A Penny Saved is a Penny Spurned

by Amanda Rohrssen

Chapter One: Escape

The St. Canard Maximum Security Terrarium. Home of some of the most despicable mammals, crustaceans, arachnids, and reptiles the state of Calisota had ever seen. It wasn’t a very well known penitentiary, as there were few who fit the sorts of inmates held there. It was a specialized prison where those criminals with unique physiques and abilities were kept separated from the regular felon fare.

There had been few breakouts in its decades-long history, and the terrarium prided itself on its top-notch technology and security. That pride took a blow, however, the previous evening when one particular villain escaped without leaving any evidence as to how. The warden and his officers were so baffled by the break out that they called in the only person they could think of with inside information on the inmate in question. The very vigilante who had brought the criminal to justice.

“Never fear, gentlemen, Darkwing Duck is at your service!” the costumed crime-fighter declared as he entered the room with a sweep of his cape. He was followed closely by his sidekick.

The warden looked relieved and extended a hand toward Darkwing. “Darkwing Duck, thank goodness you’re here! We’ve been studying this cell for almost twelve hours and have come up with nothing! There’s no way she could have escaped.”

“But she did,” Darkwing reminded him bluntly. “I’ve dealt with this slippery serpent before, warden. I’m sure I’ll have her back behind bars…er, glass…in no time!” He pulled out his super-duper magnifying glass and began hunting around the glass tank that had housed The Chameleon. “Hmmm…hmm…” he mused with interest. “And you say your boys had this tank surrounded by steel bars and laser sensors?”

The warden nodded.

“And the temperature was set to 97°F?”

Again, Darkwing received a nod. The hero continued searching and speculating.

“So she couldn’t have used her transformation powers…”

“Is there anyone that you know of on the outside that might have aided her?” the warden asked curiously.

Darkwing straightened and shook his head. “The Chameleon worked alone, as far as I could tell. She, herself, admitted to me she didn’t have any friends. Tell me, warden, what do the cameras show?”

“That’s just it,” the warden replied with some shame in his voice. “We were doing some repair work on the camera system last night. We thought it would be secure enough with the lasers, bars, and glass in place. As it was, the cameras were only out for about fifteen minutes, but…”

“All of your other detainees are accounted for?”

The warden nodded. “Yes. Only Camille was missing when the guard made his rounds.”

“I’ll need anything that she received while incarcerated. Letters, packages, phone transcriptions…”

“But Darkwing,” the warden interrupted, “she was a lizard…couldn’t speak or write, and you said it yourself. She didn’t have any friends.”

Darkwing cringed at his own slip-up, but cleared his throat and shook it off. “Ahem, well, yes. But you never know with these criminal types. Every angle, however impossible, must be looked at!”

“Hey DW!” Darkwing’s sidekick, Launchpad McQuack, called from the other side of the glass tank. “Take a look at this!”

The hero rounded the small enclosure to peek in where Launchpad was pointing.

“There’s a tiny lake and mini-trees, an’ even a sunlamp! Pretty swanky set-up for a prison!”

“Yeah, that’s great, LP,” Darkwing replied, unamused. He’d hoped that his sidekick had found more useful information.

“And look! There’s even one of those little margarita umbrellas!” Launchpad tapped the tank where the paper sunblocker was, only to have an odd-shaped piece of glass fall from where he’d touched it into the tank. “Whoops…”

Darkwing gasped and aimed his magnifying glass at the hole the pilot had just created. “Launchpad, do you realize what you’ve done?”

“Uh…gee, sorry, DW, I was just lookin’ at the –“

“You’ve discovered how our fleeing felon took flight!”

“I did?” Launchpad chuckled slightly and stood up to his full height a bit proudly. “Oh well, heh, heh, heh, glad I could help out.”

“I don’t see anything,” the warden said from behind them both, looking pointedly at the glass.

Darkwing smirked smugly and moved to the side while keeping his magnifying glass next to the tank. “Take a closer look, warden.” While the terrarium supervisor leaned in, the hero continued. “Notice if you will the distinct shape of the hole in the glass that you see before you. See anything out of the ordinary?”

The warden blinked. “Why yes! It’s –"

“That’s right, warden, the hole is chameleon-shaped! The perfect size for our escaped miscreant to crawl through!”

“But even if she could get out of the tank, how did she get past our laser security and the cell bars?”

