Hard Won

Jadestar blinked awake in her sleeping bag. She rolled over, and almost squashed Nosedive, who had been lying next to her. He mumbled, but didn’t wake up. She sat up and checked her watch. 12:34 in the morning. Great.

She decided to go to the toilet, and she grabbed her robe. Pulling it on she quietly slipped out of the Migrator and walked down the path to the communal bathrooms the residents of the caravan park used.

It was dark, and Jadestar shivered as she went. The path always seemed so black, as the trees overhead blocked the star-shine. The feathers on her neck prickled, and she spun around. There was no one there, but the young duck couldn’t shake the feeling that there was someone in the shadows. She walked faster.


After leaving the facilities block, Jadestar headed back toward the Migrator. She heard a small ‘crack’ from behind her, but before she could turn, she had something sharp pushed into her neck. She started to feel incredibly dizzy.

"Very exotic." a cruel male voice whispered into her ear. She tried to respond, but instead slumped against him.


Jadestar lay shivering uncontrollably. She couldn’t move at all, she could only lie there. She was blindfolded, and lying sprawle what she needed After collecting her bathroom gear, she turned to her twin. "Don’t you need to go to the toilet? Or have a shower?"

He shook his head, not looking up from his comic. "Nope."

"If you don’t go now, you’ll need to go later." she coached. He looked up at her strangely.

"Jadestar, I don’t…" He looked at her pleading face. "Fine, I’ll have another shower."


Jadestar closed her eyes with the hopelessness of it all. She’d tried to conceal it for as long as possible, but she could tell that her charade would be blown away any day now. Nosedive had made jokes that only she could get fatter when there was less food going.

She opened her mouth to tell him, when Nosedive made a snort of disgust from the paper he’d found on the way back from the store. "Have you heard about this? There’s this guy who’s going around drugging and raping girls, then he just leaves them in alleys and stuff like that. This guy is sick! Do you want to get out tonight and see if we can find him?" He looked up and saw Jadestar staring at the paper, stricken. "Star?"

"I have something to tell you." She looked down into her lap, and started to fiddle with her fingers.

Nosedive started. "Jade, he didn’t…?"

She interrupted him. "A couple of months back I got up to go to the toilet in the night. When I came back, he was there." A tear dripped down her cheek. "There wasn’t anything I could do."

Nosedive immediately jumped up and hugged her. She sobbed onto his shoulder, and he stood there patiently.

"Why didn’t you tell me?" he whispered into her ear.

"I didn’t want to think about it, and I felt…I don’t know, I can’t explain. But that’s not the worse part."

He moved his head back so he could see her. "There’s more?"

She nodded tearfully. "I’m pregnant."


Jadestar spat out her mouthful of breakfast suddenly, getting Nosedive in the chest.

"All right, food fight!" he cheered, then seeing the look on her face, back peddled sharply. "Or not."

"Not." she gasped doubling over. "I think this is…ah." She cut the sentence short with a gasp.

Nosedive helped her out of her chair, panicking more than she was. "What do you need? What do I do? Should I get help? Do you want a drink?"

"Calm down Dive, I’m not gonna die. This is normal…I think. Anyway, just help me on my sleeping bag." She started to shuffle her way to the other end of the Migrator, and Nosedive immediately grabbed her arm and slowed her down considerably.

Jadestar sat on her bag with a thump, and waved Nosedive away. "Go stand up there, and don’t turn around."

"Are you sure? I mean, I could help…" Nosedive hovered around.

"Dive, what on Puckworld could you do? Go!" She almost slapped him away, and he hastily retreated to the drivers seat.

Jadestar sat breathing heavily and suddenly screamed. Nosedive almost turned around, but got a screeched ‘don’t look’ from Jadestar, and he changed his mind.

"Are you OK?" he asked anxiously.

"Yes, I’m fine." she grunted, moaning softly.

"Try pushing. I think you’re meant to breathe in and out and push really hard."

"I always breathe in and out," she pointed out through gritted teeth. "But pushing was an OK idea."

Nosedive listened with rising nausea at the various squeals and other assorted sounds that emitted from the back of the Migrator. Finally he heard the words he’d been waiting for. "OK, you can turn around now."

He spun on his heels, and raced to her side. She was lying, panting, half in her sleeping bag, looking at something on her chest. It was an egg. The egg was much larger than a chicken egg, and was cream with faint peach swirls. Nosedive patted her shoulder, staring at it. "Good work."

Jadestar laughed. "It was worth it. You panicked." she grinned.

"Did not!" Nosedive thought back to what he’d been doing for the last ten minutes. "Well, maybe just a little."

