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The Invaders: Part II

Amber walked into her room quickly, slamming the door in Wild Wing's face. She quietly buried her head into a pillow and began to cry.
Wild Wing rubbed his beak gingerly. She was just about the most sour duck he'd ever met...and the most intriguing. Why did she react so strangely to Nose Dive? She didn't seem to know him, and he certainly didn't recognize her. So why would she be so frightened of him? "Maybe she has a fear of long hair..." Wing mused aloud.
Amber wiped her eyes and threw the pillow across the room. There was a mirror on the opposing wall, which the pillow hit. She paused as she trudged across the room to pick up the picture. Amber cautiously looked toward the mirror and at her reflexion. The face she saw staring back at her was too skinny, and too pale. Amber brushed a hand through her limp brown hair; she knew that she was the ugliest duck there could ever be.
Wild Wing swayed back and forth on his feet outside her door. He didn't feel comfortable just leaving Amber by herself at the moment. He wondered whether he should enter the room or not. Coughing he knocked on the door; she didn't lock it so it slid open. Nervously, he looked inside the room worrying about Amber's reaction. He noticed Amber in front of the mirror. "Beautiful..." Wild Wing murmured. Amber spun around realizing that some one else was there. Her mouth dropped open as she realized that the 'some one' was Wild Wing. 'Why won't he leave me alone?' she wondered. Amber knew how she was treating the ducks on the team, but Wild Wing continued to talk with her. The two made eye contact.
"I was, uh, wondering if you wanted anything tonight," Wild Wing stuttered.
"You don't have to act nice to me, I know you all hate me."
"No we don't."
Amber glared at Wild Wing, "Bullshit."
"Seriously," Wild Wing started again, "I don't hate you... I think you have a lot of potential." Amber paused, "Potential?"
"Yeah, potential," Wild Wing noticed Amber's slight change in attitude with mild flattery, "like when you took on Dragaunus alone... that was really brave and you have a lot of potential to fight evil." Amber took a step closer to Wild Wing.
"You just never give up, do you?"
Wild Wing smiled softly, "Come with me, I have something I think you should have." Amber looked up at Wild Wing hesitantly. How could she trust him? Amber bit her lip desparately wanting to tell him off for once and all, but she couldn't force the words out. Slowly she advanced toward him.
"Why are you being so nice?"she demanded. Wild Wing stepped back, slightly suprised. "What?"
"You don't have to lie to me, I know what all of you think about me... it's because of Mara, isn't it?!" Amber was trying to repel this guy for no apparent reason. Wild Wing looked in her eyes. It was obvious that Amber hated him, but he felt almost addicted to seeing those eyes. They were so unusual, a cold yellow glow seemed to pervade the entire room when she looked at him. They depressed Wild Wing, but oddly enough, he felt drawn to them.
"I don't hate you," he whispered. Amber stepped back completely shocked. Stuttering, Amber tried to find the right words to say but nothing came out correctly. Finally she looked down, "Might as well see what you got... I'm bored out of my mind here on this planet."
In Mallory's room, Tanya, Mal and Mara sat around in a circle. "I've never seen so many clothes." Mara murmured in awe.
Mal laughed, "Well, after a few days with us, you'll have just as many so you'd better get used to it."
Tanya turned to Mara, "Tomorrow we'll give you and...I'm sorry, what's the little one's name?"
"Amber." Mara replied.
Mallory sighed, "Such a beautiful name. It suits her eyes." Mara nodded. "Anyway," Tanya continued, "We'll give you both a physical and see how good you are at hockey. We already know you two can fight."
"What happens then?"
"If all goes well, you'll be Mighty Ducks by the end of tomorrow!"
Mara rolled her eyes, "What an awful name."
Mara laughed, "Sorry Tanya."
"Yeah, I guess I've just gotten used to it, that's all. You will too."
"Is that a threat?" Mara asked sarcastically. They all laughed.
"Time to tell you about all of us." Mallory announced. "First, there's Wild Wing. Best team captain in the universe...he's got a few self-esteem issues going on, though. Also our goalie, and a damn good one too."
Tanya nodded, "He's considered one of the best in the national hockey league, for short we call it the NHL. And, as I'm sure you've noticed, he's pretty cute without that mask. Mallory's got a crush on him."
Mallory blushed, "Don't mind her, she's been underneath that computer too long...those electric shocks really go to your head."
Mara laughed, "That would explain the hair."
Tanya smiled, "Hey! I'll have you know that this is the latest fasion among Puckworld scientists being hunted by the saurians." They all laughed again.
"Tanya's team tech, obviously enough, and the last friend SHE had was a baked potato with electrodes stuck into it!" Tanya stuck her toungue out at Mallory. "Frenchie was more of a friend than you'll ever be!" she yelled. More laughter. "Then there's Grin whose so mellow that we probably wouldn't notice he was dead until he began to decompose...but he's a sweetie."
"You're only saying that because you've got a thing for him." Mara said knowingly.
"Do not!" Tanya murmured defensively.
"She still in denial." Mal explained, "Now as for me, I'm the second in command, trained in military tactics and weaponry at the military academy on Puckworld."
Mara nodded, "Your father's General McMallard?"
Mallory nodded, "You've heard of him?"
Mara smiled, "Kindest army official that ever took a shot at me. Thieves everywhere have great respect for him." Mal shrugged her shoulders, "Gee...thanks?" Mara smiled, "Trust me, that's a compliment."
"Then there's that psycho Nose Dive. He's a real ham, but sometimes that's just what we need to keep our spirits up." Mara nodded, "He seems like a good kid."
"Yeah, but don't tell him I said so...he may get a swelled head."
"Then, last but not least, Duke L'Orange. Wild Wing's advisor and the voice of sense and maturity on the team (Editors Note: Scary, isn't it?). He's the understanding one that you bitch at when you have a problem. He also seems to enjoy corrupting Nose Dive's foul little mind by help him execute devious pranks on us."
Mara snickered, "I see."
Mallory smiled slyly, "he seems to get along well with you, Mara."
Mara blushed, "Well, he seems nice."
"And cute, huh Mara?" Mara glared at Tanya, "I suddenly have the feeling you two are trying to insinuate something."
"Oh c'mon, don't tell me you didn't notice the way he was looking at you."
"Or the way you were looking at him." Tanya added in with an evil smile.
"Well, he IS my worst enemy... I was just trying to make sure he didn't try and pull a gun on me." Mara explained quickly.
"He's a sweet guy." Mal assured her, "Our show makes him out to be a player, but he's really the best behaved out of the bunch."
Tanya nodded, "Yeah, he didn't look in on me when I was taking a shower." She muttered heatedly. Mara and Mal snickered. "IT WASN'T FUNNY!" Tanya yelled in exasperation. Mallory looked over at Mara.
"Are you sure you don't have a crush on Duke? I really think he likes you, and you'd look REALLY cute together." Mara blushed once more, placing two fingers across her beak.
"No more about Duke."
"Alright," Tanya said with a sigh, "Why don't you tell us about Amber?" Mara hesitated squirming.
"Well... I don't know her all that well..." Mallory and Tanya looked at each other quickly then back at Mara, "But isn't she your sister?"
"Well, yeah, half actually... she's always been on her own. I only met her maybe 5 years ago so I don't know her that well, and she's changed a lot since then." Mara sighed, "She used to be so nice and sweet and funny... really innocent. I don't know what caused the change, but she became so bitter and cold...she won't even let me near her. She acts as if she hates me."
"She doesn't hate you," Mallory said soothingly, "Trust us. She just looks like she's having a hard time right now." Mara sighed depressed.
"I hope you two are right."
"Awww come on, of course we are! We're ALWAYS right!! Besides, we have to initiate you," Tanya smiled.
"Initiate?" Immediately Mallory and Tanya hurled pillows at Mara.
"That's it! This is WAR!" The three laughed as they began a huge pillow fight.
"Admitt it Grinster, when are you asking Tanya out?" Nose Dive asked again. Grin rolled his eyes.
"I'm not."
"Oh Come On!"
"Nose Dive, why don't you become in contact with your innerself and admit that you're really avoiding it."
