The Search For Cuteness: Part 10

In the end, everything is a gag.


        Bishop eyed the phone warily, as if it might bite him. In all honesty, he felt it might – after all, the coffee had. Really, he didn't know why he bothered even trying to drink the crud the precinct house called 'coffee.' It was always far too strong, viscous enough to make one wonder if it could really be termed a 'liquid' beverage, and it had the alarming tendency to fight back. He'd heard officers threaten to leave suspects alone in the interrogation room with a pot of it; such threats so often resulted in immediate cooperation and/or confessions that the D.A.'s office had warned the precinct of a possible internal investigation - though Bishop doubted leaving coffee with a suspect was the sort of thing any judge would read as 'forceful tactics'. Provided said judge had never seen the 42nd Precinct's 'coffee,' that is.

        But anyway. The phone was ringing. Bishop was lax to pick it up – it was, after all, the unfortunate phone Ferdia had thrown across the room a few nights past, and it had already shocked him three times tonight. To tell the truth, he was considering throwing it across the room himself. After all, he could blame it on the coffee. Everyone besides Vernon would get a kick out of that.

        Unfortunately, at just that moment, the aforementioned sparrow came out of his office with a can't-you-hear-the-phone frown on his face. Bishop pretended to be in the midst of a coughing fit, waving the Lieutenant over to answer it himself. Which Vernon did, with a sour look that made his feelings on having to do such a menial thing perfectly clear.

nd. What's your emergency,” he bit off crisply.

        Bishop watched the bird out of the corner of his eye, forcing a swig of 'coffee' down his throat in an attempt to make it look like he was trying to stop coughing. The sparrow's terse, clipped statements to the caller faltered as they reported whatever it was they were calling about, and by the time he hung up, his eyes were wide and somewhat glazed.

        Blinking, he shook his head clear before turning to face Bishop with a more coherent, if confused, stare. “Lady up on 42
nd and Larks says two U.F.O.s just landed in the park,” he reported.

        Bishop grinned. Finally, someone else was getting the weird calls! And as juvenile as it was, he couldn't resist the urge to mess with the lieutenant's mind a bit more.

        “Well, sounds like officers Arcadia and Birdie are back, then,” he deadpanned.

        The small hiccupping sound Vernon made on his way back into his office was immensely amusing.


        “You know,” Casey stated, “I'm really gonna have to start wondering about you two if you keep crashing spaceships into the park at midnight a few days after disappearing without a trace…”

        “Spaceship?” Ferdia asked innocently.

        “Crashing?” Squeaks asked, equally innocently.

        “It's a rocket-plane,” Ferdia grinned.

        “And while it was a rather fiery and abrupt landing,” Squeaks added, “it was not a crash. *That* was Beak, halfway through landing before he realized they needed to return their plane to its owner.”

        “Who will be ever-so-thrilled when he sees the trees currently strewn about it,” Ferdia finished.

        Casey blinked. “Yeah, well…one of these days, I'm not going to believe that.”

        “We mean it,” Trevor added, skeptically gazing up at the scorched exterior of the Starchaser.

        “Really,” Casey insisted.

        “Sure you do,” Ferdia laughed. “And one of these days, we'll be able to explain things to your satisfaction.”

        “And one of these days, I'm going to actually get to reuse the planes we pick up on these missions,” Squeaks said ruefully, wincing at the thought of the amount of work cleaning the 'chaser up was going to entail.

        “And you're going to owe us all rides in it when you do,” Trevor grinned.

        Casey shook his head. Always the same. They could try as much as they wanted; their friends were never going to tell them where they'd been. And that case had sounded so interesting

        Ah, well. There were cheaper thrills in life. “Hey, Blue!” he called, “You guys need a ride back to the precinct house?”

        “You bet!” she grinned. “Can I drive?”

        “You wish!”


        Bob, Beak, and Ferdie slowly crept away from the hangar, making a beeline for the lot they'd left their car in a week before. By the grace of some deity, Ivan wasn't at home. Normally, Bob would have been angry, convinced as he was that his arch nemesis was up to some devious, lawless scheme. Right now, however, he was actually glad the fiend was away. The lack of their Boss' immediate presence – for some time, by the looks of things – had led his guards to ease their normally vigilant patrols, and that meant there was a chance they might get out of there before anyone noticed the rather badly battered – and booty-free – ship now resting inside Hangar 13.

        He would have felt better about their chances had they more than just Beak's Magi ability to mask them from view, but Iiwi had taken off immediately after they landed. He'd have to speak to her about that later.


        Drake silently climbed out of the runabout, careful to leave it exactly where he'd originally landed it, in case Mallard had been searching for him. Stealthily creeping away from the cloaked ship, he paused to look up and down the dark, abandoned stretch of highway in front of him. For a second there, he could have sworn he'd heard something.

        Hmm. Must have been the wind.

        San Viano was several miles to the west, if he remembered correctly. A good two hours' walk, at the pace he intended to set. He'd be at the 42
nd Precinct House before Squeaks' shift was over. As long as he was still stuck on this planet, he might as well try talking to his old friend again…

        There it was again. A faint rustle. It was probably just the wind…but still. He paused, turning to check behind him.

        Something darted just beyond his field of vision. Whirling, he turned to face it…but saw only the inky blackness of the night.

        “Whoever you are, I know you're out there, so you might as well come out and face me!” he yelled.

        A soft, sinister laugh cut through the night behind him. “Ah, the prodigal Duck returns,” it chuckled dangerously, “Surprisingly no worse for the wear.”

        “D'Gal!” Drake spat, whirling to face the familiar voice.

        “Yes,” the black-plumed duck grinned darkly, nigh-invisible in the black shadows of the nearly starless night, “Me.”

        A sudden, electric pain shot up Drake's spine, paralyzing his muscles and blinding him with pain. Stunned, the Duck fell to the ground, just barely conscious and fully immobilized.

        D'Gal laughed. “Nice work, luv. Bit of an overkill, though.”

        “He had it coming.”

        “If you say so.” He couldn't hear D'Gal smirk, but knew he was, nonetheless. There was a whoosh-ing sound as the runabout's hatch slid open, and the light from inside the invisible craft fell just inside Drake's peripheral vision.

        “Care for a test flight?” D'Gal called.

        “Sure, why not?” A laugh. “Should we leave him the car?”

        Drake caught the evil grin that flashed across D'Gal's face as they boarded the craft. “Yes,” he heard the Black Knight say, “Let's.”

        With that, the runabout's hatch whooshed closed, her engines quickly humming back to life. He could feel the air and dust whirl about as the stolen craft lifted off, slowly rising off the dusty ground. Straining, he managed to turn his head just enough to watch the runabout, hovering thirty feet above the ground, pause just long enough to fire a volley of photon-bursts at what he now recognized as an old, battered ground-car. One of the blasts hit the car's fuel tank, and the vehicle burst into flames.

        The runabout lingered a moment, savoring the sight of the inferno, before pivoting around and speeding off into the darkened sky. In seconds, it was nothing more than another tiny speck of light moving slowly along the night sky.




And Now For A Message From Our Author:
Hi Everybody! Congratulations, you've finally reached the ending! Woohoo! Took me long enough, eh? And I'll have you know that, long as it is, it's still shorter than the first Kiwis in Space. My apologies for the enigmatic endings – just remember, if you kill me, you'll never find out what happens next! (Bet you thought Drake was just being his usual clueless self when he said he'd seen D'Gal in the bar! Haha!) Now if you'll forgive me, I need to go feed a certain creativity demon to my bird of doom. Ciao!


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