Jadestar ran her finger over it. "It feels really nice. Could be a bit thin but. Must be the human half showing through."

"Yeah." Nosedive agreed. "Can I touch it?"

"Sure! You’ll have to egg-sit sometimes!" She carefully handed him the egg.

He carefully held it in both hands, and brought it up to his face for a closer look. He looked back to Jadestar. "This is definitely one swell egg. Really pretty." He looked at it for a bit longer, and sighed. "Who’ll do the deed?"

Jadestar was confused. "What deed?"

Nosedive met her eyes, concerned. "Umm…get rid of it."

"Get rid of it?!" Jadestar’s voice rose an octave, and she snatched the egg back off her brother.

"Well, yeah. I mean, we can’t keep it." Realising she didn’t want to let go, he continued. "Look where you are! We sleep on the floor, we have no running water, our kitchen is a microwave and a toaster, we’re not on our planet, we’re fighting a war, we aren’t even 20 yet…think about it!"

Her eyes sparked green fire. "It’s my duckling. I *won’t* let you kill it."

"It’s not a duck yet. It’s not a duck until it hatches. And it’s not even all duck! How do you know that itd on old garbage in a dark corner somewhere, she didn’t know where. Her robe lay ripped and torn on top of her half-naked body.

At least he had the decency to cover me after he’d finished. At least he didn’t kill me.

She waited helplessly for the muscle anesthetic to wear off.


It was 6 o’clock before she could stumble into the Migrator. She was infinitely relieved when she saw that Nosedive was asleep. She stuffed her ruined pyjamas and robe into a bin, and got dressed. She itched for a shower, but was too scared to go back outside just then. She lay on top of her sleeping bag, and fell asleep immediately.


"No! Don’t!" Jadestar screamed, feeling herself being shaken.

"Jade! Jade! It’s me, Nosedive. Open your eyes, and everything will be OK." Nosedive said, concerned.

Jadestar sat up, gasping. "Whoa, I thought…" She cut herself off.

Nosedive frowned. "Star, is something wrong? I tried to wake you up 5 hours ago. It’s the afternoon! And you’re in your battle gear. And your hair is all dirty. And you smell…not nice."

"Um, rough night. Don’t worry about it. I need a shower."

"Well, go right ahead." Nosedive had been kneeling on the floor next to her, and he stood up and continued eating a sandwich. "You hungry?"

She shook her head, and started gathering up6;ll be even remotely normal?"

"It’s still a life, and it represents all you’re fighting to save." she hissed, clutching the egg tightly to her chest.

Nosedive and Jadestar stared at each other, gauging the others feelings. Finally, Nosedive groaned and looked away.

"There isn’t anything I can do, is there?" he said, more of a statement then a question.

"Glad to see you still have some sense." Her words were biting, but Nosedive ignored the bait and went to get his wallet and his shoes. Jadestar watched quietly, and gave into curiosity. "Where are you going?"

He stuffed the money in a pocket and went to the door. "Baby needs a hot water bottle." was all he said as he went out.

Jadestar allowed herself a secret smile, and gently rocked back and forth with her egg.


"Whacha gonna call it?" Nosedive asked, as Jadestar whispered softly to the egg on it’s hot water bottle, the bottle on the dashboard of the vehicle.

"I’ll know when I see him or her." she answered happily. Motherhood had brought a bit more substance to Jadestar’s day, and she often sang or hummed. Her happiness was catching, and Nosedive relaxed too, though still trying to guess what she thought about how the egg had come into being.

"Do you think you would have willingly gone down that path, knowing what would happen, for eggy there?" Nosedive asked the question he’d been pondering for weeks.

Jadestar didn’t seem to mind, and she seriously rolled the point over in her mind. "I don’t really know. It was terrible when it happened Dive, you can’t imagine. But look what I got!" She patted the egg gently. "Yeah, I would have done it. I would have kicked myself for doing it till the egg was born, but moments like now make it worth my while."

"You don’t think about what happened every time you see the egg?"

Jadestar picked up the egg and showed it to Nosedive. "This," she put it right under his beak. "Is nothing like what happened."


The next night was a typical night for the twins and the soon-to-be duck. Dive’s most treasured possession, the black and white portable TV, was switched on, and he was watching 3rd Rock From The Sun.

"Pay attention egg-ster. See the grubby kid with the brown hair?" He pointed Tommy out to the egg. "Never go out with someone like him, OK? I know what I’m talking about, I used to be him. Or like him."

"Except smarter." Jadestar snorted. She nursed the egg in the crock of her arm, following a built in instinct. She suddenly gave a squeal of excitement. "Nosedive! It’s hatching! It’s hatching!"

