In Captive Wings

Part Seven: Love, the Deadly Game

The gang of outlaws led Ruby straight to their hideout. It was no surprise that it was so well hidden from the upper part of town.

“Now all we gotta do is stash this gem with the others and-” Duke spoke as he headed down the corridor to his chambers. He froze when he noticed the opened door.

His lower beak dropped when he saw Crosswing and Shadowbill moaning on the floor with shattered glass all around them.

“Alright,” he demanded, noticing Tanya was nowhere in sight, “what happened here?!”

“She got out,” Shadowbill murmured, his head was pounding.

“How could you two get laid out by one stubborn hacker?!” Duke was furious, for several personal reasons.

“She’s crafty Duke,” Crosswing answered, “there was a crash in here and when we went to check it out we tripped over this material and went right into the case.”

“Aw great,” Duke complained, “she broke the antique vase!”

“Why not just let the nuisance go?” Shadowbill inquired, “She’s nothing but trouble and we can live without that formula.”

“It ain’t about the formula anymore!” Duke lashed out, then caught himself. “It’s--uh--well now she knows where our hideout is! If we don’t catch her she’ll rat us out!”

Ruby listened intently from down the hall. So Tanya’s made fools out of the Brotherhood eh? Well, hehe, serves em right.

Then she heard a rustling up above her head. There was a vent two feet up and someone was obviously pushing against it, “Pst! Ruby, is that you?”


Tanya hastily removed the vent cover and gave her friend a hand up, “What are you doing here?” she hissed, “Don’t you know it’s dangerous! These creeps could’ve caught you!”

“You didn’t think I’d leave you here to rot did you?” Ruby smiled.

Shaking her head Tanya replied, “Let’s just get out of here.”

They crawled for what seemed like hours, although it was merely the span of eight minutes, and finally found a way out. Emerging behind an abandoned building they darted for the nearest lit building in sight, a sports emporium.

“Think they’ll have a phone?” Ruby asked.

“They’d better.” Tanya panted. “It won’t take the Brotherhood long to see how we got out.”

“I wouldn’t give them that much credit.” Ruby smirked.

“Oh you don’t know Duke L’Orange.” Tanya cautioned.

“And I take it you two have become old friends all of the sudden.”

“NO! The guy can’t even get my name right! And don’t even get me started on how cocky and self absorbed he is.”

“Just asking,” Ruby chuckled as they entered the building.

After glancing around they noticed a row of pay phones against the wall to the entrance. “Bingo!” Tanya exclaimed, digging through her pockets for change.

“So what did happen in there?” Ruby asked as Tanya started dialing.

“Nothing much, they tried to interrogate me and get the formula. I wouldn’t talk so they locked me up in Duke’s room.”

“You were in Duke L’Orange’s bedroom?!” Ruby gasped.

“Yeah, it’s not like I’m the only female who’s ever been in there. The guy’s such a flirt he’s probably got a new girl in his bed every night of the week.” Tanya said this with intense disgust.

“Careful Tawny,” Ruby teased, “you sound almost--jealous.”

“CRUD!” Tanya slammed the phone down on the hook.


“She’s not home. The one time I call my mother all year and she’s not home!”

“You called your mother?”

Tanya spun around defensively, “And who else is there?! I mean, it’s not like I have a social life or anything!”

“Easy Tanya,” Ruby backed away, “we’ll just have to hitch a ride back to your apartment or something.”

“That’s just where they’ll come looking.” Tanya groaned.

Silence followed as the two women tried to come up with a plan. Tanya finally spoke up, “Can you believe those guys actually wanted me to join them?”

“You?” Ruby repeated, “What an insult. You’re no thief.”

“I know.” Tanya sighed, “Still, flirt or not, Duke was pretty sweet.”

Ruby eyed her friend for a moment. “You almost sound like you miss the guy.”

“Well…umpth…psh…I don’t OK?!” Tanya was stumbling through her words, Ruby knew her well enough to take that as a sign that she was nervous and probably lying.

“You DO miss him!”


Glancing over Tanya’s shoulder through the glass doors Ruby countered. “And I bet you’d tell him that if he were here right now?”

“PSH! If he were here right now I’d give that loser a piece of my mind and he’d probably choke on it!” Tanya blurted out, determined to convince Ruby (and herself) that she had no feelings whatsoever for Duke L’Orange.

“Well,” Ruby snickered and pointed out the doors, “here’s your chance.”

Spinning around Tanya saw Duke, along with several other mob members, creeping over the snow dusted parking lot towards the store’s entrance.

“Where are you going?” Ruby called as Tanya darted down one of the aisles.

“I can’t let him find me!” Tanya called back. “And they’ll probably recognize you too!”

Realizing that she was probably right Ruby shot down another aisle just as the members reached the entrance.

“And what makes you think she’s in here?” Falcone questioned.

“Aw it’s simple,” Duke replied in a matter-of-fact tone, “she crawls out the ventilation shaft, sees a lit building, and darts inside to use the phone.”

“Well she certainly isn’t using the phone now is she?” Falcone pointed to the unoccupied pay phones.

Duke walked over and lifted one phone off the hook, “Still warm.”

Falcone sneered. Lucky coincidence.

“She must have made a run for it. Spread out.” Duke ordered.

“Spending all my time out looking for some runaway computer nerd, this is no way for an artiste to make a living,” Falcone ceased his complaining when he spotted a laminated ID tag lying in the middle of the aisle. Picking it up he read aloud, “DuckTech Industries, Doctor Ruby Dunshap.” there was a small picture to the right of the information, “Hello. What have we here?”

Duke crept down another aisle near the back of the store. His good eye searched the merchandise over for any gaps where Tanya might be able to hide. He doubted she’d had time to split out the back, if there was a rear exit.

