Two Thieves and One Heart
Part 3: He Knew Her When…
Tanya sat alone in her room after Duke left, pushing his way through the hall full of teammates. It wasn’t the fact that they had fought that made her want to cry, what really tore her apart was the hopelessly apologetic look that Duke had given her when she told him that chivalry was dead. She may as well have run him through.
Burying her face in her hands she started to weep silently, glad that no one had come in to check on her. This was one of the those times where she just wanted to be alone. Too bad she wasn’t…
“Hiya sister, what’s new?” a familiar voice called from the air vent above her dresser.
Startling a bit she looked up in time to see Racco, the flirtatious ally from Rodemont 7, drop down from the vent. “Whoa now, what are the tears for doll?”
“Figured you be dropping by,” Tanya responded, whipping her eyes. “What took ya so long?”
“Iflix,” Racco grumbled, “that nutcase set my teleporter wrong…AGAIN!”
“Keep your voice down,” Tanya cautioned, scooting over and making room for him to sit down on the bed, “I guess you know about Rischa.”
“Yeah,” anger flashed in Racco’s eyes, “Draggy’s got my girl and I aim to get her back safe and sound, ya know?”
“Lemme guess,” Tanya sighed, “you need my help to do it.”
“No,” Racco leaned in closer, “just wanted myself a pretty traveling companion in the meantime.”
Jerking away Tanya turned her beak up, “Rischa should really keep you on a leash.”
“Just a little ally humor beautiful.” Racco teased. “Ya know I wouldn’t dream of taking on that slime ball without ya.”
“Let’s get one thing straight,” Tanya seethed grabbing Racco by the collar and pulling him down eye level, “I’m doin’ this for Rischa, NOT you.”
“I got’cha sweets.” Racco nodded. Tanya released him and he fell backwards onto the bed, “I do like’em feisty.”
“Could you live without annoying me?”
“Sure, but it wouldn’t be as much fun.” Racco chuckled. “I’ll be good. Just help me out here. For Rischa, I know.”
Swiping her claws across her torso Tanya quick-changed into another, less torn, black leotard. Clamping her utility belt back on and placing the swords across her back she turned and glared at the raccoon, “Let’s do this.”
“Now yer talkin’.”
Two seconds after Racco and Tanya had vanished Duke came back into Tanya’s room with a bouquet of roses and a well rehearsed apology. “Tanya, sweetheart, I-”
His eyes darted around the empty room, “Tanya? Hey, what’s goin’ on here?”
Jazz and Mallory walked by the room and saw L’Orange standing there, “What’s up Duke?” Jazz grinned. “Lose your lady friend?”
“Very funny,” he jeered, “where’d she go?”
“She’s not in the lab.” Mallory shrugged, “Maybe she stepped out for a little while. You know Tanya, she can’t resist a moonlit walk.”
Duke headed out past them hoping to catch up to Tanya before she wandered too far away, “So now you’re trying to get them to stay together?” Jazz cocked an eyebrow at Mallory’s ‘moonlit walk’ suggestion.
Sighing Mallory stared after Duke, “Just because I think he’s not a 100% changed duck doesn’t change the fact that Tawny still loves him. I’m doing this for her. Now let’s talk about you and Nosedive,” Mallory snickered, slinging an arm around Jazz’s shoulder and changing the subject, “you know you could do a whole lot better than that birdbrain.”
Wincing Jazz wished she’d kept her beak shut.
Back at the Raptor the Saurians were setting a trap for Falcone. It was obvious that he knew of the power the Jade Salamander possessed, he had gone to great lengths to hide the tail of the statue, which he had stolen from a rare arts collector. Now he would need Rischa, the second in command of The Ringed Gang (or The Ringers, for short), to use as bait to persuade Racco (the leader) to hand over the rest of the statue.
“You came close to gettin’ yer scales blown off one time tonight,” Rischa was yelling as they hoisted her above a vat of boiling lava, “it won’t be long before you guys are nothin’ but a happily forgotten memory in the book of crime!”