"Avoiding what?" Grin smiled evily with his chance at payback. "I saw you checking out that bitch before." Nose Dive slapped Grin.
"Come on Man, get a grip. She's fucking flat for God's sake! And what about those weird eyes and her face is so plain."
"You like her."
"Do not."
"Do too."
"Do not."
"Do... hey, look!" Grin pointed down the hallway as Amber walked out of her room... with Wild Wing... and into Wild Wing's room. Nose Dive began laughing hysterically, "Wild Wing likes the Bitch!!!"
Grin smiled, "And you know what this means?" The two pulled out shades and pressed their commlinks to change their outfits into black suits.
"Blackmail," the two said simultaniously. The two crept down the hallway outside of Wild Wing's room and put their ears to the door (Editors' Note: do ducks HAVE ears?!).
Amber looked around for a second before holding a blaster to Wild Wing's head. "Alright, what's the big FUCKING IDEA?!"
"This is a bedroom! What the hell are you gonna do? RAPE ME?!" Wild Wing looked at Amber and burst out laughing. Amber's hand began shaking as Wild Wing fell on the ground, still laughing. "You... you can't be serious, hahahaha!" He laughed, "This is my room... I wanted to let you play air hockey and have something of mine." Amber lowered her gun, still giving Wild Wing a suspicious look. Wild Wing reached under his bed for something as Amber looked around nervously. It was a nice room equipped with sports gear. Amber looked at the hockey posters on the wall of the team pausing at Nose Dive's.
"Found it." Amber quickly darted her eyes away from it to face Wild Wing. He held up a small boom box. "This is for you. I figure you could use it." Amber looked at him choking back her suprise.
"Won't you be needing it?"
"Nah, I got six already. Take it, there's already a CD in it."
Amber looked at Wild Wing. "Uh... thank you," She sqeaked before running out of the room and tripping over Nose Dive.
"WHAT THE FUCK?!" Amber yelled looking at Nose Dive and Grin in the black tuxes and shades. Nose Dive jumped up uncomfortably rubbing the back of his neck with his hand.
"Uh, we were just uh..."
"Invading!!! That's what!" Amber glared and stormed off across the hallway into her room and slammed the door. Nose Dive shook his head and whispered, "I thought that you and your sister were the invaders here."
Duke poked his head out of his door. If he didn't know any better, he'd think that Nose Dive had a crush on Amber.
Wild Wing stepped into the hall and watched as Amber ran off to her room. Duke sighed... and it looked like Dive's older brother felt the same way.
"What was all that about?" Wild Wing asked Nose Dive.
"Grin and I were listening in at the door. We just wanted to hear what you guys were doing in there. So she came out and saw us, and flipped out." Wild Wing shook his head, "Nose Dive, you know better than to spy on people like that."
"No I don't." Nose Dive muttered.
"Why are you so pushed out of shape?" Wild Wing asked, "If that had been Mallory, you wouldn't have cared if she'd yelled at you. What's going on?"
Nose Dive glared at him, "I should be asking you that, Wing. That girl's been on the team for two hours and you're already taking her into your room." Wild Wing stepped back, suprised.
"I-I'm just trying to be nice; she doesn't feel comfortable here, that's all. I'm sorry Dive; I didn't know you liked her."
"I don't like her." Nose Dive snapped, "So go ahead and make her feel as comfortable as you want." Nose Dive began to walk away, changing into his regular outfit.
"What's your problem?!" Wild Wing called out to him angrily. "My problem is that YOU were supposed to be the RESPONSIBLE one!" Wild Wing went into his room angrily, locking the door behind him. Nose Dive shook his head and stormed off towards the kitchen. Hearing someone call his name, he turned back around. He was suprised to see Duke looking at him wearily from his doorway.
"A word to the wise, Nose Dive." Duke said quietly, "Even leaders need a life of their own." Nose Dive thought about that carefully.
"Thanks Duke." Duke nodded, "Anytime, Nose Dive." Nose Dive smiled at him gratefully and cotinued to walk to the kitchen, now much more relaxed. Duke was about to walk back into his room when he heard laughter. It was coming from Mallory's room. He walked over and opened the door...and got hit with a pillow almost immediately.
"Hello ladies." he said, tossing the pillow back onto the floor.
"Oh Duke, we're so sorry! You should know better than to walk into a room unarmed in the middle of a battle." Mal explained. Tanya looked up at him.
"What are you doing?" Duke looked around, "Getting hit by pillows?" he murmured. Tanya shook her head, standing up.
"No, I mean, why are you awake?" She walked over to him and took his pulse.
"That stuff I gave you should've knocked you out until tomorrow afternoon!"
"Well that's comforting." Duke said, yawning. Tanya lead him over to the bed.
"Sit down." Duke sat down obediantly, watching as Mallory and Mara picked up pillows. "Oh, I'm sorry I interupted your fight." Mara smiled at him comfortingly, "Forget about it; we'd much rather torment you." Tanya reached into her small bag and pulled out her omnitool. "Roll up your sleeve, I'm gonna take your blood pressure...maybe the drug just didn't take...if your blood pressure isn't too low I'll give you another dose."
Duke shook his head stubbornly, "I don't wanna go back to sleep...I-I can remember things now."
"Oh can you?" Duke nodded. "Alright, what's my full name?"
"Tanya Erin Vanderflock." Duke said confidently. Tanya looked at him in shock, "Who told you my middle name?!"
Duke smiled, "Wild Wing."
"Remind me to hurt him...soon. Does Grin know?" Duke nodded. "How embarassing! I HATE my middle name."
"It's a perfectly nice middle name, it suits you." Mara said comfortingly.
"Oh yeah? Do YOU have a middle name?"
"No. I'm perfectly happy with my name."
Duke smiled evilly, "That's because you made it up." Mara looked up, "What?!"
"C'mon, don't you think I'd read the Guild's file on my worst enemy?"
"If you tell anyone my real name I'll kill you...better yet, I'll tell them YOUR real name." Now it was Duke's turn to be suprised, "What?!" Mara looked at him smugly, "Don't you think I'D read the Guild's file on my worst enemy??" Duke smiled despite himself.
"Touche." Tanya put away her omnitool, "Well, I'm convinced. Alright Duke, you're off the hook." Duke cheered happily. "BUT..." Tanya added in quickly.
Duke frowned, "But what?"
"But only if you go to bed right now."
"You are NO FUN!"
"Scram before I change my mind." Duke got up to leave.
"Hey Mara," Mallory said with a smile, "It's time for us to get to sleep too...his room's right next to yours, so why don't you go make sure he goes to bed?" Mara glared at her angrily, feeling herself blush.
"Sure, fine by me." Duke and Mara walked out together. Mallory smiled, "I'm gonna pay for that later."
"Yeah." Tanya said with a smile, "but it was worth it! Goodnight, Mal."
"Goodnight, Taunny!" Mal called out as Tanya walked back to her room.
Duke opened the door to his room and stepped aside, "Ladies first." Mara walked in happily, "Well technically I'm not a lady, but if you insist." Duke laughed, "Well, thanks for babysitting me, but I promise I won't run off."
"Please, do you really think I'm gonna believe you."
"If you want the truth, even I don't believe me anymore!" Mara giggled, sitting down in a chair. She looked around. The room was nowhere near as cluttered with things as Mallory's was. Everyone's living quarters here seemed to consist of two joined rooms and a bathroom. The second room in Duke's quarters was where he kept his bed and a training mat spread along the floor...commonly used for sabering practice.
"Like my room?"
"I love it." Mara replied without hesitation.
Duke smiled at her, "I'm glad to hear it."
Mara shook her head, "I still don't see how Amber could think she knew you...I mean, she didn't really socialize much outside of her work...oh! I nearly forgot, she worked at Chase's Place, that was-"
"Yeah," Duke cut her off, "My gang's main hang-out...she was a waitress? She's awfully young."
"Yes, I know, but she loved it there so much...and I don't think it did her any harm. She was dating your apprentice actually... come to think of it... I DO seem to remember her mentioning you!"