Nosedive immediately switched off the TV, and ran to grab the blanket they’d brought for the duckling. He put the material on the pull-out table, and Jadestar placed the egg on it. They both watched with wonder as a small section got slowly punched away. After what seemed like eternity, Jadestar decided that the duckling had done enough work, and she gently broke the egg in half. Nosedive stepped back, allowing Jadestar her moment.

"Oh…" came the gasp from Jadestar, and Nosedive peeked over her shoulder.

The duckling had unmistakable human traits. It had skin instead of feathers, and tiny, tiny ears on it’s head. The beak was there though. More the size of Mallory’s, it was a light yellow. Quiet cheeping noises came from the baby.

"It’s a girl." Jadestar exclaimed. She picked the tiny duckling up in her arms. She had obviously been very cramped in the egg, she had been tightly curled up, but the child was still smaller than a human baby.

"She’s beautiful." Nosedive fell in love immediately. "What’s her name?"

"Emily." breathed Jadestar. She gazed adoringly at the tiny pink bundle, and turned to her brother. "Here, you can hold her."

Nosedive took up the offer immediately. He tucked Emily up in her blanket and his arms. "Hey there. I’m your uncle Nosedive. You’re Emily Flashblade. You know that? Well, you are." He glanced up, grinning. "Hey, what about a middle name?"

Jadestar smiled sadly. "She won't need one."


"She can’t breathe properly."

Nosedive looked down in alarm. Jadestar was right. Emily panted desperately for air. "She’s gonna die?"

"Yeah." Jadestar didn’t look all that upset, and Nosedive couldn’t figure out why.

"Can’t you…we do anything?"

Jadestar shook her head, and reached for Emily. Nosedive surrended her. "I guess being a combination of species just doesn’t work. We might have different insides from the humans, she could be missing who knows how many organs." She rocked Emily back and forth. "Emily, I’m your mother, and I love you so much." Emily continued to gasp, but didn’t fidget. "Now, you won’t see me again for maybe a long time, and you might be all grown up then. You’re going to see your other uncle, OK? Don’t be scared, you’ll feel much better there. Your uncle’s name is Wildwing, and our friends and parents are with him. You’ll get to meet your whole family, and you’ll be very happy." Jadestar kissed the top of Emily’s head.

"Jadestar…" Nosedive looked helplessly at her.

"Nosedive, she’s going to be better off with the others." Jadestar rocked Emily gently. "Please let me enjoy this while I can."

Emily opened her eyes and cheeped plaintively. "Hey, she’s got green eyes!" Nosedive bent over for a closer look. "They’re really pale, but they’re green!"

"Gee, I wonder where she got that from?" Jadestar grinned.

"Group hug! I haven’t been part of a group hug for yonks!" Nosedive exclaimed, hugging Jadestar and Emily. Jadestar gave Emily to him again.

"You better say your good-byes." She swallowed hard.

Nosedive held her so she could look up at him. "Well, kid, we just meet and then ya gotta go. Kinda unfair isn’t it? There’s life for you, never fair. So that’s one pro for not going on with it. There’s a lot of good parts to living but. Sure you can’t stay?" Emily gave a small wheeze in reply. "I guess that means no, huh? I gotta give you back to your mum now, so, so long Emily. Be a good girl for Wildwing." He passed the duckling back to Jadestar, and she walked over to a corner, and sat down in it. "Hear that Wildwing?" Nosedive said to the roof of the Migrator. "You’re her in-between parent till Star gets to you."

Jadestar sat whispering to Emily, and stroking her back, trying to make breathing easier. She sat there for hours, and Nosedive went to bed. He wanted to help Jadestar with his niece, but his twin had refused help. She’d wanted the little time there was to herself, and Nosedive withdrew disappointed.


The next day Jadestar sighed as yet another grave was dug next to the other 5. "Do you think we might be bad luck?" she asked Nosedive.

"No chance. Otherwise we would be dead too."

"I guess."

Nosedive put the last of the earth back in the hole, and patted it down with his hand. "Finished. Do you want to go, or stay awhile?"

"Let’s go. We’ve been here too many times as it is. I can cry just as hard where ever I am." Jadestar stood up, waved good-bye to her daughter, and followed Nosedive into the Migrator.

Story Copyright Rachel Baker ’98. Jadestar and Emily Flashblade Copyright Rachel Baker. All other characters Copyright Disney, and used without permission.
Author’s note: I know this story is very borderline with it’s issues. But the idea just wouldn’t go away. I’m pro-life, in case you didn’t notice. Emily was very hard to kill, for those who think I’m heartless, but a battle vehicle is no place for a baby. Nosedive was right about that, anyway.