Dr. Youngbeak looked over her case files and notes for each patient, worrying about the upcoming group therapy session. This would be her first group session with the Fearsome Five, and she wasn't entirely sure she was prepared for it. For that matter, she wasn't sure the patients themselves were ready for it. She had tried to tell the board members for Duckham Asylum to postpone group therapy, but they hadn't listened to her. It was frustrating, but there wasn't really anything she could do.
She entered a fairly large room with a circle of chairs in it. She sat down and waited for the guards to bring in her patients.
Megavolt arrived first, accompanied by a single guard. He was wrapped up in a straight jacket and was looking quite sleepy, which was normal for him at the asylum. They would give him a mild sedative to keep him calm and relaxed. It was really one of the few medicines that would work on him, given that his fried brain wasn't effected by much else.
He gave Dr. Youngbeak a puzzled look for a moment. Then, he seemed to remember.
"Dr... ah... Dr..."
"Yeah, that's it. Hello!"
He yawned as he was made to sit down.
Megavolt and the doctor hadn't been waiting long, before another guard came in carrying a water cooler. Getting a nod from Youngbeak to go ahead, he opened it. To most, it would look like an ordinary pool of water.
That is, until it started to bubble.
"Tired of small cells, " gurgled a familiar voice, " feeling like you need space for you and your assets? Then the Liquidator has just the answer for you!"
Finally, a certain sinuous canine burst forth, looking as if he was stretching.
"Five out of five aquatic pups agree: a bigger container would be 100 percent more satisfying!"
"I'm sorry your accommodations haven't been very comfortable, Bud. I assure you, I have been discussing with the board about getting you a bigger container."
Dr. Youngbeak watched him carefully, noting his mood.
Megavolt also seemed to be watching the Liquidator but for entirely different reasons. He scooted his chair back some, trying to get as much distance from his watery teammate as possible. While his teammate had never purposefully short-circuited him, accidents had happened before, and he wasn't about to take any chances.
"Then let the friendly neighborhood Liquidator strike a deal with them." He gave his most charming smile. "i'm sure this salesman can make them an offer they can't refuse. A cranky patient isn't good for sales or costumer satisfaction."
The watery villain finally noticed his fellow villain. He merely nodded in recognition, knowing how a friendly hand shake or touch wouldn't be welcomed. Nor the shock to either of them.
Bushroot was led in by a single guard. He shuffled slowly, his roots dragging a bit and a frown on his bill. He resented the notion of therapy, as he didn't think he was crazy. Sure, he got a little emotional and depressed at times, but it wasn't like he was insane.
Unfortunately he had to go along with it. Playing nicely meant a better chance at parole or a nicer cell that might be easier to escape from, or at least one with a window. He missed the sunlight something terrible.
He took his seat without a word, just shooting glances at Megavolt and Liquidator.
"I'm not so sure that would be a good idea, given the last time you tried to strike a deal with someone."
Liquidator was probably the highest escape risk because of his abilities. It was lucky that he was much less violent than Megavolt, Quackerjack, or Negaduck and preferred talking his way out. Dr. Youngbeak glanced down at her clipboard, checking over her notes.
She frowned when Bushroot came in, noting how miserable he seemed. She knew life at the asylum wasn't a picnic, but still, she didn't like seeing her patients that unhappy.
"It's good to see you again, Reginald."
She gave him a warm, reassuring smile. Although, she didn't feel very reassured herself. She was getting a little bit nervous as the number of villains in the room increased. She wondered what was taking the guards so long with Quackerjack. She hoped he wasn't trying to make his escape... again.
Megavolt glanced back at Bushroot and shifted in his straight jacket some.
Oh yeah... I forgot...
He couldn't wave. He simply gave Bushroot a nod and yawned again.
"Hi," Bushroot replied, his voice monotonous. He glanced at the door, waiting to see if Quackerjack and Negaduck were on their way. He thought he had heard the toymaker's distinct laugh in the hall, but he had not seen him.
He looked at Megavolt again, who seemed uncomfortable in his straitjacket and at the cooler that Liquidator had been released from. Bushroot had heard the watery villain bargaining for a better one as he was led in, and he wondered if Dr. Youngbeak might put in a good word for him. After giving Liquidator a brief smile, Bushroot then turned to Dr. Youngbeak. "If you can get him a better cooler, is there any chance you could get me a room with a window?" He gave her a hopeful look.
Not long after Bushroot had asked his question, the laughter of a certain mad mallard had increased in volume. Yet, still the jingling of bells could be heard under it. Doctor Youngbeak still could recall the time the guards had tried to remove the jester hat off of QuackerJack's head. The male had literally screamed in agony, fighting with all his might. It still sometimes sent a shiver up her spine, hearing the toymaker imply that they were ripping off his face.
Finally he had arrived, looking to be the only one in tip top spirits. He was followed by a few guards, who surrounded him at all times. Not only because he made it a habit of breaking out of his cell, just for the kicks, but also because if he WAS to get upset...
Let's just say he was a lot stronger than he looked.
"Hiyah! Heh. Me and the funny farm parade are heeeeeere!"
The doctors had tried many different techniques and medication; however, none seemed to be just the right combination to either sedate the jester or to help him see reality a little more clearer. It baffled them. It defied logic half of the time.
But so was the existence of QuackerJack.