Duke looked up, "My apprentice? Jake..." Duke frowned slightly. Jake's disappearance was still just a little too painful for him to think about. Mara walked over to him.
"I'm so sorry." Duke looked up at her.
"Thanks, I'm alright."
"Are you?" Mara asked gently.
Duke stood up, shaking his head, "I've been trying to block him from my mind ever since it happened...I spent months searching for him. I couldn't help thinking that-" Duke paused, looking down at the ground, "-that somehow it was my fault." Mara put a hand on his shoulder.
"I knew Jake, I'd met him quite a few times on were like a brother to him. He looked up to you more than anyone else. You did everything you could to try and help him, it's not your fault."
Duke nodded, "I guess so..." he looked over at Mara, "Thank you."
Mara shrugged, "Forget it." Duke put a hand on her arm.
"No, I mean it. I've never told anyone that before...I'm usually the one that ends up listening to everyone else's problems. It's nice to have someone listen to me for a change."
"I'll always be happy to listen. I'm not sure why, but you're the one I feel most comfortable with here."
Duke smiled, "Thieves of a feather stick together, I suppose."
Mara laughed, "That's one way of putting it."
"Here, I've got something to show'll like it." He brought her into the second room and pointed to the wall by his bed. Mara's eyes brightened. Hanging on the wall over his bed was an ancient sword, still in it's sheath.
"It's beautiful." She murmured, stepping closer to run a hand over it. "16 karat gold was handcrafted, wasn't it? can tell by the markings on the side. How long does this date back? No less than five hundred years, it looks like. Of course this planet may have a different backround than ours..." Duke laughed. "What?" Mara asked with a smile, turning to face him.
Duke shook his head, "When I found this about a year ago I was one understood why."
Mara laughed, "Well, now we can make fools of ourselves together." They both laughed.
"May I?" Mara asked, pointing to the sword.
"Feel free." Duke said. Mara gently lifted the sword off the wall and took it out of it's sheath.
"It's useless, of course." Duke said.
"Of course. The blade's made of pure silver."
Duke paused, "Silver..." He sat down, his memory flooding back to him. "Amber...I remember! Amber Lorraine VanDrake! Oh, the poor kid, how could I have forgotten?! Wait, it's no wonder I didn't recognize her... she always used to be smiling... and what happened to her eyes?! They used to be silver."
Mara nodded sadly, "We had a run-in with the Saurians on Puckworld...we got separated during the fight and they threw a chemical directly into her eyes...she was blind for two weeks...when she finally did recover her vision, her eyes were amber colored."
Duke shook his head, "Poor Amber...I gotta talk to her."
"Please, try to help her...and promise me you'll go right to bed after you're done."
"Wait here for me. I'll tell you how it went. Feel free to use anything you want in here."
"Well if you insist."
"I do." Duke said with a grin. "Back in a while." He walked out.
Amber sat in her room, staring down at the boom box in her lap. She hadn't recieved a present in years, the last gift she received was a silver chain with a piece of amber on it. Slowly, she ran her fingers over the necklace. She sighed and put the boombox on the ground. Maybe she could go easy on Wild Wing...
"But why should I?! No one's ever been easy on me. They all hate me anyway; Why should I do them any favors?!" She muttered angrily.
"Because we don't hate you." She looked up to see Duke standing in the doorway. Amber smiled at him quickly, but it soon turned to a frown.
"What do you want?" she spat out angrily.
"Forgotten my name?" Duke paused, slightly hurt by her words. "C'mon Short stuff, how long could I go without remembering you?" Amber looked up in suprise.
"You called me..." she trailed off as Duke smiled at her. Amber ran into his arms, "Duke, you remember me!!"
Duke laughed, "Hey, watch it! You tryin' to kill me?" Amber let him go.
"I'm sorry I snapped at you...I just got so mad when you didn't remember me-"
"Because I nearly got my head snapped off when Seige decided to take up volley ball with hand grenades?" Duke cut her off, "How could you possibly expect me to remember you after that AND what happened to Jake?! Maybe I should be mad at YOU." Amber looked at the ground.
"I guess you're right."
"Aww, I'm not mad at you Short stuff, you know that. But what the hell happened to you?! You're acting like a total monster!"
"You would too if the love of your life had left you!" Amber snapped. She sat down on her bed, "Oh yeah, he left you too..."
"...and it may not have been his fault. Any number of things could've happened to him. Is that why you're so upset?" Duke asked gently, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"! Look, I've got my own reasons... it's just the way I am and I don't have to answer any of your damn questions!"
"No, you don't." Duke said calmly, "and I won't push you, but if you keep being such a bitch, people WILL begin to hate you! And it'll be nobody's fault but yours."
Amber sighed, "I don't care, I really just don't care anymore. Jake, that boy that looks just like him... what's his name?"
"Nose Dive..." Duke murmured. No wonder she'd freaked out when she saw him...the resemblance was quite uncanny. "...and my eyes." Amber continued, "I had something to be proud of when my eyes were silver! Silver eyes are the mark of a VanDrake, you know that! Something to remember my father by. Look at them now. I look like a freak."
"Please, GRIN's freakier than you are! Now you're name matches your eyes, and if I do say so myself, they're very unique."
Amber smiled weakly at him, "Thanks Duke...what happened to YOUR eye?"
"I had a small encounter with the Saurians myself right after I joined the resistance...the others weren't around just yet. Wraith was hold me for questioning, and he got a little impatient with me, so he clawed my face. Scratched the cornea of my eye; I can't see out of it at all...unless I wear this." He pointed to his eyepatch. Amber nodded her head.
" a bad kinda way."
Duke laughed, "Thanks, Short stuff."
"So how long have you been here?"
"About a year now. Besides fighting Dragaunus, we're also a professional hockey team and world famous heroes."
Amber frowned, "But if you're just hockey players, then how did you afford all this shit?"
"Earth is diffent than Puckworld, Short stuff. Hockey players here make hundreds of thousands of dollars...even up in the millions. I'm rich." Amber looked at him in amazement.
"You? Rich? Wow...this world IS really screwed!" Duke glared at her.
"Gee, thanks. You're gonna be rich too, you know."
"We want you to join the team. We're gonna give you a hockey proficiency test could pass that blind folded...I've seen you play."
Amber nodded, "That'd be cool. So you really want me on the team, even though I'm alittle rusty?"
"Yeah, both of you."
"Both? Who else...oh yeah, Mara."
"Yeah..." Duke muttered, "The Lady Smuggler...your sister. Funny how you never mentioned that on Puckworld when you were dating my apprentice!"
Amber blushed a little, "Uh...slipped my mind?"
Duke shrugged, "Well, I guess I can understand why you didn't tell me. We WERE worst enemies. Besides, why would you bother to mention a sister if you hated her?" Amber looked at Duke with suprise.
"Don't you? You sure act like it."
"I love my sister..."
"Doesn't seem like you do."
Amber stood up and pointed toward the door, "Get out."
Duke looked at her with suprise and hurt, "Sorry...I didn't mean to upset you...I missed you, Short stuff; I'd almost forgotten what it was like to have a loving, understanding friend around," he muttered sarcastically. Duke walked out of the room.
Amber clenched her right fist with the black biker glove on it before yelling after Duke, "AND I JUST DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOU OR YOUR STUPID HOCKEY TEAM!!!" Amber pushed the door shut and turned her back to it, slamming the back of her head against the door. Sobbing, she slid to the floor screaming, "I HATE MY LIFE! I HATE THIS WORLD!" Amber banged her fist against the floor, accidently hitting the boombox Wild Wing had given her. Loud guitar music played and she listened to the beat, "Don't you love the life you Killed, the priest is on the phone, your father hit the wall, your mom disowned you,"
Amber backed away from the boombox, knees shaking wildly and heart racing. Quickly, she ran out of her room, and made her way to the elevator. She pushed the button marked 'roof' and sat down on the floor of the elevator... she just needed to be alone. When the elevator hit the roof, she quickly ran out, looking around. It was the roof alright; the roof of the Pond. From where she stood she could see most of Anaheim. Pushing her hair out of her face, Amber sat down on the edge of the building with her legs over the side and sighed, "He's right...I AM a monster." Amber muttered unhappily looking down at the racing traffic and glaring lights below.
