by Rachel Faraday

Chapter Two

The small room resembled a bright, white-walled cell. The dimensions were no bigger ten feet by eight feet. There were no windows. The only items in the room were a small bed in the center, a toilet and sink in the corner, and a small table bolted into the wall. But taking up one entire wall was an obvious two-way mirror with an observation lab control room on the opposite side.

Negaduck was laying on his back upon the table, surrounded by SHUSH agents, one of whom was nervously unlocking the villain's handcuffs. Leaning against the wall was Jacob, who watched his test subject with interest.

"You'll start by taking one pill every six hours," he informed.

One of the suited agents moved forward. In his hand was a small cup, which held a single yellow capsule. But as soon as his handcuffs were removed, Negaduck held up his hands. "Wait a minute!" he barked and the agent halted. "Now what is this pill supposed to do?" he asked suspiciously.

Jacob exhaled impatiently, dreading the long speech he would have to make in order to explain the entirety of the experiment. "It's called Passidone. It's a drug designed to alter the brain chemistry of you and nineteen other criminals serving as test subjects. If effective, it will suppress your aggressive tenancies and replace them with feelings of goodwill, compassion, and distinguish right from wrong. And over time, perhaps it will even enable feelings of remorse."

Negaduck's eyebrow raised as he stared back at Jacob's stoic face. Then he burst out into maniacal laughter which nearly sent him tumbling off of the bed. "Ha! Yeah, right! That's a laugh!"

But Jacob's sincere expression didn't change. He barely moved a muscle, clearly not amused by Negaduck's inability to grasp the seriousness of the situation. "This is no laughing matter, Negaduck. I participated in the engineering of this drug and it is the first time it has ever been tested on people. Just as in any drug trial, there are risks of side effects."

"Oh yeah? What kind of side effects?" Negaduck asked as he smirked back the last of his laughter.

"Insomnia, headache, nausea. Some can potentially be more severe, such as liver failure or even death."

Now Negaduck grew more serious at the mention of death. After a quick moment of reconsidering, he fired another question in Jacob's direction. "How long does your little experiment last?"

A small smile appeared on Jacob's bill--the first sign of any emotion since they arrive in the observation chamber. "It's never

"Huh? What do you mean 'it's never over?'" the villain demanded in surprise.

"You and the other criminals will be observed indefinitely. The experiment doesn't end. That is, unless you die."

Negaduck scowled at the snide comment. "Other criminals, huh? You mean you abducted more than one of us from the morgue?"

"The others were obtained from deathrow prisons across the country, but you needn't worry about them." Jacob stood upright from where he had been leaning against the wall and gave the public enemy another smile. "You're the star attraction."

Negaduck growled loudly and he began to retort with a string of insulting phrases, but Jacob's command beat him.

"One pill, every six hours," he repeated to the SHUSH agents as he strode out of the room without giving Negaduck another glance.

The agent who had been holding the notorious pill stepped forward once again and handed the cup to Negaduck, who grudgingly swiped it from his hand. The eyes of half a dozen agents and guards were locked on him, determined not to blink until they witnessed the violent mallard swallow the pill. The masked mallard glared at them threateningly, paused for a few more seconds, and then lifted the cup to his bill. The pill rolled down his tongue and easily slide down his throat. After swallowing, Negaduck crumpled the cup and threw it to the ground.

Still, the agent eyed him suspiciously. "Open your mouth."

Negaduck sneered, but obediently opened his bill to show no trace of the pill. The agent took a close look and then nodded approvingly. "Good man."

But the villain would show he was anything but a 'good man.' Negaduck scoffed before pulling his shoulders back and spitting directly into the agent's eyes.

"Nice," the agent said sarcastically as he wiped the glob of spit from his eyes.

"You suited yuppies get outta my cell," Negaduck growled just as the guards and agents turned to file out of the cell. As soon as their backs were turned, he grinned wickedly to himself. He had escaped a death sentence, and there was no way that this little experiment would work.

"I'm never one to second guess your judgment, Jacob. But are you confident in your decision?" J. Gander said to his old friend as they walked down one of SHUSH's busy hallways. The chatter around them drowned out the possibility of anyone overhearing their confidential conversation.

"I've never been so sure of anything in my life, John," Jacob answered smoothly. Even though he knew that his experiment had a margin of error, his confidence in himself made the potential success more believable not only to J. Gander, but to himself as well.

The director nodded, still not entirely sure about the whole situation. If something were to go wrong, he would be the one to get the blame. "We've taken a big risk here. We've fraudulently let the public enemy, a violent criminal, escape the death penalty in order to test this drug. All I can say is that this had better work. Or we will both be in serious trouble."

But Jacob remained cool, calm, and cocky. "Relax, John. Have I ever failed at anything?"

"There is a first time for everything."

The grim remark made Jacob's arrogant smile fade into a dissatisfied frown. But the tense moment was interrupted when a young agent approached the two and interrupted.

"Director Hooter, that Burnham report requiring your signature has been left on your desk," the young man informed jovially. J. Gander nodded. "Thank you, Killington. I'll see to it immediately." Agent Killington gave a quick smile to both of his seniors before continuing on his way. Jacob stared after him with raised browns. "Killington? That wasn't Eric Killington, was it? Peter's son?"

Peter Killington had been a SHUSH recruit at the same time as Jacob and J. Gander, and the latter gave a smile. "Yes. They grow up so fast, don't they? And so eager to follow in their fathers' footsteps."