He was forced into a seat next to his bestest buddy. The duck wasn't complaining, since seeing his pal made him all the more happier.
"My Megsy, did Bushbrain bore ya half asleep again? Haha!"
Megavolt flashed a sleepy grin at his favorite partner-in-crime
He made another shifting movement in his straight jacket and remembered again that he couldn't wave. An annoyed expression became apparent on his face.
"I don't get how you can be so happy, sometimes."
Dr. Youngbeak had just been about to address Bushroot's question when Quackerjack made his grand entrance. The clown unnerved her for more reasons than one. She had been considering for the past few weeks having him transferred to one of the other doctors in Duckham Asylum. Dr. Warbler was more adept at handling patients as difficult and hyperactive as Quackerjack. She noticed immediately how friendly Quackerjack and Megavolt were towards each other and made a note of it on her clipboard.
"I'm glad you're here... Quackerjack." She really wished they could dig up something from his past. It was like all traces of his real identity had disappeared, and he refused to tell them anything that could be helpful.
She turned back to Bushroot, noting the hopeful look on his face. The board members would probably never approve of a window in Bushroot's cell... what with his capacity to communicate to plants. They also wanted to keep his exposure to light limited to keep him less energized, so that he wouldn't feel up to escaping. However, out of all the patients at Duckham Asylum, Bushroot was the most complacent. He didn't get into struggles with the guards, and he had been fairly helpful to the asylum in providing details about how his body worked. Of course, that was probably because he didn't want to be poked and prodded, but it still saved a lot of trouble for all parties involved.
She continued the gentle smile, not letting any shift in her expression give away what she thought about Bushroot's request.
"I'll see what I can do. You have been behaving yourself very well, and I think at the very least, the board should allow you some more time under the sun lamps and maybe extra time in the rec room."
The rec room had quite a few barred windows, but it was much more heavily guarded than the cells themselves.
That made everyone except Negaduck, their illustrious (and unscrupulous) leader. Given the way he acted LAST time they were all incarcerated The Liquidator wasn’t sure if he wanted to see him at all. Last time they had waited weeks to be rescued only to have their fearless leader steal their powers with some bazaar eyeball emerald (not something he wanted ever to have happen again). Plus, their chances of getting better accommodations were much more likely BEFORE their therapist was murdered in cold blood, not after.
“Don’t wait, act now! For a limited time only you can be safe from bodily harm! Process out requests immediately and you too can be absent when Negaduck appears!”
"I'd really much prefer real windows and real sunlight. The sun lamps just aren't... the same." To be honest, the sun lamps kept there were probably about as good everyone else thought the prison food was. It was subsistence and not much else. What he really yearned for was a chance to go outside, even if it was in a courtyard or something, but he knew nobody would agree to that. Even something as simple as a stray weed could help him break out, and he knew that they wouldn't take any chances. Of course, if he could somehow earn their trust...
He watched Liquidator continue to try and bargain, and just shuffled in his seat while he waited for the therapy to start. Quackerjack seemed rambunctious and that probably meant it was going to be a long hour or however long they'd be doing it...
QuackerJack grinned at his buddy.
"Easy peasy lemon squeezey! Heh. all ya gotta do, Megster, is create your own fun." He put a arm around the rodent. "Try it. Just imagine frying 'he who fuddy-duddies in the night' extra crispy. now tell me....doesn't that make you happy already? Hahaha!"
The jester's gaze went back to the doctor.
"heh. You're not doing your job, doc, they're all becoming more sticks in the mud than usual. Tsk tsk."
Dr. Youngbeak attempted to sort out what Liquidator had said to her and frowned. She gave him a stern look.
"Bud, if you insist on trying to intimidate me, I can have the guards send you back to your cell."
She gave a firm, unwavering look to the other members of the Fearsome Four.
"I expect all of you to be cooperative during our first group therapy session. I don't want to see any fights breaking out, and I want you to be respectful of each other. You are all friends, and I think there is a lot to be gained from our session together. As friends, you can show your support and help aid each other on the road to recovery."
She cast a sympathetic glance at Bushroot.
"Like I said, I'll see what I can do. If it were just up to me, it'd be a different story, but it's not. We can discuss this more later; you have an appointment with me next week."
Megavolt smirked, imagining the very scene Quackerjack specified.
"You're right... I feel like a million volts already..."
Dr. Youngbeak's expression shifted to neutral when she addressed Quackerjack.
"I don't think everyone is being a... stick in the mud, as you put it. But you are onto something... Why don't we start this session by seeing how everyone is feeling today?"
"Like a million volts, doctor..."
Megavolt snickered to himself.
From outside the room, there was a loud buzz, indicating that the sealed metal doors were opening once again. The door swung open and in sauntered Negaduck, who paused and surveyed the group rather coolly.
From behind him, one of the guards swore under his breath as he rubbed his now bruised and blackened eye. Another buzz, and the door slammed shut again, sealing the psychopathic masked mallard inside with the others.
For a moment, he circled the group like a hungry jackal. There was only one chair left, reserved for him. Grabbing it by the back, he dragged it slowly across the floor toward the furthest corner, making sure the force of the chair against linoleum let out an ear-splitting screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech not too far off from sounding like nails on a chalkboard.