Duke slammed his fist against the wall. Of course... it made perfect sense; he tries to make one of his friends feel better and he ends up completely screwing it up by saying the wrong thing. "What the hell is wrong with me?" he murmured unhappily. Now Amber hated him, too. "A lot of good I did." He growled, opening his door. Duke walked in with a sigh. He stopped at the open doorway to the second room and smiled; Mara had fallen fast asleep on his bed. Duke looked at his watch. No wonder... he'd been gone for nearly two hours. It was 1:30 in the morning already. Duke quietly walked over and pulled the blanket over her. He sighed happily as she smiled warmly in her sleep. Duke quietly walked into the first room and laid down on the couch. No need to wake her up just to tell her he was back. She'd wake up soon enough, and when she did, Duke would be waiting for her...
Amber picked up a small rock. She tossed it up in the air, catching it in her right hand seconds before it fell off the roof with amazing reflexes. Her right hand was her best by far. It was her strongest, her easiest to use, and strangely enough, it looked almost flawless in appearance. If someone took a close enough look, they might actually believe it wasn't real... and they would be right.
Amber carefully examined her metallic hand; not for the first time, either. Amber twitched slightly in pain. She sighed, putting her hand down. Phantom pain. That's what the doctor had called it. Whenever a patient loses a limb they often experience artificial pain from that limb... as if it were still there. Of course, even during the Saurian wars, Puckworld's medical technology was advanced enough to give her a bionic limb that actually felt and acted realistic. But still, Amber knew it wasn't really there...and that's what brought the pain.
Amber sighed, throwing the rock as far as she could off of the roof. She narrowed her eyes watching it as it went through the air and landed on a building 450 yards away. "I don't hate you, Mara Jade..." Amber whispered to herself, "...then why do I treat you so badly? And Duke?"
Duke opened his eyes to see the door to his room open. Turning towards the bed, he saw no trace of Mara. Duke wondered if Tanya's medication hadn't made him hallucinate the whole thing... What if Mara Jade wasn't real? And Amber? Duke shook his head slowly, refusing to believe that none of it had happened. Walking through the corridors toward the kitchen he held his breath; Mara was sitting on one of the stools by the counter drinking tea. Duke stared at her in silence for a few moments.
"Mara." he whispered softly. She turned around to face him, gazing into his eyes.
"HEY, WHO TOOK MY COCOA PUFFS?!?!?!" They broke eye contact as Nose Dive frantically pulled the cabinets apart. Duke began to smile, but paused, noticing the eerie silence. Amber stood in the doorway, hair unkempt and her clothes wrinkled and ripped. Mara stood up, concerned. "Amber, are you okay?" Amber's cold yellow eyes danced with fire.
"I wanna go."
"But Amber, you know we can't, you said the SkyBird was destroyed..."
"I mean, I wanna get outta this place. I'll be back sooner or later... if I feel like it." She turned around and pulled her leather jacket up higher around her neck as she walked out. Once on the streets, Amber pulled out her rollerblades and quickly sped off. Duke watched her through the window depressed.
"Yes Mara?"
"How was the talk with Amber last night?" Duke was pale. He turned away feeling his mouth grow dry; he couldn't answer her.
"Glad to see she's in a better mood today." Dive muttered, slamming the cabinet door, "Maybe in another month or so she'll manage a smile." Mara looked at him, slightly hurt. Nose Dive recoiled, "Sorry Mara, it's kinda early, guess I didn't get much sleep last night.
"Forget about it, I know the feeling. By the way, the Cocoa Puffs are on the counter." Nose Dive looked over at the counter.
"I knew that!" He yelled.
"Uh huh, sure ya did," Mara teased. Nose Dive shook his head as he opened the box. Pulling out the carton of milk from the refridgerator, he opened it and poured milk in his mouth. Then he opened the cocoa puff's box and poured cocoa puffs in his mouth. Closing his mouth, he shook his head from side to side and swallowed. The others looked at him with amazement and disgust. Nose Dive looked confused, "What? Want some?"
Amber skated away from the Pond as fast as she could. She had to get out of this place before she cracked. Hopping a curb onto the pavement, she skidded into a guy with dyed red hair and glasses.
"Hey, watch it kid." he said defensively.
"Move it ya punk, stop hogging the way," Amber spit back.
"Dude, are you like another one of the Mighty Ducks that's comming in from the big invasion and...?" Amber shoved him out of the way, skating at full speed. Shaking his head, he walked to a local payphone and dialed a number.
"Heylo, you've reached the Mighty Ducks Love Line, this is Nose Dive, your numero uno lovey-duckey! Caller, you're on the air!"
"It's me, Dive. By any chance are you recruiting?" Nose Dive paused in the recording studio, looking at Grin.
"Uh, that's all the time we have for on today's show... Love Bites!" After switching off the 'on air' button, Nose Dive picked up the phone, "Thrash, man what happened?"
"Look, I ran into this bad ass duck, and I've seen that Mara one around... so who's this bitch?"
"Amber. She's Mara's little half-sister."
"Kinda rude ain't she?"
"Yeah." Nose Dive whispered.
"Well, I just wanted to let you know that she was heading toward West 25th avenue on Longely... you might wanna keep an eye out for her there cuz that's the Vibe's territory." Nose Dive nearly dropped the phone; the Vibe was a new gang in town. They were notorious for rape and then murder.
"I'll be right on it Thrash." Hanging up the phone, he grabbed a helmet and ran out to the garage. Hopping on one of the Duck Cycles, he sped off into the normally peaceful Anaheim streets.
Mara walked outside and closed her eyes in the sun's warmth. It felt good to be away from the freezing cold of Puckworld. Hearing laughter behind her, she turned to see Tanya, Duke, and Grin walking down the sidewalk each holding brightly colored guns. Mara shook her head, "You guys shouldn't be waving those things around in public."
Tanya laughed, "Aw come on, it's fun." Mara gave Tanya a wary eye as Tanya began swinging the gun around her finger. Suddenly, Tanya spun toward Grin and shot. Mara turned quickly, knocking Grin to the ground.
"What the hell are you doing?!" Mara asked in shock. Duke laughed lightly and brought one of the guns to Mara.
"These are called water guns... in the hot weather, they're used as a way to cool off."
Mara blushed slightly, "Ooops."
"It's okay, how were you supposed to know?" Duke reassured her.
"You really think so?"
"I'm positive." "Only fools are positive." Mara teased.
"Are you sure?"Duke asked
"I'm positive."
Duke smiled, "But I thought you said only fools were posi... HEY!" Duke was interupted as Mara squirted him in the face with his water gun.
"I think I'm getting the hang of it." Mara said playfully. Duke glared at her.
"You're goin' down, Sweetheart!" Duke ran after her, trying to grab his gun back. He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her to the ground, taking the gun out of Mara's hand and squirting her with it. They both struggled to get the gun, still on the ground, until they realized it was empty.
"Rookie." Duke muttered, throwing the gun to the side. Mara smiled, looking into Duke's eyes. He returned the smile affectionately.
"AWWW YOU TWO ARE SOOO CUTE!" The two broke their gaze as Tanya yelled out in a loud, annoying voice. Duke and Mara glared at her angrily. Tanya looked back at them blankly, "What?"
Nose Dive swerved to the side of the road, narrowly avoiding a large truck. "Same to you too, Jackass!" He yelled angrily in response to the driver's horn. Nose Dive darted his eyes to the sign ahead; almost there...
Amber walked along the street slowly, avoiding the strange looks she got from other pedestrians. All she wanted was some time alone to think...
"Well, well. Take a look boys; the ugly duckling took a walk into the wrong part of town." A group of humans gathered around, jeering at her. Amber looked at each one in turn; some held knives, some guns, and others, chains, but they all had one thing in common... the leather jacket with the words 'The Vibe' scrawled on the back of it.
"Outta my way." Amber muttered darkly.
"You forgot to say please." One said, extending his knife to her throat.