“She just keeps talkin’ and talkin’…” Chameleon muttered as he opened the lid on the vat.
Dragonaus entered the room and gazed up menacingly at the annoyed captive, “Welcome to the Raptor my dear. I trust you’ll enjoy your stay.”
“If I thought my aim was good enough,” Rischa began, “I’d spit right in yer eye ya sorry waste of lighting fluid!”
A stream of smoke poured from Dragonaus’ nostrils, “I think you’ll sing a different tune once Chameleon turns you into road kill stew.”
“HA!” she countered, “Ya wouldn’t dare harm a hair on my head. Destroy me and you’ll NEVER get yer hands on the rest of the Jade Salamander.”
“I hate it when she has a point.” Chameleon cringed to Dragonaus.
“As soon as your boyfriend gets here with that statue,” Dragonaus growled, “I’ll dunk you both into this vat and seer the fur from your hides!”
Falcone watched the scene unfold from his perch above the security units. “As if a few high tech cameras could stop my brilliance.” he gloated.
He could see the scenario now, he kidnapped Rischa, held her for ransom (which would be the price of one jade reptilian statue), and then got Duke to steal back the tail for him. Falcone wagered it would be much easier to take the tail from The Mighty Ducks as opposed to swiping it back from the Saurians.
“And with the power that statue will give me…I’ll outfox Duke L’Orange and be declared the greatest thief of all!”
Racco and Tanya ‘borrowed’ one of the Duck Cycles and used Racco’s tracking unit to locate the Raptor. They were a few miles away from it’s current position when Tanya decided to do a little interrogating.
“So--um--Racco, just what does Dragonaus want with Rischa anyway?”
“To get to me,” he answered indifferently, “what else?”
Groaning she tried again, “Look Racco, Dragonaus is obviously after something that The Ringed Gang has, now what is it?!”
Sighing Racco bit the bullet, “Ya know how The Ringers are always out lookin’ for the rarest collectibles around?”
“Psh, duh!” Tanya answered.
“Well, we might’ve gotten in a little over our heads this time.”
“A few days ago Iflix and Pyroid got word that an ancient Saurian artifact was being imported into our galaxy and put on display at the art museum south of Biswark.” Racco explained with a hint of regret panging in his voice, “Naturally yours truly was willing and able to assist em in lifting it.”
“That thing has some kind of power doesn’t it?” Tanya asked, pulling into the alley behind the cloaked ship.
“I’ll say it does.” he replied, “Iflix reads up on the thing and it’s said to possess the powers of electrical conductivity, water manipulation, and flame ignition. Now ya know that makes it a hot item and one heck of a temptation for other gangs to steal.”
“But how did Dragonaus get it?”
“He didn’t get it.”
Tanya stopped scaling the building long enough to shoot Racco a threatening glance, “Then where is it Racco?!”
Facing the street below instead of The Black Cat Racco pulled the item from a pouch on his belt, “Draggy had a ransom note ready when he sent a goon of his to come swipe my girl. And in the middle of a heist no less! The creep knocks Rischa out, she trips up the alarm fallin’ down, and in the chaos of gettin’ out of there I lose sight of her long enough for the jerk to haul her through a portal!”
“Sounds like a rough night.” Tanya commented as she continued her climb to the window above, “But we can’t let Dragonaus get his hands on that statue, if he does, no one’s safe.”
“Oh don’t worry,” Racco assured her, “it’s worthless without it’s tail. And that thing broke off long before the statue ever found it’s way to our universe.”
“Then where is it now?”
“Beats me. But hey, so long as it’s not here we don’t got nothin’ to fear from handin’ ol’ Lizard Lips this statue huh?”
“Let’s call that Plan B.” Tanya decided climbing through the window, which had conveniently been left open.
Meanwhile back at The Pond Duke had been searching everywhere for his irked lovebird. After hours of checking her favorite haunts he was starting to get worried. The sun was up when the others assembled around Drake One.