When the chair had been properly situated further from the rest of the Fearsome Five, so that he was not quite inside the therapy circle, he threw himself down into it and leaned back, the front legs of the chair tipping off the floor, while he crossed his legs. Every so often his webbed feet would rock the chair back and forth in a strange, nerve-wracking rhythm.
"What's up, Doc?" Negaduck sneered sarcastically at Dr. Youngbeak. "You know, I thought this place was supposed to make us not crazy. Last I checked, sticking me in this retarded hugbox with the Faggy Four is the fastest way to making me snap." He spoke in a deep, rumble.
Dr. Youngbeak tried not to cringe or betray any kind of emotion, but the ear-bleeding sound of the chair being dragged across the linoleum was too much. She felt herself cringe, but she quickly got a hold of herself. She set her stern, neutral expression and looked much braver than she actually felt.
"Negaduck..." No one had been able to discover his identity, either. Like Quackerjack with his jester's hat, separating Negaduck from the mask had been entirely impossible. He had also been entirely uncooperative about revealing information about his past, and nothing could be dug up about him. They also administered a mild sedative to Negaduck, but it was hard to tell whether it had any effect on him or not. He certainly seemed a lot calmer than when he was brought in, but he still got into random fights with the guards. He had recently been prescribed an anti-psychotic, but time would only tell whether it would have any effect.
"It's a pleasure to see you again." She was sure Negaduck and the others weren't convinced by that at all, but nonetheless, she continued.
"We were just talking about how everyone in the therapy session is going to be cooperative and respectful towards one another. I hope that you will keep that in mind."
She didn't break eye contact, even as he seemed to get more intimidating.
"We were all just about to talk about how we are feeling today. How are you feeling?"
Megavolt was pretty sure the doctor was crazier than he was, but he didn't say anything. The only thing that he did do was scoot much closer to Quackerjack, bearing an expression on his face that said two words 'protect me.'
QuackerJack had been very amused when their boss arrived. He knew that it was never boring with Negaduck around...even if he could be a tad scary at times. However, he pulled on his hat when the duck had made the chair screetch. Ouch.
It was quick to turn into giggles.
"Heh. He seems to be having a grand ol' time over there, Doctor Lady. Hehe."
The toymaker also caught his friend scooting closer to him from the corner of his eye. This caused his cheshire cat grin to widen.
Bushroot's expression was obviously wary as Negaduck came in, and he flinched when the chair dragged across the linoleum. The doctor's statement to him about their appointment next week did not fill him with much hope. Those seemed somewhat pointless. All they ever did was talk about the things that made him unhappy. She had asked him about Rhoda and how he had felt about her, and the incident with Posy, and even his feelings about the rest of the Fearsome Five. He did not see what point there was in talking about any of that, since it didn't change anything.
Those private sessions also had delved into his youth, his relationship with his family, and what they termed his "anger management" issues. Bushroot did not really think he had anything all that bad where anger management was concerned; one need only look at Negaduck to see that there was far worse than him out there. The fact that just because someone worse was around did not mean that he did not have a problem was not something that occurred to Bushroot, and the therapist had not vocalized that yet, only noted it in her charts.
When he heard her say something about being cooperative in their group therapy, he groaned inwardly. He wished he could just root himself into the tile floor and grow into the ground so no one would see him or talk to him. He hoped that they would just ignore him and leave him out of it. The last thing he wanted was his feelings brought out and dissected in front of the group, especially with Negaduck there. He cast his eyes downward and remained silent.
Negaduck clasped his hands together and sat forward, feigning excitement.
"Why, I just feel great, Doc! This morning I banged the busty blonde nurse that enjoys giving me those lovely meds you prescribed me. Looks like she's the one who ended up swallowing something, though!" He grinned cheekily, then paused, waving his hand to indicate a 'meh' motion.
"She was so-so. Too much talkin' not enough suckin'. God, what is it with you chicks and the need to vent your feelings, as if you really believe I'd give a shit?" He shook his head in disgust.
Well, too late for Negaduck to not show up. At least he didn’t have any power stealing jewels on him, or chainsaws. In fact he seemed to be in a pretty good mood (for him).
“Got space? Freedom to move around? Surounded by friends? The LIQUIDATOR is A okay!” He rose, making himself taller (but thinner) and thrust his chest out.
And speaking of out. Now that they were all here he began subtally looking for an exit, all he needed was a crack in the door, a vent, a bathroom would be perfect…
Dr. Youngbeak betrayed no shift in her expression.
"Clearly, you're having some unresolved relationship issues, and I see your macho facade keeps that wall up around your emotional side. We'll continue to work on that, Negaduck."
She turned to the others.
"How is everyone else?"
She glanced at Liquidator and smiled.
"I'm glad that you have relaxed, Bud."
She frowned, upon noticing him looking around in a somewhat conspicuous manner.
"I'd like to remind all of you that there are several guards just outside, and we do have Darkwing Duck AND Gizmoduck on speed dial."
“No one’s more chill then St. Canard’s only all water supervillian!” He agreed, with a relaxed smile, lounging on the chair and putting his feet up on the table, dripping copiously on both.
"Pooh, you're no fun. Nobody likes to have party poopers invited to the gay jamboree. Heh."
QuackerJack giggled while raising his hand. He waved it like an immature child trying to get the teacher's attention.