"Go ahead," Amber said, refusing to be intimidated, "get it over with."
"If you insist." He said. Nose Dive walked out.
"Hey guys, what's up?" They all turned and looked at him.
"Another one. What the hell is this, a convention?!"
Nose Dive shook his head, "Nah, just a friendly visit. I was lookin' for her, actually." He walked over to Amber. "I wouldn't want her to get her throat slit without sayin' goodbye to the others first, so if you'll excuse me we'll be going."
"Not so fast." The leader said quickly, closing off the exit, "We've barely gotten to know you." The men around him laughed. "Why don't you stick around for a while?" Nose Dive pulled out his gun.
"You wanna piece of me, Pal?"
"As a matter of fact, I do." The guy growled, charging at him. After a few moments struggle, the gang ran off. Nose Dive looked over at Amber who was sitting on a garbage can nearby, glaring at him.
"You're welcome." Nose Dive muttered.
"What the hell is your problem, following me like that?!" Amber snapped.
"I saved your life." Nose Dive muttered, looking down at his arm, which had begun to bleed.
"I don't need a babysitter!"
"Then don't run off to pout like a two year old!" Nose Dive shouted back.
Amber turned bright red, "What right do you have to talk to me like that?"
Nose Dive looked straight at her, "What right do you have to insult my friends? What right do you have to yell at me because I had the stupidity to care about you?!" He turned away from her quickly, "I was just trying to help, that's all. I'll leave you alone now." Amber watched as he walked off.
"That arm of your is gonna get infected if you don't treat it." She murmured, "I don't expect a kid like you to know how to fix it on your own; better let me do it." Amber pulled out a small first-aid kit. Nose Dive sat down on a garbage can next to her warily.
"Thanks." he said quietly.
"I dunno why you all make it such a point to be so goddamn nice to everyone. That's gonna get you into trouble sooner or later." She said softly, wiping his gash with a disinfecting cloth.
"Apology accepted." Nose Dive said with a small smile, "I- OOOOWWWWW!! Man, that stings like a bitch!"
Amber laughed, "Wuss." Nose Dive looked over at her.
"You know, I think that's the first time I heard you laugh."
Amber frowned quickly, "Well don't get used to it unless you're planned on getting shot again." she said harshly. Nose Dive glared at her, but let it go.
"Wanna ride back to the Pond?"
Amber shrugged, "I've got nothing better to do. I guess so." Dive put his helmet on.
"Wouldn't want Wild Wing to get anxious about you, would we?" he mumbled to himself.
"Did you say something?"
"Nothing." Nose Dive replied darkly, "Let's go." When they got there Amber slid off the back of Dive's duckcycle and walked out of the garage without so much as looking back. Nose Dive took off his helmet and sighed, silently promising himself never to waste his time by trying to be nice to her ever again...
As she walked in, Amber looked around the room. Tanya looked away from Drake 1's computer screen and smiled at her, "Hi. How are you feeling?"
"Who are you?"
"My name's Tanya." She replied quietly, remembering Amber's behavior the previous night.
"Where's Mara?"
"I'm not sure, she and Duke went out somewhere...Want me to call them? Duke always has his communicator on him." Amber thought a moment.
"No. Tell me when she comes in...please."
Tanya nodded, "Sure, no problem." Amber began to exit, but stopped, turning back to Tanya.
"Uh, thank you." Tanya smiled at her kindly, looking back to Drake 1. Amber smiled to herself as she walked to her room. That wasn't so bad...
Reaching the door to her room, Amber paused. She took a deep breath and crossed the hallway. Quickly, she knocked on the door.
"Yeah, what's-" Wild Wing halted mid-sentence, seeing Amber. "Amber..."
Mara laughed, stepping out of the elevator. "I don't believe you!" Duke held his hands up defensively.
"I swear! Thieve's honor, I saw it with my own eyes!" Mara sat down on the back of the couch.
"So what did Grin say when he found out?" Duke looked around quickly before sitting beside her and whispering something in her ear. Mara giggled. Studying Duke's face for a moment she jumped up and walked towards the kitchen.
"No! I don't believe you!" Duke laughed following her.
"Alright, fine then. Go ahead, DON'T believe me! Not like I'm offended or anything..." He turned his back to her, pretending to pout.
Mara rolled here eyes, "Cry me a fuckin' river." she said sarcastically. Turning back to her, Duke laughed. Mara looked up at him, smiling. Gazing into her eyes, Duke sat down on the counter. They were a glowing shade of light green, hence the name 'Jade', and something about them captured him...he found it difficult to look away from them.
"Have your eyes always been that bright?" He asked gently. Mara nodded, looking away from him when he mentioned her eyes.
"Yeah." She muttered unhappily, "I'm the only person I know whose eyes glow in the dark." Duke tilted his head slightly.
"I think they're beautiful."
"I do. What with the smoke grey feathers and the jet black're eyes really stand out beautifully."
Mara blushed, "Well, I...thank you..."
"Awww, have I embarassed you? Good!"
Mara glared at him, "Oh yeah? Well what's to stop me from talking about that accent of yours?"
Duke smiled at her, "The fact that I'm armed."
"What, with an empty water gun?" Duke and Mara smiled at each other for a few moments.
"Oh!" Duke said, suddenly coming to his senses, "Where the hell are my manners? I forgot all about dinner; you're probably starving."
"No, not at all. We just had lunch, remember? We can't have been gone more then an hour or so." Duke looked down at his watch and gasped in shock.
"This can't be right, my watch says it's almost midnight!"
"Midnight?!" Mara repeated. She looked at a clock on the wall. 11:47 PM.
"I guess I sorta lost track of time..." Duke murmured. Mara nodded in agreement.
"Me too." They looked at each other momentarily.
"Well, I suppose I outta go talk with Wild Wing about getting you two on the team..." Duke trailed off. Mara smiled at him.
"I guess I should be getting to bed. Well, see you tomorrow, Duke."
"Goodnight Mara." Duke watched as she walked down the hallway to her room. Turning her head to catch one last glimpse of him, Mara stepped into her room, closing the door behind her.
"Hi Mara." Mara turned quickly to see Amber looking at her.
"Amber, hi." Mara sat down on a couch nearby, unsure of what to say. Amber sat down beside her.
"I don't hate you." Amber said quietly.
Mara looked at her happily, "Really?" she murmured. Amber frowned, tuning from her.
"So you DID think I hated you..."
"No, not at all!" Mara said comfortingly, struggling with what to say, "I just...well..."
"You did. I know you did, so don't deny it. You don't need to spare my feelings, Mara, You had good reason to think I hated you." Mara looked at her silently. Amber evaded her eyes.
"So, I don't hate you. Okay?" Mara nodded, smiling faintly.
"What are you smiling at?" Amber asked, partly in jest.
"The fact that you can't bring yourself to say you're sorry." Mara replied softly. Amber looked at her carefully, a smile slowly coming to her face. They both burst out laughing.
"I missed you, Amber."
"I missed you too, Mara."
"So how long have you been waiting in here to ambush me?" Mara asked.
"Oh, not even an hour."
"I'm sorry I kept you waiting."
Amber smiled evily, "So...where've you been all night?"
Mara blushed, "Oh, nowhere special...I went out."
"With Duke." Amber added.
"Yeah, so?"
"So..." Amber continued, "You've been out with Duke for the past twelve hours. What exactly were you two up to?" Mara stood up, putting her hands on her hips.
"I don't need to be checked up on by my YOUNGER sister!" she said with mocking indignity.
"I'm not checking up on you." Amber said innocently, "I was just wondering. You gotta admit, when a young, single lady starts spending all of her time with a young, handsome, ALSO single looks a bit suspicious." Mara blushed brightly. "Oh Mara," Amber teased, "Don't be upset! I think Duke would make a wonderful older brother!" Mara hit her with a pillow.
"You little elf!" She yelled happily, "I should tell Wild Wing what you REALLY think of him!"
Amber paused, "And what exactly do you mean by that?"
"Well Amber, you gotta admit, when a young, single lady..." Amber cut her off, throwing a pillow at her. Mara laughed, "Oh, come on! I KNOW you like him!"