At this, Darkwing eyed the room a bit more closely, then raised his index finger into the air as a theory came to mind. “Camille seemed a bit more…acrobatic than most of the villains I’ve faced. I wouldn’t be surprised if she contorted herself through your laser system and then just crawled through the bars.” He bent down nearer the thick metal bars surrounding The Chameleon’s cell, then glanced up at the warden. “You really should think about respacing these.”

“But she didn’t crawl through the bars. The guard found her cell door wide open…”

Darkwing stood back up and brandished his magnifying glass as if it were a sword, trying to make up for the fact that he couldn’t yet explain for certain how Camille’s mysterious prison break had occurred. “My sidekick and I are professionals, warden,” he stated reassuringly. “The question we need to be focusing on is not how she escaped, but where she is now.”

“Hey look, DW, the funny pages!” Launchpad said happily as he reached into the tank and pulled out a section of shredded newspaper. “It’s yesterday’s, too! I didn’t get around to my daily Frankie Ferret…”

The warden’s lip curled in disgust as he watched Launchpad finger the paper. “That’s what we put in there for her to, ahem, relieve herself on.”

“Relieve herself? I’ll bet she could use a good laugh being in…” Launchpad paused when he realized exactly what the prison official meant. “Oh.” He instantly let the pieces of newsprint fall back into the tank.

“Wait a minute!” Darkwing said hurriedly, rushing to the side his partner was on and reaching back in for more shredded articles. “I remember something from yesterday’s news!” He dug around for a few moments while the officers that were observing in the cell nearly went white with nausea. “Ah ha! Here we go.”

The headline read: McDuck to Buy Howl Publishing Empire.

“That larcenous lizard could be after Mrs. Howl’s printing presses again to cash in on counterfeit currency!”

“How can you be so sure, DW?” Launchpad inquired curiously.

Darkwing looked dubiously at his sidekick. “I’m not, LP, but it’s the only lead we’ve got so far. To The Daily Examiner!” Then he glanced sheepishly at his palms. “…But first we should probably find some hand sanitizer…”


From the moment he met Mrs. Howl, Darkwing knew she was going to be a handful. He grimaced and tried to remind himself that this was an important case, and the key to capturing the culprit was this canine connoisseur.

Mrs. Howl wrapped her fur shawl more closely around her shoulders and waddled toward the window of her executive office, which had a very impressive view of downtown St. Canard.

“Mr. Darkwing, while I appreciate the offer of your services, I feel that the police will be quite capable in handling any necessary security measures while I am meeting with Mr. McDuck later this afternoon."

“Madam,” said Darkwing evenly, trying to keep the huffiness out of his voice, “with all due respect, I don’t think you understand the severity of the situation. The Chameleon targeted you the last time she was out.”

“Yes,” Mrs. Howl agreed, turning to give a stout glare at the masked vigilante. “And as I recall, it took you at least three hours after commandeering her to remember that I was still tied up in my home while she pretended to be me!”

Darkwing was only flustered for a moment. “Ah…well…yes, that’s true, bu-but I was personally escorting Camille to the Maximum Security Terrarium! There wasn’t time to –"

“A fat lot of good that did. I’ve seen where your priorities lie, Mr. Darkwing, and I’ll thank you to leave me out of your glory-hounding. Good day!”

“Mrs. Howl, I assure you that –"

“I said, ‘Good day!’”

“Gee, DW,” Launchpad commented as they walked out of the newspaper building together. “Who do you think spit in her coffee this morning?”

“I don’t know, but if that old crone thinks she can keep Darkwing Duck from following through on this case, she’s got another thing coming! Can you believe she called me a glory-hound? Me!”

“Yeah…” Launchpad cleared his throat, but his tone was a bit sardonic. “She was way off the mark.”

Darkwing raised an eyebrow at his sidekick, then sighed. “We’ve got to find a way to ensure that Mrs. Howl stays safe without her knowing we’re doing it! Even if it means stalking her like a fanboy with a fur fetish.”

“I dunno, DW, that sounds a little weird.”

“That may be, but if we’re going to catch that criminal chameleon, we’ve got to do it! Come on, Launchpad…let’s get vigilant!”


While Darkwing and Launchpad were busily spying on Mrs. Howl from one rooftop, there was another figure on a neighboring rooftop looking in on them.

“Drat!” Camille hissed when she spotted the caped crusader and the pilot through the binoculars she was holding. “It’ssss that masked buffoon again! Well, this time he won’t sssstop me from getting my revenge!” She glanced at her watch and smiled deviously. “Only a few more hours until McDuck shows up. Then the fun begins…”