"Ooo ooo! Pick me! Pick me!"
He grinned as he received a sigh and a nod from Doctor Youngbeak.
"....i'm feeling hunky dorey!"
He pulled out a doll from behind his back.
"i'm doing pretty good too, Sue."
"Oh, hush Mister Bananabrain. Nobody asked you. hahaha!" Dr. Youngbeak watched Quackerjack warily. She never was sure where he kept getting Mr. Banana Brain from. The guards never found it on him, yet he always seemed to have it right when he needed it. She shook her head.
"I'm glad you're doing good, Quackerjack." Then, she sighed, "And you, too, Mr. Banana Brain."
She cast a look over at Bushroot, who was looking more miserable than before.
"And you, Reginald?"
"He looks miserable to me, doctor. He should be happy... He's not the one in this... confounded... straight jacket."
Megavolt started to struggle in his straight jacket violently for a moment, then stopped out of breath.
"I hate being so sleepy..."
Negaduck sighed dramatically.
"You're absolutely right, doc. I have relationship issues. Mama didn't love me enough, or somethin'. So now I take out all my rage and pain on every woman I meet, and deep down I'm a tortured soul filled with sadness and desp... snrrk... pfff... haha. I'm sorry. I can't even finish that one." He cackled. Dr. Youngbeak acted quickly to make sure a fight wouldn't break out between Megavolt and Bushroot. She lectured the electric rodent for a minute about speaking for others. She stopped only when Negaduck began speaking.
She jotted down a few notes. Laughing as he was, she was sure there was some psychological basis for what he was saying.
"It's interesting that you bring up family. I think the next topic of discussion should be about your families. Very good, Negaduck. I appreciate your cooperation."
She looked at the rest of the Fearsome Five.
"How has your new lives changed the dynamics in your family? How about your relationships with friends or co-workers?"
"I'm okay," Bushroot answered automatically, his expression darkening at Megavolt's remark. He shot the rat a glower, but didn't say anything else.
Negaduck then chimed in with some sarcasm, and Bushroot found himself holding back a snort of laughter. While he wasn't as obstinate as their leader, he could not help but agree with the sentiment.
Dr. Youngbeak did not seem to find it as amusing, however, as she proceeded to bring up the new topic of discussion.
When her gaze settled on him, he volunteered an answer in the hopes that he would be left alone afterward. "I think everyone knows how my mutation affected the lives of my old co-workers," he said as he gave his answer. "As for my family," he continued, "they seem to think, like you do, that I'm disturbed or something. My sister thinks I need help and that if I get it, I can be 'normal' again, leaves and all." It was clear from the bitterness and sarcasm that seeped into his tone, and his gesturing of air quotes as he enunciated the word "normal," that he did not agree. Dr. Youngbeak listened to Bushroot, her expression still set to the neutrality with which she used to address Negaduck.
"Normal is a relative term, Reginald. No one can really be normal."
She folded her hands in her lap.
"We all have issues to work out. It's just some need a little more help than others."
Her expression seemed to soften, "You have brought up your sister before. It sounds to me like she really cares about you, and..."
Megavolt started to laugh maniacally at this.
Random bursts of maniacal laughter from Megavolt had become so commonplace that it no longer startled Dr. Youngbeak. She shifted her attention to him, curious as to what had got him riled up this time.
He giggled, trembling in his straight jacket.
"Oh, Dr. Beaky, you never fail to make me laugh. Family... actually CARING about you."
He let out a few more chuckles, then his expression darkened, making him look every bit the dangerous supervillain that he was.
"A family doesn't care about you... it only cares about you staying out of the way, so that they're not reminded of the mistake they made. Your family will tell you, when they're in a good mood, that they love you, then turn around later and stab you in the back... a family doesn't care if their son can build a particle accelerator, he's still a useless, good-for..."
Sparks seemed to bounce off of him for a moment before Megavolt lost track of his thoughts mid-sentence. His expression suddenly went blank, and the sparks died down. He shrugged after a moment, settling back in his chair.
"What were we talking about again?"
Dr. Youngbeak tried not to appear hesitant.
After a moment of thought, Megavolt shrugged.
"I don't remember who they are."
The mad mallard had actually been a little concerned, as his best friend was ranting. He had even rubbed his back as Megavolt went on and on, getting more angered by the moment. The rodent certainly sounded like he had family issues.
However...QuackerJack had burst out laughing the moment the straight-jacket wearing villain had question just what they were talking about. Oh boy, it was just a rich and classic moment of comedy! The duck was laughing so hard, wiggling and squirming about, that he actually fell from his mirth.
"Buhahahahahehehe! Oh, Megster, you're flooring me here! hehehe!"
The duck slowly, but surely, made his way back into his chair. Still in a fit of giggles. When he finally made it, he wiped the tears from his eyes.
"Heh. Ya know, doc, not everybody has family issues. Why, my parents were so...so...so booooooring! Daddy always at work, momma always either cleaning, cooking, or having Quackerware parties. And good ol' Junior here was their nice (but spirited) son that occassionally got into mischief. Yeesh. It sounds so clichéd!"
The jester smiled before continuing.
"Buuuuuut, heh, Mommy always DID tell the best bedtime stories. My favorite will always be the moral tale of what happened to lil' boys who touched themselves at night. Heh. If you did, then the Wanker Fairy would come! Yet, nooooooo. It was not a good visit! Hehe. Because he'd DO things to you. HORRIBLE things, she always said."