Tanya stood behind a stack of hockey goal boxes (some assembly required) listening to the footsteps draw closer. For lack of a better plan she would simply push the merchandise over on whoever was approaching and dart for the nearest exit.

Ricochet was the unfortunate victim of her plan as he made his way to the center of the aisle. The stack of boxes came down on him suddenly, allowing him little time to react.

Before he could leap out of the way he was buried beneath twenty dismantled hockey goals. “Women.” he grumbled.

Ruby could see the exit from where she was hiding. The trouble was, she couldn’t see if anyone was near it. Peering out from behind a rack of jerseys she decided to risk it.

Falcone smiled devilishly as the familiar scientist rushed towards the exit. Tanya came around the aisle just in time to see her friend crash to the floor, tangled in between two hockey pucks with black, flexible wire. “RUBY!”

“Tawny watch out!” Ruby warned.

Too late. Falcone took aim and fired. Tanya fell to the floor, wriggling against the restraints.

“You’re more trouble than you’re worth.” Falcone stated, towering over the blonde, “But I’ll strike a deal with you. Give me the formula and I’ll set both you and your friend free.”

Tanya glared up at the bird angrily, “And why should I trust you?”

Falcone pulled out his sidearm and aimed for Ruby, “Because you don’t have a choice.”

“That’s no way to treat a lady Falcone.” a male’s voice cried.

“Duke!” Tanya almost seemed happy to see him. Ruby took note of this.

“Careful old boy or you’ll lose both the formula and your girlfriend!” Falcone warned. Whipping out his sword with his free hand he activated it and pressed it to Tanya’s chest.

Other Brotherhood members were circling around them now, waiting to see Duke’s reaction.

“You’re not getting anywhere by threatening me Falcone.” he spoke calmly, his eye never leaving Tanya, “Tanya’s my prisoner and the other one’s just caught up in a bad situation.”

“Oh pasha!” Falcone countered, “She’s gotten to you Duke and you know it. Women always were your greatest weakness.”

Duke narrowed his gaze, Tanya watched as he drew his saber and activated it. “This is your last chance Falcone, step away from those two or I’ll personally cut you down to size.”

“I’ve been waiting years for a shot at you Casanova,” Falcone laughed. Duke rushed forward and their swords clashed.

Crosswing stepped forward and cut Ruby’s bonds. “I suggest you leave, while you still can.”

Ruby glanced at Tanya, “I’m not abandoning my friend.”

“Listen to him Ruby.” Tanya pleaded, “I’ll be alright.”

Reluctantly Ruby agreed to go, IF they’d cut Tanya loose first.

Crosswing agreed and carefully made his way over to the bond duck. Once she was free Ruby hesitantly snuck out the door. She had a feeling this Duke L’Orange would keep her friend safe. At least, she hoped her suspicions were right.

Several feet away from the exit Tanya stood watching helplessly as Duke dueled with Falcone.

“You’re getting a bit rusty old boy.” Falcone laughed.

Duke made several quick swipes at Falcone with his saber and shredded the upper part of his suit. “Oh I dunno Falcone, I think I’ve still got some skills left in me.”

Unknown to the Brotherhood or Tanya the cashier had set off a silent alarm just as soon as the fight had started. Now police were pulling up and surrounding the store. Finally the sound of sirens and a megaphone speaker could be heard.

“Alright L’Orange, this is the Puckworld Urban Police Force! So you and all of your boys come out with your hands up!”

The two battling thieves ignored the officer and kept lunging for each other.

“You’re career’s over now Duke,” Falcone chuckled madly, “the next time you see daylight I’ll be the top thief in this galaxy!”

“Don’t count on it.” Duke spoke bitterly and knocked the sword from Falcone’s hands.

Unarmed Falcone suddenly lost his edge, “Duke, old buddy, old chum, it seems I was all wrong about your skills as a leader and thief after all.”

“And it seems I was wrong in thinkin’ you deserved to be one of the Brotherhood,” Duke replied, “but hey, I learn from my mistakes.”

Falcone gulped as Duke motioned for two other members to grab him. “Time to deal with this problem.”

When the cops burst into the store they found no trace of Duke or the Brotherhood. What they did find however, was Falcone tangled in a hockey goal’s net with The Drake Diamond shoved in his beak.


The Brotherhood members returned to their hideout. Duke and the others seemed unfazed by the fact that they had just left Falcone with the police force where he could very well disclose the location of their hideout.

“Shouldn’t you be getting the heck out of here?” Tanya questioned, “He’s probably already told the cops where this place is!”

“Nah,” Duke assured her, “if there’s anything Falcone hates worse than being second best it’s cooperating with the authorities. He knows better than to rat us out. The Brotherhood has ways of paying back stool pigeons. And if he gets out, he’ll want a rematch.”

“So I guess we’re right back where we started huh?” Tanya groaned.

“Maybe not angel.” Duke smirked to the other members. “The offer to join us still stands. No one ever said ya had to be a thief.”

“I’m not cracking any security codes for you either!” she snapped, “And I’ll take that formula to my grave!”

“See guys, it’s spirit like that that makes her perfect Brotherhood material.” Duke laughed to the others.

Whispers followed his statement and he got a few grins from other members.

“Are you gonna let me in on the joke?” Tanya suspiciously asked.

“Sure sweetheart,” Duke put his arm around her, drawing her close, “but let’s go back to my room and talk--in private.”


*I couldn’t leave ya hangin’ forever. ^_^ So, how’d everyone like this chapter? The next one’s coming up soon. This is where the PG-13 rating increases a bit. Please keep reading, I keep it tasteful and follow the storyline, I promise.*

Part 6

Part 8