Jacob turned his head and looked down at J. Gander. The second that Director Hooter saw the crushed and disappointed expression on his friend's face, he cringed, and instantly regretted making the comment. Jacob Mallard's son was none other than Darkwing Duck. When Drake Mallard was still a boy, Jacob had mysteriously vanished when he had been assassinated by an unknown enemy. While Jacob had become a legend at SHUSH, Darkwing has resented him, believing that his father had abandoned his family. In the end, Darkwing refused to continue his father's legacy at SHUSH and became the city's vigilante.

"I'm sorry, Jacob," J. Gander said gently.

"Nevermind that. We've got other matters to worry about, such as the confidentiality of this project," Jacob quickly stated to dismiss the subject just as they came into SHUSH's main lobby where many agents were passing through on their way to lunch.

One agent immediately caught Jacob's attention. He locked his eyes onto the ice-cold stare of Jake Mallard as he passed through. Jake returned the vile glower to his double. Jacob, determined to keep his cool demeanor, bit his tongue so hard that he could taste the bitter blood in his mouth. Jake was the assassin responsible for his need to carry a cane, and for destroying his family. And Jake had remained successful in keeping this fact concealed from everyone else around him.

As soon as Jake disappeared from sight, Jacob continued on with J. Gander at his side. "I can assume that Mallard is still in the dark regarding the situation?" He had stressed the importance of Jake not knowing about the experiment, and with good reason. No one wanted Negaduck dead more than Jake, and it was the same vice-versa. If Jake found out that his malevolent son was still alive and participating in the experiment, it would quickly become disastrous.

"Of course. The news and details of this experiment will remain confidential to anyone outside of the chosen staff," J. Gander said reassuringly. "If word got out to the public that he is still alive, we will have a riot on our hands. That is something we need to prevent from happening."

"It won't happen, John. We're going to un-create a monster."

The secret SHUSH lab was something that only a select few were fortunate enough to know existed. It was hidden underground, and looked like a typical laboratory. There were two levels, a ground level and a balcony level where stations were connected by catwalks. Overlooking the ground level was the main control room, which sat behind a large glass window. At the back end of the control room was the two-way mirror that looked in to Negaduck's cell.

Jacob strutted his way across the catwalk that brought him to the control room. He ceremoniously stepped inside to greet a couple of his comrades, one of whom was Dr. Sara Bellum. The other was a young scientist, Dr. Trever Grodin. The two scientists continued to work away at their computers as Jacob made his presence known.

"What are his vitals?" he inquired.

Dr. Bellum shook his head grimly. "Not good. Not good at all. Looks like we'll just to sedate him and cut out his brain!" she said and looked up at Jacob hopefully. He was not impressed, and she put on a sheepish smile. "Just kidding."

"It's already been more than a day and there's barely been a peep from him," Dr. Grodin informed more seriously.

Jacob raised his brows, coming off as the slightest bit surprised. "Oh, really? Well then, I want to get a blood test drawn. And a sample of his spinal fluid."

A couple of minutes later, two agents entered a strangely-calm Negaduck's cell. Jacob watched from behind the mirror and spoke into a microphone, which transmitted his voice over a loudspeaker inside of the cell. "Negaduck, we're going to remove your last restraint. Just try to relax."

Negaduck smirked from where he sat as one of the agents stepped forward to unlock the handcuffs imprisoning his wrists. "I just 'died' and lived to talk about it. I've never been more relaxed in my life!"

He heard the click of the handcuffs and they were removed. Negaduck rubbed his wrists and looked around himself, calmly. "But I sure could use a cup of coffee. Anyone got any java!"

It happened so quick.

Negaduck clenched his hands together into a fist and swung them around to catch the closest agent in the jaw. While he reeled backward and fell to the floor, the other agent rushed forward in an attempt to subdue the suddenly uncooperative criminal. But Negaduck was too quick. He slammed himself into the man's midsection and crushed him against the wall, forcing the breath out of him. Jacob watched with wide eyes as the criminal dashed out of the cell, and he quickly slammed his hand down on the red 'Alert' button.

"SECURITY BREACH. SECURITY BREACH." The siren wailed and flashing lights illuminated the white hallways in a red glow.

Negaduck sprinted down the hallway with his black cape flapping furiously behind him. With almost every corner he took, he ran into an agent or a security guard. And each was no match for the professional crime lord. He beat down each barrier he met, throwing suited SHUSH employees to the floor or even into one another before continuing his pursuit for freedom. It wasn't long before he shot out one of the building's emergency exits into the dark, cool night air. He could hear the stampede following him from not far behind. Without looking back, Negaduck darted across the damp grass of the SHUSH yard toward the towering fence standing between him and freedom.

"There he goes!" he heard a deep voice bark from not even a hundred yards behind him.

The villain ran as fast as his feet would carry him. He was quickly running out of breath, but as the fence came closer each second, he knew he would make it. They wouldn't be able to catch him now. Negaduck leapt onto the chainlink fence and began to climb upward toward the barbed top. It would be tricky and potentially painful to make it over the top, but he knew he could do it. All he needed was a few more seconds and--

A gun fired.

But it wasn't a firearm.

Negaduck froze instantly as he felt 10,000 volts of electricity zap through his body. He gagged on a how of pain and found that he couldn't move. His eyes panned downward to see the two small prongs sticking out of the flesh of his flank, which were attached to a taser being held by one of the agents who possessed incredible aim. Negaduck's eyes rolled back into his head as he felt himself unwillingly let go of the fence and slide down several feet into the awaiting arms of several agents who lowered the unconscious villain to the ground.

Jacob calmly walked up from behind and leaned against his cane, looking down at the masked mallard.

"He's an animal," the agent with the taser observed in a disgusted voice.

But Jacob just smiled eagerly.

"He's perfect."