And with that, QuackerJack broke out into another uproar of laughter.
The Liquidator had sort of dodged away when Megavolt had begun to spark. Sure when the two of them touched it was usually the rodent who got the worst of it, but a shock could make him lose cohesion and anyway it wasn’t remotely pleasant.
“Need money? Want some good advice? Craving a meal you didn’t cook yourself? Call PARENTS!” he said, as though he were selling the concept. Then in a more normal, almost conversational voice. “My dad was a used car salesman. Taught me everything I know. Put me through collage and left me enough money to start my own business” he straitened with a sort of proud or would be charming smile, the salesman voice was back. “Which as we know went SPLASHINGLY!”
Megavolt couldn't help but laugh with him, although he had no idea what Quackerjack was laughing about.
He stopped when Quackerjack fell to the floor and looked down at him, shaking his head.
"You're such a klutz, Quacky."
"Let's not degrade each other, Elmo."
She didn't look up from her note-taking. She found the dynamic between Megavolt and Quackerjack fascinating. They actually seemed like friends. The jester had actually looked supportive. This totally blew out her earlier suspicions that Quackerjack cared for no one but himself. It also made her wonder how she could use Quackerjack's link with Megavolt to further aid in the temperamental rodent's recovery.
Megavolt gave her a puzzled expression. She often called him by that name, but he had no idea why. He shrugged at her, still grinning from his laugh with Quackerjack.
Dr. Youngbeak turned back to Quackerjack, smiling to encourage him. This was the first time he had ever actually said anything about his past. In their sessions, he tended to avoid most personal questions in favor of asking her personal questions or in favor of chatting about toys and jello and various other nonsensical things. This was a breakthrough. Maybe the group therapy idea hadn't been a bad one, afterall.
"Thank you for sharing your story with us, Quackerjack. It sounds like you had a... mostly stable childhood... but perhaps, your parents may have been a little repressive?"
She jotted down a few notes. It would make sense why Quackerjack was so uninhibited, now that he was an adult and free from his parents. She frowned after a moment, noting what he said about the bedtime stories. Perhaps maybe his childhood wasn't exactly as stable as he was saying it was. She wasn't sure she wanted to broach that subject further with Quackerjack in front of all the others. While it seemed like she'd be more likely to get information out of him here than in an individual session, she didn't want to do anything that would cause him undue shame in front of the other Fearsome Five. She decided to try to shift the conversation away from that particular bit of information.
"I think you have brought up a very good point. Not everybody who has issues has issues with their family. Some people can come from a rather stable childhood and still have difficulties adjusting to society. I think talking about family helps to remind you of the background that you came from and how your families have managed to shape each of you into the person you are today."
She glanced at Liquidator and Negaduck.
"And what about your families?"
Liquidator seemed to volunteer information almost immediately after he was asked. Dr. Youngbeak noted how casual and open the water-dog seemed about talking about his family.
"It sounds like you've had a very good relationship with your family, Bud. I'm curious. Are you still in contact with them?"
“Alas” the waterdog said, holding one hand over his chest with a watermade hat as though he had removed it in respect and were now holding a moment of silence. “Pop has gone to that Big Used Car Lot in the Sky!” even in this he made “that big used car lot in the sky” sound like a nice place to vacation (and he could get you a great deal on the tickets, perhaps for a limited time only). “Ah but Ma,” and that big door to door vacuum cleaner salesman grin was back. “she’s proud of the New and Improved Liquidator! Now making more money then ever before!”
"Heh. i guess ol' Drippy's momma used the phrase 'Put your money where your mouth is' a lot growing up. hehehe!"
He elbowed Megavolt playfully.
Bushroot listened to the exchange with a mixture of amusement and relief. He was glad the focus was off of him and that none of the others were taking much seriously. Megavolt's irate reaction to the mention of family made him curious, because despite working with him he did not know much about Megavolt's background, either. Not to mention it passed the time, and the more time the others took fooling around, the sooner he could get away from the farce of therapy and the probing questions that inevitably made him feel uncomfortable.
Dr. Youngbeak tried not to frown. If Liquidator's mother encouraged his life of supervillainy, then, it would be quite difficult to remove him from it... especially if it risked isolating him from his family. She looked thoughtful for a moment.
"It's very good that you've maintained a bond with your family. I'm sorry to hear about your father. You must miss him."
Megavolt looked up at the ceiling when Liquidator started talking about the Big Used Car Lot in the sky, his mouth gaping open in wonder... and confusion. He blinked, as if noticing the fluorescent lights in the ceiling for the first time.
He narrowed his eyes but became startled when Quackerjack elbowed him.
"Huh? What? Oh yeah..."
He snickered, his attention distracted from the lights.
"I guess I'll spill." Negaduck leaned forward and took a deep breath, dramatic breath.
"I'm actually an alien." He stated. "From the planet Zipton. Pa decided he wanted to take over the whole planet by threatening to blow it up, but that backfired. The entire planet blew up BEFORE he could rule it, killing whatever family I had." He smirked. "But I escaped on a space ship and ended up here. I was one smart cookie, knew when to get the hell outta dodge." He leaned back in his chair.
