned, she was a bit intimidating herself.
Sighing he got up and headed towards his chambers, he’d never get the formula wandering out in the hall.
Just as he was about to open the door he felt a hand firmly squeeze his shoulder. Spinning around he came beak to beak with Falcone. “Duke, old chap. I say, marvelous job out there today.”
“What do you want now Falcone?” Duke demanded in a tired tone.
Falcone gestured grandly as he spoke, “The ultimatum, give us the formula or be held a captive by the Brotherhood.”
“Yeah,” Duke scoffed, “I really made her sing with that threat.”
“That’s the truly conniving part!” Falcone exclaimed, “Now you’ve got the chance to gain her trust. Think about it old boy, she’s the scientist who was able to develop a formula for creating precious jewels. Just imagine what else she could come up with!” Falcone’s voice changed to one of a slyer tone, “Given the right motivation, she could make the Brotherhood richer than any gang in the galaxy.”
Duke had to admit, that did sound tempting. “Well, I dunno. It seems a bit too underhanded, ya know? I mean, a woman scorned is like a blade in the back.”
“True,” Falcone admitted, “but if you’re as good a romantic as you are a thief…”
The thought of romancing the information out of the woman hadn’t really occurred to Duke, he always used that charming air of his around the ladies. It never really hit him that it could be a valuable weapon. Possibly even more so than his saber.
“I’ll give it a shot.” he conceded. “But she’ll probably see right through me. This one’s got a mind of her own. And a will to match it.”
Falcone smiled deviously, “I knew you’d see the big picture sooner or later. Now you’re thinking big Duke. Trust me, in a matter of days she’ll be putty in your hands.”
Duke turned away, not wanting the conversation to go any farther. Falcone took the hint and walked away. Sometimes working Duke was like manipulating a puppet on strings. It was all a matter of who was conning who.
Once Falcone was gone Duke took a breath and opened the door…only to have an antique chair hurled his way. He just barely dodged it in time before it soared across the hall and smashed into the wall beside a guard.
Sighing Duke entered his chambers and slammed the door behind him, “Hey! What the heck is the matter with you?”
“ME?!” Tanya shouted, “I’m not the one who just KIDNAPPED someone!”
“Well if you hadn’t tried to pull a fast one on us then we wouldn’t have had to come after you now would we?” he countered.
“HA! You think I’d just give you the formula?” she scoffed, “You’re a---a---common thief!”
Duke flew up into her face and had her back on the wall before the blonde could blink, “Listen sweetheart…there’s nothin’ normal about me.”
Tanya was caught off guard, but only for a minute. “Listen FREAK, the name’s TANYA! T-A-N-Y-A!” she pushed him away, “And if you can’t get that right how the heck do you expect to make gems with my formula anyway?!”
She’s impossible! “You’re impossible!” he threw his arms up and walked off towards his dresser.
“What?” Tanya smirked and crossed her arms, “No savvy words to come back at me with?”
Duke ignored her as he dug through his drawers. “What do you think you’re doing pal?” she asked. Oh he was not about to…
“What’s it look like?” he huffed, pulling off his suit, “I’m changing.”
Tanya’s eyes grew large behind her lavender glasses. “WHOA! Not in front of me pal!”
“The name’s Duke. D-U-K-E.” he turned and tossed his suit on top of a pile of clothes in the corner of the room. “And you’re not running me out of my own chambers. You don’t like it, give me the formula and you’re free to go back to that one bedroom apartment of yours.”
“I wouldn’t give you that formula if you were the last--” just then a part of what he’d just said got to her, “What do you mean that one bedroom apartment of yours?”
“Exactly what I said.” Duke replied, grabbing a towel off his nightstand. “You live alone. You’re hot tempered. You think you’re too smart for any guy. And by how well your apartment’s kept, I’d say you haven’t had a man in your life for years.”
She could not believe that she was getting a lecture on dating from a THIEF! “So you’re saying I’m single because I’m neat?!”
Duke grinned, this was going to be easier than he’d thought.
Tanya put her hands on her hips and stomped over to him as he walked towards his bathroom. “For your information I don’t have TIME for a relationship right now! I have a REAL job in a laboratory where I have to spend most of my time. I’m not some cheap bimbo that goes out to bars looking for social rejects like you and my apartment’s clean because I like to be neat and have everything organized. While you,” she pointed to the pile of clothes, “are too busy ripping off museums and jewelry stores to do a simple load of laundry!”
“Oh so now I’m a sloppy social reject, is that it?” why was he getting so worked up over this computer nerd’s opinion of him?
“If the skate fits!” she snapped.
“And I bet you, little miss perfect, haven’t done a single illegal thing your whole helpful life!” Duke turned away, intending to close the door in her face. But Tanya stuck her boot beside the door and prevented his escape.
“Shows what you know,” she had this odd smile on her face that made Duke’s heart race, “you happen to be talking to the most notorious hacker on Puckworld.”
“Get out of here.” Duke laughed, “You?”
“Ever hear of ‘The Black Cat’ virus?” Tanya remarked proudly.
“That was you?! That virus destroyed half the military’s launch codes, three-fourths of the police department’s criminal records, and messed up who knows how many major corporations! NOBODY knows who the heck was responsible for all that. It took em weeks to sort through all that gibberish and destruction.” Duke was impressed, and Tanya was enjoying it.
“Yeah,” Tanya blew on her nails casually, “that was me. Long night in the lab and a flash of inspiration. There are tons more viruses that I’ve unleashed that no one even knows about. The government here did their best to cover that one up, but it was a little too widespread.”
“With skills like that I bet you could break into any museum’s security system and-” Duke caught himself.
“-break in?” Tanya finished, “Sure, piece of, you know, pie. But that’s not my style. I’m a hacker, not a thief.”
“You should consider it angel.” Duke smiled at her in a way that made Tanya’s knees turn to jello. What was up with her? “You’ve got a lot of talent, I’d hate to see it wasted.”
Tanya wasn’t ready to drop her defenses just yet, “Forget it pal, I’m not about to work for you or anyone like you. I know what they’d do to you if you were ever caught. You think I want that for myself?”
“I’m just saying you should consider it,” Duke said before turning back towards the shower. “It’s only the pits if you get caught. And a life of crime…really isn’t that bad at all.”
Tanya slid her foot away and let him shut the door. Actually, she had to shut it herself. Duke certainly didn’t seem like he was going to.
There’s something odd about him, she thought as she stretched out across his bed, he’s not what you’d expect a criminal mastermind to be like at all.
Just then the door was opened and Duke snatched a large black t-shirt from his top drawer. Tossing it to Tanya he smirked, “You’re nightgown, my lady.”
Tanya took the shirt off her beak and glared at him. Tipping his head to her slightly he closed the door. Flirt, Tanya huffed. After she heard the shower start and it was clear that Duke wasn’t coming out again, she sighed and changed into the shirt. It was long enough to reach halfway to her knees.
Now where to put her clothes? She looked around the well furnished room but there wasn’t a laundry hamper in sight. Shrugging to herself she murmured, “Why not?” and tossed her clothes in the pile with Duke’s.
The shower was shut off a few minute’s later and she heard Duke step out and start the hair dryer. No doubt a conceited duck like him would spend hours styling his hair.
Then a thought occurred to her, just where did he expect her to sleep?!
*Hope everyone’s enjoying this story so far. Thanks for the great reviews. You’re all beautiful. Well…um…you know.*