“Any sign of her?” Wing asked Mallory who, for all her loathing of machines, was rapidly scanning the area for any signs of her signal.
“Yeah,” Mallory grunted, “according to the homing beacon, she’s still in her room.”
“Ah beautiful,” Duke moaned, “she must’ve headed out without her communicator.”
“But why would she do that?” Premnitia wondered.
“Because of me.” Duke clenched his fists, “I had ta go and be a jerk to her earlier and now she’s missin’. Boy that’ll teach me to wanna fly solo.”
“We don’t know for sure yet that anything’s wrong.” Wildwing insisted optimistically, “Maybe she’s just blowing off some steam right now. I know she’s usually home by morning but who knows…she could just be visiting Felonia.”
“Without her crystal bracelets?” Jazz asked, darting into the room holding up Tanya’s teleportation crystals.
Murmuring something along the lines ‘or maybe she’s a prisoner of those dirty Saurian sleazebags’ Wildwing remembered the safe that Duke and Tanya had recovered the previous night. “Duke, did you two ever get a chance to find out what was in that safe?”
“Nah, Tanya was doing an analysis or something of a few chips that were left in the bottom. The program wasn’t finished deciphering them when we came in the Rec Room and started talkin’ with you and Mal.”
“Whoa.” Jazz perked up, “I bet I can hack into the files and see what the results were myself!”
“Go for it.” Mallory said getting out of the way so Jazz could search the files on Drake One.
In a matter of minutes the results displayed themselves on the giant screen, with a triumphant, “I’m in!”, Jazz pulled up the readings and managed to get a picture of the statue the chips were thought to have originated from.
“Looks like some kind of lizard.” Mallory commented.
“Why am I not surprised.” Nosedive mumbled.
Grin noted the exquisite gem from which it was carved. “A jade lizard?”
“The Jade Salamander!” Duke burst out. “That thing was a target prize for The Brotherhood about a year before Dragonaus appeared!”
“Why am I not surprised?” Mallory rolled her eyes.
“What can ya tell us about it Duke?” Wing inquired.
Rubbing a hand beneath his beak Duke thought for a moment, “Not much, just that it was said to have all these powers with stuff like electricity, water, and fire. Some Saurian sorcerer forged it ages ago and Drake Ducaine hid it near the same mysterious location as the mask. Archeologists stumbled onto it back home not long before Canard found the mask. The thing was being shipped to some gallery when me and my boys intercepted it. Falcone was still a member back then and as much of a hot headed rookie as ever. The bungling boob nearly got himself shot when those guards in the armored vehicle leapt out. In the skirmish he dropped the statue and only managed to hold on to the tail. I’ll bet he’s still got the thing.”
“What happened to the rest of the statue?” Grin asked.
“Last I heard it got lost in a cargo of valuables that the Saurians traded with some other dimensional allies of theirs on the interstellar black market. Those traders probably sold it to some museum in whatever universe they were from for twice what it was worth.” Duke finished.
“But if it was the tail that was inside that safe then Falcone’s lost it to Dragonaus.” Mallory noted, “You don’t suppose he’s somehow gotten his hands on the rest of the statue too?”
“I don’t know.” Duke shook his head, “But something tells me Tanya’s up to her neck in all this. She was tellin’ me about this gang of thieves from Rodemont 7 that were allies of The Pride. We found this earring near the safe ya see and it belongs to Rischa, the second in command. And if they have the statue-”
“The Saurians could be using this Rischa for bait. And if the gang’s found Tanya and asked for her help…” Jazz mused, “…then she’s in for one heck of a fight if Dragonaus gets his claws on the rest of the statue.”
“And let’s not forget that Falcone’s still out there hunting for Duke and probably the statue too.” Premnitia added.
“Oh boy,” Dive moaned rushing to the hanger with the rest of the team, “it’s gonna be one of those days.”
*Yay! I’m updating quicker! ^_^ Glad to see this story’s getting reviews. Thanks for the comments everyone, keep them comin’!*
Part 4 (Coming Soon)