There was a long silence. It was hard to tell if he was being dead serious or just screwing around with them.
There was a subtle change in expression for Dr. Youngbeak before she regained her composure. She was pretty used to hearing extravagant delusions and fantasies. She jotted down a few notes and wondered if maybe a different anti-psychotic might be better for him than the one that he was currently being prescribed.
"That's quite a story, Negaduck."
She paused, wracking her brain for a moment.
"It sounds like... you must have had a hard time coping with your childhood..."
Megavolt looked at the doctor, shocked at how ridiculous she was being.
"His story is impossible. If the planet he escaped from really was getting ready to blow up..."
He ranted in technobabble explaining why Negaduck's story couldn't possibly be true. It didn't look like he was going to stop anytime soon.
Bushroot's eyes widened at Negaduck's story. He knew Negaduck well enough to realize he was not taking the therapy in the least bit seriously, but he could not help but admire his delivery of it. He was surprised the therapist was able to take those responses in stride, but he supposed you had to have decent qualifications to treat super-villains.
He tried to stifle a snicker when Megavolt tried explaining why it didn't work, but it was rather ineffective, and came out as an audible snort instead. Bushroot cast his eyes down quickly afterward, hoping Dr. Youngbeak would be too preoccupied to notice.
"You kiddin' me?" Negaduck grinned. "I had a wicked childhood! Kicking ass wherever I went, nobody ever messed with me. I was the King of the Playground, and there wasn't a teacher around who could punish me and get away with it. Adults feared me, and the other kids obeyed me." He tapped his bill in thought.
"In fact, I'd say my childhood was better than the rest of these chumps. I've always been on top, and everybody knows it." He shot a threatening look at Quackerjack, as though he were expecting a perverse pun about being 'topsies' to be the next topic from the jester's oversized bill.
QuackerJack snickered, not catching the expression from his boss. His hat jingled from his mirth.
"Pfft! My my, who knew you've had such INTERESTS for a looooong time Negsy. Heh. Weren't you a lil' young then to play 'King of the mountain' with the other kiddies? hehe! I didn't think your toy soldier could salute that well at such a tender age!"
The jester tried to control himself.
"n-No...heh. I got more. just...just give me a moment. Buhahahahehehe!"
He almost fell out of his chair again, but this time used the rodent next to himself to stabilize himself.
"If you were always topsies, who did ya have as your bottom? Heh. Duncewing? hehehe!" That joke even caused the mallard to stop what he was doing to stick out his tongue. "Ew! Yuck! Nevermind, that's not even funny. heh."
Within seconds Negaduck was out of his chair and before even security could react, the masked mallard had his hands wrapped tightly around Quackerjack's neck, squeezing tightly. "I'll show you not funny, you nymphomaniacal ninny!" He hissed.
Megavolt tried not to snicker but was failing miserably. He let out a few hissing giggles but paled, noting the look Negaduck was giving them. He started scooting away from Quackerjack, all the while trying to giving a warning signal to the jester that he needed to cut it out.
When Negaduck jumped up and started wringing Quackerjack's neck, he gulped and looked helpless. He glanced at the doctor.
Dr. Youngbeak shot up out of her seat.
"Negaduck, put him down right now!"
Guards rushed in to try and pull Negaduck off Quackerjack. Startled by the sudden fight, Bushroot leapt out of his seat and took a few steps backward, cringing and casting an "Oh dear, just get me out of here" look at the door. The jester gasped, having trouble breathing.
"EEEEP! Just a joke! Just a joke!" he tried to get out. "heh....You know me, i'm insane! it wasn't funny. You have strong hands, you OBVIOUSLY work out...I like that in a man."
negaduck's grip was even tighter around QuackerJack's neck.
Finally, one of the guards jabbed a needle into Negaduck's neck, causing the mallard to completely seize up.
"AaAaaAaaah~" He said dreamily. "Thas... thuh... good....shtuff."
Falling face first on to the floor, Negaduck was out cold.
"He'll wake up in a few minutes, and should be a bit calmer." The guard with the needle said, bending over to pick up the unconscious villain and return him to his chair.
Dr. Youngbeak sighed in relief.
"Thank you, Mr. Barker. You and your men can leave us now."
The guards all nodded.
"We'll be right outside, doctor," Mr. Barker said, shooting a warning look at the other Fearsome Five. For a man without any powers or recognizable presence, he sure could look intimidating.
Megavolt's heart rate was still pumping faster than he ever thought possible, even with all the times he'd been electrocuted. He leaned over to Quackerjack.
"You okay, Quacky?"
Dr. Youngbeak looked over at Quackerjack, relieved to see that despite some hacking fits, he seemed to be fine.
"Quackerjack, I must insist that you not antagonize the others in the group. Negaduck's reaction was out of control, but your behavior was inappropriate. I want to conduct this session without any further incident."
QuackerJack turned to his friend, pouting and rubbing his neck.
"That kinda hurt..."
But in a moment a smile spread onto his face, and yet another fit of laughter exploded forth.
No further incident, good luck with that, Doc, Bushroot thought as the security staff left and he hesitantly re-took his seat. He glanced around for the clock to see if the session was anywhere close to over yet. To his dismay not nearly as much time had elapsed as he had hoped.
Megavolt grinned, seeing Quackerjack was perfectly fine and normal... for him.