"Do not!" Amber shrieked.
"Yeah. Sure."
"Are you patronizing me?" Amber asked.
Mara patted her on the head, "Who me? No, not at all! Would a lollypop make you feel better? Or perhaps an enima?"
"I DO NOT like him!"
"ME? Like HER?!" Duke shook his head in reply.
"Wild Wing, you're a bad actor, and an even worse liar. Out with it."
"No! You don't understand! I CAN'T like her! I'm the leader-"
Duke laughed, "Understand? I can hear myself saying the exact same thing to one of my friends four years ago. I understand completely; what if she doesn't like me? How can I divide my attention between her and the team fairly?" Wild Wing shifted his eyes towards the ground. "But Wing, believe me, I feels a lot worse never knowing what could have been. I let her slip right out of my hands...never even found out if she liked me or not. I don't want that to happen to you." Duke put a hand on his shoulder, "If you like her, don't just sit there, DO something about it."
Wild Wing turned to face him, "You think I have a chance?" Duke sat down slowly.
"Do you want the truth?"
"What kind of a question is that, Duke?! You're my advisor, so advise me!"
"I think she's completely wrong for you. I think that if you DO get together it will end...badly." He paused, looking at Wild Wing, "But I can see that you like her, and that you're not going to be happy until you find that out for yourself." Wild Wing took his advice in soberly.
"Besides," Wild Wing said with a smile, "how often have you been right about these things?" Duke laughed, getting up.
"Take good care of her, Wing. That kid's like a sister to me."
"Especially since you met Mara, huh Duke?" Duke glared at him, his face becoming a bit flushed.
"Shut up you nauseating adolescant."
"Oh come on, admit it," Wild Wing teased.
Duke glared at him, "Those in glass houses, Wing..." Duke trailed off, walking toward the door.
"You know, there's more than one lousy actor in here..." Wild Wing called after him.
Amber looked at the door after Mara had left. She would never admit that Mara was right; she couldn't! Sighing, she flopped down on her bed and gazed at the ceiling. "Why didn't you just fuck off, Wild Wing?" she muttered.
Mallory leaned against the door twirling a piece of her hair around her finger. "So, do you think I should ask him, Tanya?" Mallory giggled, "He tried to ask me out yesterday...I think he still likes me. Nineteen isn't that young anyway, is it?" Tanya smiled at her approvingly. Mallory had been working up the nerve to do this for a long time...
"Go for it. He's a sweet guy and besides, it's not like he'd ever say no, Mal. He's CRAZY about you!"
"Alright then, I will!" Mallory said confidently. "Wish me luck!"
"Not like you need it!" Tanya cheered on as Mallory left insearch of Wild Wing. She tapped on his door lightly. Not hearing an answer she opened the door. "Empty?" Mallory questioned. Shrugging her shoulders she headed down the corridors pausing outside Amber's room. "Nah," she said and walked to the next room.
Loud yelling shot through the doors. Mallory hesitated; she hated evesdropping but then again could she trust what was being said? Pressing her ear against the door she gasped as she heard, "I DO NOT LIKE HER!" Mallory's face turned pale; the voice belonged to Wild Wing. Could he possibly be talking about her? "Wild Wing, you're a bad actor, and an even worse liar. Out with it," Duke's voice boomed through the door.
"No. You don't understand! I CAN'T like her! I'm the leader-"
"Understand? I can hear myself saying the exact same thing to one of my friends four years ago. I understand completely; what if she doesn't like me? How can I divide my attention between her and the team fairly? But Wing, believe me, I feels a lot worse never knowing what could have been. I let her slip right out of my hands...never even found out if she liked me or not. I don't want that to happen to you. If you like her, don't just sit there, DO something about it." Wild Wing's voice quietly replied.
"You think I have a chance?" Mallory held her breath; Wild Wing was going to ask her out. She sighed happily resting her head against the door to listen once more.
"Take good care of her, Wing. That kid's like a sister to me."
'Sister?' Mallory thought, eyes opening widely.
"Especially since you met Mara, huh Duke?" Mallory stepped away from the door. She backed down the hallway into her room again.
"No, it cant be," she mused outloud to herself, "Wild Wing likes... Amber?" Tanya smiled at Mallory's entrance, "SOOOOOOOOO?" Mallory ignored Tanya and proceded through the room.
"Asking out a younger duck would be way too immature... besides, I can do better." Tanya stared shocked at Mallory.
"Do better than Wild Wing... he's responsible and nice and sweet..."
Mallory shrugged her shoulders, "There are cuter guys, besides, he's such a wuss." Mallory flopped down on her bed.
"Hey Taunny, how about we go clubbing tonight?" Tanya cautiously replied.
"I'm not so sure..."
"We're going." Twenty minutes later, Tanya was still protesting as Mallory pulled her through the Pond.
"Mallory, this really isn't a good idea..." Tanya whined, "Besides, look at us! We look like Complete Whores!" Tanya pointed to the tight jeans Mallory forced Tanya to wear and the tiny tube top that Mallory was sporting. Mallory glared at Tanya
"For once would you just grow up and realize that you are 23 years old and you can afford to dress nicely for a change!!!" Tanya stopped dead in her tracks. Mallory turned around to pull Tanya along but Tanya slapped Mallory's arm away.
"Tanya, what's the..." Tanya turned her back to Mallory.
"I hope you meet a guy who you absolutely adore and cherish and he dumps you for being too old for him!" Mallory stared at Tanya with disbelief as Tanya left. Mallory's face turned red.
'How could Tanya say this to me? I don't need her anyway,' Mallory thought before she spun around on her heel and nearly collided into Wild Wing.
"Uh, hi Mallory," Wild Wing stuttered, staring at her clothes which did not seem like the Mallory he knew at all. Wild Wing's head raced inside him; he had decided that he would ignore Amber and continue with his desires and love for Mallory.
"Um, ya know, I was wondering, would you like to um, go out for dinner with me tonight?"
"Oh, well, uh how about a movie tommarow?" Wild Wing shifted his weight uncomfortably.
"Stop playing games with me, Wild Wing. I'm way past that." Mallory rolled her eyes brushing past him.
"Why cant you just accept that I'm 19 years old Mallory? Don't you understand that I love you?" Wild Wing yelled frantically. Mallory turned on her heel to face Wild Wing and she laughed.
"Why cant you accept that I don't like a little kid like you? Why don't you just fuck that ugly, flat bitch that you saved, huh?!" Mallory stormed out. Wild Wing stared blankly for twenty minutes after Mallory left.
"She hates me, she really does," he whispered. Wild Wing closed his eyes feeling moisture begin to form in them. "Mallory," he whispered again and he slowly walked to his room. Shutting the door behind him he flopped on his bed and pulled the covers up over his head. "I LOVED YOU!" He yelled, voice echoeing off of hte walls.
"Uh, is this a bad time?" Wild Wing looked out from under the covers to see Nose Dive standing in the back of the room. Wild Wing quickly turned away to hide the fact that his eyes were red.
"What do you want?" he snapped.
"I was just returning your 3 Doors Down CD and I uh, made you a picture." Wild Wing sighed; whenever he was feeling down Nose Dive did something to make him feel better.
"Thanks baby bro."
"I guess I'll leave you alone then," Nose Dive whispered.
"Why does she hate me so much?" Nose Dive paused.
"Mallory. I did everything for her and she hates me in return."
"I don't think she hates you..."
"Shut up when I'm talking to you! Who asked you anyway? Get out!" Nose Dive nodded his head knowing that Wild Wing would be crazy like this for awhile so he walked toward the door.
"Wait, where do you think you're going?! I'm not through bitching about girls to you!" Wild Wing sat up in his bed, "She told me I should just fuck Amber... I don't like Amber like that. Sure she's nice and all..."
"Wild Wing, reality check, all the girls that you've gone out with so far have been bitches."
"Yea, and then they dumped me for you," Wild Wing snapped.
"Yeah, but they were bitches." Wild Wing paused for a second.
"But what's wrong with Amber?"
"She's a complete bitch."
"I gotcha!"
"What?" Nose Dive asked.
"You admitted it! She's in your league isn't she?" Wild Wing got excited as he talked.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Nose Dive's forehead began to sweat.
"You like her don't you?" Wild Wing pried.
"I do not like her! Why would I date a bitch?"
"You dated my ex-girlfriends and you just said that they were bitches..." Wild Wing smiled.
Nose Dive rolled his eyes, "Your stupid Wing, you're really stupid."
"I was just gonna say if you liked her then I wouldn't go out with her..." Wild Wing said sensitively. Nose Dive looked at Wild Wing; it was obvious that he was thinking about Amber.
"No Wing, she's a bitch. I hate her. Why don't you just ask her out?"
"But Mallory hates her soooo much. She called her an ugly, flat bitch." Nose Dive looked surprised.
"She's probably just envious."
"She hates me... and why should I go out with Amber if she said those things?" Nose Dive replied.
"Simple. Mallory's a bitch. Go out with Amber, disregardless of the fact that she's so skinny that you can see her bones, her hair looks thin, her eyes are a piercing yellow, she has no hips or tits, and she has a nasty attitude. Why don't you do that?" Wild Wing paused.
"Thanks Nose Dive, I think I'm going to go ask Amber out now!"
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU ON!?!" Nose Dive yelled. Wild Wing looked confused. Nose Dive realized his mistake; he didn't think Wild Wing would go for Amber after hearing such a negative opinion about her. Nose Dive quickly coughed and left the room; he couldn't see his older brother's face when he realized that Nose Dive did watch Amber, especially after Wild Wing was hurting so much. Once Nose Dive got into the safety of his own bedroom, he pulled out spraypaint and began ferociously working on the wall. Pausing for a breather, he wiped the sweat off of his face and observed: the girl was sitting down on a curb, hair messy, too thin, face bitter and her eyes stared coldly into the room, seeming to follow Nose Dive. Dive sighed and wiped his face again, "how could an encounter with such a duck fuck up the whole damn team?" Nose Dive wondered. Flopping down on his bed he stared into those eyes, wondering for once what it would be like to be that mind...
Mara smiled as Amber slept... curled up in the closet. Amber always had a weird habit of falling asleep in odd places, but then again Mara had trouble sleeping not in a hammock. Feeling drowsy herself, Mara jumped into her hammock and turned the lights off. The next morning would be physicals and tryouts so that they could play hockey...

The Next Morning...

Amber and Mara walked into the locker room with the other ducks. Tanya began scribbling on a notepad. Stopping for a moment, she looked at the two, "We'll need to record your weight so if you don't mind changing into lighter gear..." Amber and Mara looked at each other.
"Could you give us a minute?" The two ran into the deapths of the locker room.
"SHIT!!! There's no way we could gain enough weight in time!!!" Mara panicked, knowing that they were both extremely underweight.
"And we have to wear light clothes...what'll we do?!"
"Maybe we can rig the scale." Amber sighed.
"But Mara, I dunno how to do that!"
"But I do. You distract're good at that." Amber nodded, following her out. Suddenly she paused,
"Hey...what the hell is THAT supposed to mean?!" Mara just smiled at her sweetly. They walked back out into the open where all of the ducks were waiting. Amber and Mara looked around.
"Hey, I thought this was the girl's changing room, what are the guys doing in here?"
"I'm the leader, I have to be present for this."
"Then what about the big Zen guy and the Punk?" Amber questioned skeptically as Mara started to creep behind the ducks toward the scale.
"We were just hoping to see some girls changing." Grin said, grinning eagerly.
"Keep hoping," Amber said dryly. Nose Dive turned his back and began to walk out. Amber looked after him startled. Grin smiled, noticing Amber's attention drifting.
"Suprised some one actually left ya alone?"
"As a matter of fact, yes I am." Amber changed her focus and started peering behind Grin's shoulder to see if Mara had finished. Grin laughed, not noticing that Amber wasn't paying any attention to him.
"Hey Amber, although outside appearences are only illusion... it appears that you might seem to think that Nose Dive was attractive." Wild Wing choked at the comment. At that moment, Mara signaled that the scale was fixed. Amber nodded her head at Mara, and then realized that Grin was laughing.
"Huh?" Grin stopped laughing.
"Did you hear a word of what I just said?" Just then, Mara walked back in jeans and a tank top. Amber closed her eyes, thankful for the save. Grin whistled loudly.
"Grin! Get out of here!!! Only authorized personel!"
"Damn, maybe next time."
"Can we get on with this?" Mara murmured. Wild Wing nodded.
"Sure. Mara, you first." Mara nodded and stepped onto the scale calmly.
"118 pounds. A little underweight." Amber sighed with relief. Mara must've rigged it quite a bit if Amber was correct in what she really weighed.
"Now you, Amber." Wild Wing said with a smile, taking her hand to help her up. Amber's knees shook as she looked at Mara before stepping on the scale.
"You really should be gaining some weight, Amber." Tanya said, jotting her weight down on a chart. Wild Wing stared at her, "She looks just fine to me." he said with a smile. Amber nodded, too nervous to be paying much attention to Wild Wing's compliments.
"Yeah, well, I guess I am a little underweight. Why? How much did I weigh?"
"100 pounds."
"Yeah, and I'm the Wizard of Oz." Duke said grimly. Amber turned to look at him, "What are you doing in here?" She muttered.
"I'm authorized to be where ever I want, whenever I want and do whatever I want."
"And why is that?" Amber asked, glaring at him.
"Because I can't stop him," Wing said, looking over at Duke. "We've just finished the weight check, Duke."
"Have you?" he asked, "How much did Mara weigh?"
"118, why?" Duke looked at her, "118? You sure?"
Mara nodded, "That's what the scale said, why?" Duke walked over to her.
"Becuase we certainly don't look the same size." he said with a smile.
Wild Wing looked over at Duke in shock, "You weigh 118?"
"No, 122." Duke replied.
Mara smiled at him, "Well now you've gone and spoiled everything, haven't you?" Duke nodded, "It's what I'm good at."
"122?! That's terrible! You shouldn't even be playing! How the hell have we gone this long without noticing that?!" Wild Wing exclaimed. Duke shrugged.
"Easy. I rigged the scales." Duke looked over at Mara, "All thieves know how to do it." Tanya bent down to look at the scale, "Yeah, it's been tampered with."
Mara nodded, "Yeah, I did it. I'm sorry, we just didn't want to be kicked off the team before we even got started."
Wild Wing nodded, "I understand. I probably would've done the same thing. But, uh, how much did you rig the scale?"
Mara blushed a little. "20 pounds heavy."
Tanya stared at Mara, "You weigh 98 pounds?" Mara nodded.
"It's called a thieve's diet...we didn't really eat much."
"That would make Amber 80." Amber bit her lip and nodded.
"That's terrible!" Tanya exclaimed, "All three of you should be quarantined!"
"Now Tanya, calm down." Duke said, "Despite the weight thing we're all in good physical shape. It's a prduct of environment, that's all. That's the amount of food they're used to. Give them some time to gain weight, and until then, let 'em play."
Wild Wing nodded, "I agree, but that goes for you too, Duke." Duke sighed, "Fine, deal. Ladies?"
Mara smiled, at him, "Well, as long as I've got company, alright." Amber turned away from Duke exasperated and looked at Wild Wing. "I guess I have no choice."
Duke sighed, "How long are you going to act like this to me?" Amber turned away from him. "Okay, fine. You know perfectly well I didn't mean it, but if you want to be a bitch, then go right ahead." Mara shot a questioning glance at Duke. Duke shrugged and shook his head.
"Come on, time for the actual field test, but first, I'll show you the rink." Wild Wing said. Mara and Tanya followed in suit. Duke began to walk out, but paused, looking back at Amber.
"I don't hate her." Amber murmured. Duke tilted his head to the side, looking at her.
"Prove it."
Amber looked at the ground and walked to catch up with the others. Duke sighed and ran to catch up with her.