Dr. Youngbeak folded her hands in her lap and took a deep breath.
"Okay. Why don't we shift gears a little bit? I was thinking we could talk about what each of you wants out of life. What are your hopes and dreams?"
"Hopes and dreams?"
Megavolt smirked when his most favorite dream popped into his head.
"Finally getting rid of Darkwing Duck."
He let out a maniacal little giggle.
"Now that's a dream I can get behind!" Bushroot chimed in after Megavolt on a surprisingly upbeat note, before his tone grew more wistful. "That and lots of plants and a nice flowery bride to call my own..."
Megavolt was pleased when Bushroot chimed in his agreement. He frowned at the mention of plants.
"Plants are... eh..."
He noticed the look Dr. Youngbeak was giving him and decided to be quiet.
"I think your animosity towards Darkwing Duck is understood and recognized, but let's talk about your hopes and dreams other than him."
She smiled encouragingly at Bushroot.
"Now, there's a good, solid goal, Reginald. A lot of people desire companionship."
Megavolt couldn't help himself. He snorted.
"Yeah... whatever. I'll tell you what... I don't have any need for that sissy, mushy stuff. I have better things to do with my time. Like rescue my poor enslaved electrical brethren."
Dr. Youngbeak gave him a stern look.
"Elmo, you need to be respectful towards everyone here."
She jotted down a few notes, trying to figure out how to steer away the conversation from "enslaved electrical brethren." She had yet to address Megavolt's delusions in her individual sessions with him.
"Yeah, well, I bet that most people don't have their prospective dates run away screaming when they ask them out. I mean, I don't even need a plant, really... just someone that wants to grow old and put down roots with a misunderstood plant-duck like me." He sighed, and then went quiet. There was no point in saying more, especially if the sneers on the others' faces were any indication. He already regretted saying anything at all, unless his cooperation would get him that room with a window he hoped for.
"Who needs a date when you can cuddle up to an atomic destabilizer remote?"
Megavolt's expression looked dreamy, and he yawned.
"I can hook you up with one if you want, Bushbrain."
Dr. Youngbeak interjected.
"That's very nice of you, Elmo, but I think Reginald would prefer... uh... non-electrical company."
She gave him a reassuring smile, hoping to placate the electric rodent. He shrugged in his straight-jacket, holding an expression of indifference.
Dr. Youngbeak gave Bushroot a sympathetic look.
"Thank you for sharing your dreams with us, Reginald. I think you'll find that there are people who can be more understanding than you would think. I think having a few more goals to keep you occupied would be good for you, too, until you can find that special someone."
"Heh, I think she's talking about taking up a hobby. How does knitting sound to you, Bushy-Boo? Hehehe!"
Bushroot shot Quackerjack a withering look. "Gee, I didn't think they'd give us sharp objects to play with in here," he retorted.
Dr. Youngbeak shot them both a disapproving look.
"I don't want anymore arguments. Quackerjack, if you can't behave yourself, I will have the guards send you back to your cell."
Megavolt didn't seem to get what Bushroot was saying.
"Yeah... It's a shame, isn't it? What I wouldn't do for a fork to stick in an electrical outlet..."
"Pooh, YOU'RE no fun. for a funny farm, this place doesn't seem very happy."
Quackerjack then smiled at the rodent. "Heh. Megsy, you got some of the best kinks! hehe. Hey doc, how about ya hook my pal up with some electroshock therapy. Sure to charge up all patients, and to give his lightening rod some playtime. Haha!"
Megavolt started to get red in the face.
"Err... I said that out loud, didn't I?"
He would've face-palmed himself if he could.
"Just... just forget I said anything. Heh heh..."
Dr. Youngbeak shook her head.
"Quackerjack, your suggestions on the treatment of other patients are not welcome. Please stick to the topic at hand. What are YOUR hopes and dreams?"
"Easy! Heh. My dreams are to live on Candy-cane mountain, never lose at shoots n' ladders, to find Waldo, have as much fun as I can..." He paused, thinking the answer over before a glare appeared on his face. "And to destroy the life wrecker WIFFLE BOY once and for all!"
"Orfff roobie nnnnngh..." Negaduck said incoherently. He was coming to now, but apparently his mind hadn't quite connected with his brain yet, and he was still slurring heavily.
Sitting up slowly, he rubbed his head and groaned. Thankfully for everyone in the room, he didn't look particularly angry. It looked like the sedative was working.
"Sandwich." He finally said.
Dr. Youngbeak paused, considering her words.
"That's... ah... nice, Quackerjack."
She looked to the Liquidator.
"And how about you, Bud?"
Megavolt grinned at the jester next to him.
"So, who would you rather get rid of first? Darkwing or Whiffle Boy?"
While Dr. Youngbeak addressed Liquidator, Bushroot glanced over at the sedated Negaduck. Unlike the others, he was never given any medication since it didn't work in a plant-duck's body like it did in a normal one. He was glad of that, since he kept control of his own mind and he wouldn't have wanted otherwise. He wondered how Negaduck felt about it, although he certainly would not ask.
My biggest dream at the moment is just getting out of this miserable place, he thought, and slumped down a little further in his chair. He looked at the clock. How could that minute hand be moving that slow, anyway?
The Liquidator was irritated that Bushroot spent so much time looking at the clock and so little time looking for an exit. He himself may have been cooperating but his mind was on cracks, drains, pipes…
He figured he and Bushroot had the best chance of escape as they both had powers that couldn’t be taken from them and chemistries that couldn’t be drugged. Anyway they worked well together… if only he could find a weak point. Even during the commotion of the fight he hadn’t found so much as a door crack he could slither under. Their fearless leader did not look like he was going to at any moment pull a chainsaw out of nowhere and rally the troops, which meant every man was for himself. Though if Bushroot would look more for a way out and less for a constant reminder of what time it was they could perhaps help each other escape.
However years of fast thinking (It took a certain amount of finesse to make a rip off look like a special just-for-you deal) had him quick to answer when addressed.
“Stuck in a rut? Need a purpose for life? Try ~Currency~! Never be broke again! Legally, illegally, SEMI-legally! There are many varieties and assortments to chose from: Dollar, Yen, Peso! YOU name it _I_ want it!”
Dr. Youngbeak supposed she shouldn't have been surprised by that one.
"I think we all wish we could accumulate more wealth. But surely, you don't think wealth is everything, do you, Bud?"
She paused for a moment, thinking.
"Why don't we talk about what your life of crime does for you... What are the advantages, and what are the disadvantages?"
“Why work for money when you can steal it!” The waterdog intoned as though he were selling blenders on TV. “Now 100% more profitable with every heist!” He smiled at Dr. Youngbeak as though expecting her to ask how she too could get in on this amazing deal
"Makes you feared and powerful." Negaduck had finally gotten a grasp on his speech, although there was an eerie calm to him.
"And the ladies love a bad boy."
"My, doc, you ask easy riddles! Being impulsive is fun! It's not boooooring! Nobody really WANTS to be a fuddy-duddy. Heh, at least *I* don't. and sometimes ya gotta forget about the rules in order to do it. Rule about life is, that there ARE no rules. It's a good ol' free for all! Hahaha!"
Bushroot realized it was his turn to answer the question. "Revenge," he said in a soft, but chillingly matter-of-fact tone. "Certain jerks who used to make my life miserable won't make that mistake again."
He then folded his leaf-hands and the edge to his voice dissipated, being replaced by a hint of sadness. "And after you cross that line, it's not like there's any other way to make a living but by playing the role you've been put into." He gave Dr. Youngbeak a challenging look. "It's not like anyone was going to hire me for a real job being a plant-mutant with a murder rap, and even we mutant plant-ducks still have bills and expenses to pay."
Megavolt looked sleepy as he watched the others talk and started to nod off.
Dr. Youngbeak looked at Quackerjack, Negaduck, and Liquidator, a subtle frown crossing her features.
"Well, I see you're all quite aware of the advantages of living a criminal lifestyle, but you seemed to forget that I did ask you all to tell me the disadvantages. No matter what kind of life you lead, you're going to have upsides and downsides."
She turned to Bushroot, noting his cold demeanor and the way he seemed to be challenging her. She smiled, hoping to disarm him.
"I think you're setting a good example for the others in this session, Reginald. You did address my question, stating an advantage and a disadvantage. It seems you've thought very hard about this. It seems likely you have thought of even more advantages and disadvantages to a life of villainy, but if you do not wish to share that with the group, I understand."
She glanced over to Megavolt.
"Elmo... You need to keep awake for our session. I know the sedative makes you tired, but it was administered a few hours ago. You should be fine to continue."
"Fine... all of this talking is boring, though. Advantages and disadvantages to supervillainy..."
He scoffed, "I can't think of any disadvantages at all."
"Well... except for the fact that the hero..." His tone went sarcastic at the word, hero, and he rolled his eyes, "always wins."
"I see." She looked to the others in the group, noting their responses to what Megavolt said. She jotted down a few notes.
"Why don't we get away from talk about your life as supervillains? Here at Duckham Asylum, one of our goals is to separate your real identity from the identity you show to the public... Your supervillain identity, if you will. So, why don't we talk about happy moments from before you turned to a life of crime? Happy childhood memories, exciting experiences... Things like that."
Megavolt thought... and thought... and thought. It was really hard for him to remember much of anything of his previous life. Sometimes, when he tried to think back, it felt as if he had always been Megavolt. There was no one else.
He sat back after a while, giving up... when it came to him.
"I had a teacher back.... I don't know when... I was a little kid. He saw how miserable I was in class... He saw how much smarter I was compared to the other brats my age."
He wore an expression of intense concentration, trying to focus on the memory.
"The school wouldn't let anyone skip a grade... some junk about building social skills or something like that. So, he would keep me after school and teach me more advanced topics... like calculus, chemistry, and physics. And I loved every minute of it. He was the only one who ever respected me..."
He went quiet after a moment.
"Very good, Elmo. That does sound like a nice memory..."
He shrugged, his expression starting to grow puzzled.
"I was born into crime." Negaduck drawled impatiently. "Haven't I made that clear?" Uh, not really... perhaps in his own mind.
"Heck, my very creation was committed through a crime: !@#$." He said in a matter-of-factly tone, as though it was a perfectly normal and undisturbing topic. Dr. Youngbeak glanced at Negaduck, readying her pen.
"That must be a very hard fact to deal with. How have you managed to cope? Surely, you can think of some happy memories from your childhood."