"This is the locker room... for the time being, you're going to have to use these jerseys until we can order new gear," Wild Wing said apologetically as he pointed to a wall with extra gear and bright orange jerseys. Mara looked at the jerseys and picked one up, along with gear. She sniffed the jersey and jerked her head back at its grotesque smell.
"So, where do we change?" Mara said, trying to cover up her accidental rudeness.
"In here," Tanya led her into a divided section of the locker room. "The guys go into the other section... this way, there can be some privacy."
Amber looked at the rows of gear. She turned back to face the others. "Did Mara find something that fit her?" Mara appeared from the girls' section of the locker room. Duke stared at her; even in a jersey she looked beautiful. "So, do you think orange is my color?" Mara laughed.
"I didn't think anyone could make those jerseys look so good," Duke complimented softly. Mara blushed slightly. She turned back to Amber who was scrounging through the equiptment trying to find gear that was small enough. Mara hesitated, "Do you need any help?" Tanya, Duke, and Wild Wing waited for Amber to be rude again but to their suprise she stuttered, "Yeah, th-that'd be g-great, Mara." The two finally found equiptment that was small enough and Amber soon was dressed in the orange uniform.
"Let's go," Wild Wing said, pressing his com-link to change into his hockey uniform. The ducks went to the rink. Mallory, Grin, and Nose Dive were already out on the ice practicing. Mara and Amber stared open-mouthed at the beautiful arena.
"So, how about we practice some drills, huh?" Wild Wing asked. Immediately, Mara flew out across the ice. Amber watched her older half-sister skate; she was such a born-natural. Mara sailed across the ice, turning left and braking right. Mara was beautiful on the ice; she really belonged out there. "Come on Guys!" Mara yelled, "get out here!" Duke, Tanya and Grin immediately joined the other ducks on the ice. "Hey Amber, let's..." Wild Wing turned to face Amber, but noticed her running toward the locker room again.
"Hey Tanya!" Wild Wing yelled throwing her a note pad, "Start evaluating her skills with the first tests, I'll be right back!"
Amber stopped for breath in the main locker room. She slid to the ground and rested her head in her hands. "I cant do it..." Amber didn't notice the shadow beside her.

"20 seconds? Are you sure?" Mallory asked Tanya. They timed how long it took Mara to skate two laps around the rink and the short time was shocking.
"It has to be right... we checked on two timers." Tanya said with amazement. The two watched as Mara performed each task with a certain agility. She was a phenominal player. Mara stopped skating by Tanya to catch her breath.
"Oh, this is so much fun! So, do you think I made the cut?"
"You didn't even have to do the last 7 exercises for you to make the cut!" Nose Dive smiled enthusiastically. Mara laughed, "I cant believe it! I'm a Mighty Duck!"

"Amber? Are you okay?" Amber looked up to see Wild Wing standing next to her.
"Maybe trying out for the team isn't such a good idea," she muttered. Wild Wing looked at her suprised. "I'm too rusty, I haven't played in ages."
"Neither has your sister and she looked great!"
"I... I cant... I'm gonna throw up." Amber looked sick as she grabbed her stomach and ran to the bathroom. Wild Wing ran beside her and put an arm around her shoulder steadying her as she vomited. "Shh, it's alright," Wild Wing soothed. Amber wiped her mouth and put a hand on her forehead. "I cant do this..."
"I don't get it! Why am I doing this?" Amber moaned as Wild Wing walked her to the rink, holding her hand. Amber hesitated looking at the ice. Wild Wing noticed her hesitation.
"Come on, why don't you join your sister out there?"
"Hey Amber! I made the team! You gotta do some tests then you'll be on too!" Mara yelled across the ice. Amber hesitated as she put a skate on the ice... in one second she fell down. Nose Dive snickered, "Guess the skating's on Mara's side of the family, eh?" Amber looked up from the ice at Nose Dive before inching off.
"I cant do this."
Mara looked after Amber and quickly skated to the end of the rink. She stepped off the ice and ran to Wild Wing. "Why isn't my sister playing?"
"I dunno... she threw up before and keeps saying that she can't and she's too rusty..." Mara sighed. Wild Wing put a hand on Mara's shoulder. "Don't worry, we'll get her back on the ice..."
"I hope I didn't show her up or something... she's such an aggressive little thing."
"You didn't do anything. You're a beautiful mover on the ice and your smart; you will make a real team player. Now, besides the matter, we'll have to get you on the roster. Any number you'd care for?" Mara thought for a moment; no one had ever asked her their opinion.
"You mean I get to choose?"
"Of course... except some of the numbers have been taken," Wild Wing explained apologetically.
"Well, since 13 has already been taken, has anyone claimed number 51?" Wild Wing smiled as he wrote down 51 on a chart, "You just have."
"Sweet! I always loved 51!!!" Mara smiled at Wild Wing. She couldn't believe that she had made the Team! "So when does Amber become a team member too?"
"As soon as we can get her on the ice to show us her skills." Mara frowned slightly.

Hours later, Amber walked through the aisles in the stands staring at the ice. It really was an impressive arena! Amber inched closer and closer to it. No one was around her; the arena was dark except for the light on the ice.
Amber bit her lip as she pulled on skates under her jeans. She picked up a stick that was leaning against the walls of the arena. It had been years since Amber had last played hockey or even picked up a stick... Slowly, she stepped out onto the ice.
"Ah finally, the girl who turned chicken comes out!" Amber spun around to see Mara standing on the ice.
"Mara," she whispered.
"Come on, it's been long enough! Show me what your made of!" Mara dropped a puck on the ice.
"B..but I don't have a helmet or pads..."
"What's a matter? Wuss." Mara spit back. Silently, she prayed that her snappy attitude would challenge Amber enough to play again. Amber's knees shook as she slowly skated to Mara. She crouched in a face-off position. "Whoever gets 3 goals first wins," Mara explained. Amber prepared for the face-off; surprisingly, Mara checked Amber immediately causing Amber to land on her back. She scrambled to her feet intime to watch Mara score the first goal.
The two began playing again. Amber had control of the puck but Mara easily checked her into the boards. Amber winced as she slid to the ground. Goal number two.
The two set up for the third play. Mara had control of the puck. She lined up to score but Amber slid next to her stealing. She shot at the goal. Score.
Next play, Amber had control from the beginning getting an easy score.
The last play was near. Amber got control of the puck but Mara checked her to regain control. Amber looked up at Mara from the ice. She scrambled to her feet and took off at full speed. Closing her eyes, she dove infront of the goal cage, blocking the puck with her body. Amber didn't seem to notice the impact as she took off across the ice. Mara was on her tail. Mara checked her as she shot. Amber looked up from lying on the ice... the puck was in the net. Mara smiled, "You win."
"And you've just made the team." Amber spun around on the ice to face Wild Wing. He also stood in street clothes, but with skates on. Amber's eyes opened wide. "We thought you'd be here," Tanya explained, emerging from behind Wild Wing. Amber looked at Mara, " did this to get me on the team?" Mara smiled. Amber shook her head in disbelief as all of the Mighty Ducks, excluding Nose Dive, emerged on the ice. "This cant be real... it's like we invade into your lives and... you set something up to get me back on the ice."
"isn't this Great Amby?" Mara asked hapily, casting a smile past Amber toward Duke. "Welcome to the Team!" The ducks yelled. Amber went to cast a look at Wild Wing, but noticed Nose Dive, who was standing by the rink's edge. Nose Dive's arms were crossed as he watched their rejoicing welcoming. Amber's eyes gleamed yellow across the ice and seemed to almost gaze at him. Shaking his head, Nose Dive turned away bitterly, "Rejoicing over ducks making the team... those Invaders." Nose Dive walked up the stands until he got to the exit. He looked over his shoulder at the ducks, who were skating happily across the ice. Mara and Duke skated closer and closer but Amber skated further away from everyone else. Wild Wing kept skating toward her but it almost appeared like she was watching Nose Dive. Nose Dive shook his head and proceded out of the door, quietly muttering, "God damn the Invaders." *** The END ***

8 Ducks on a Team... what's Earth coming to?!?!

The Invaders: PART I
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