One On One

"Woohoo! Victory laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!!!" Nosedive screamed with excitement as he skated around the Pond rink, waving his stick in the air. Mallory shook her head, smiling, and turned to Duke.

"We have got to stop letting him do that play at the end of the game. When was the last time someone else scored the winning goal?"

Duke grinned, but before he could reply he was interrupted by the simultaneous beeping of the six ducks’ comms. He flicked his open with the rest of them, and skated to the center of the ice.

"It’s a disturbance across town." Tanya sniffed. "It l…looks…"

Wildwing started skating to the edge of the ice. "Tell us on the way."


Once they were in the Migrator and Tanya had managed to blurt out that Drake One had spotted a huge amount of energy in the warehouse district, the Ducks were on their way.

"Y’know, this has ta be the third ‘large amount of energy’ alert Drake One’s picked up this month! And it always turns out ta be nothin’." Duke commented.

Wildwing was firm. "We’ve got to check it out still. It could be Dragaunus."

"Yeah," Nosedive nodded. "But it also could be an industrial accident that could fry our funky feathers off."

"Way to look at the bright side." Mallory snorted.


Duke leaned against the edge of the building, obviously not worried. "Now, this looks kinda the same as that last warehouse, don’t it?"

"Well, you know, all warehouses *are* kinda, like, the same." Tanya fiddled with the lock.

Nosedive dramatically covered his face with his arm. "We’re in a rut!" He started tugging on Mallory’s arm. "The love has died!"

Mallory crossly shook him off, ignoring Duke’s sniggering. "Why don’t you just put up a huge sign announcing our presence if you’re going to be that loud?!"

Wildwing made a soothing gesture with his hands. "Mallory’s right. Why don’t we just all calm down and get this over and done with?"

Tanya got the door open, and they all followed her inside. Grin looked around.

"It would seem that Drake One gave us false hopes."

He was right. The warehouse seemed empty and silent. Wildwing sighed, and turned to the door, when the door was suddenly protected by a heavy sliding wall. "What the…?" The ducks all lost their balance and fell as the building started moving up.

"Guys, we have *got* to stop falling for the old ‘starship disguised as a building’ trap." Nosedive commented as four familiar glass walls rose around them.


"Home sweet home." Duke sighed as they were placed in the same holding cell as the last time they’d been ‘recruited’ for Space Hockey.

"Oooo, they redecorated!" Nosedive squealed. "I like the ‘paint splattered’ look!" He was pointing to a few dull red splodges on the floor. Tanya bent to take a look.

"Th..that’s not paint." she said.

"It’s blood?" Mallory asked, also squatting. "I guess someone wasn’t co-operating."

"More than that," Tanya sniffed. "The only hockey playing species that have red blood are us and the humans."

Wildwing looked around. "We weren’t hurt last time we were here. Which means…"

"More ducks! Way out!" Nosedive cheered. "Or humans…Whatever."

"Well, somethin’ tells me we ain’t gonna meet ‘em. That’s a mighty large stain." Duke took a seat. The others all winced, and moved away too.

"We’re in a lot of trouble." Wildwing sighed.

Mallory agreed. "They can’t be happy with us for escaping."

Duke gave her a sideways glance. "Or pleased with yer attempts to kill Chargg." Mallory looked away, and he continued. "They would’ve killed ya on the spot if you’d actually managed, ya know." She didn’t answer.

"What happened?" The other ducks looked confused. Duke shook his head, and Mallory stayed silent. Wildwing looked from one to the other and was about to say more when he saw Weazyl approach. "Here comes trouble…"

‘Trouble’ advanced, smirking. "You ducks are about to pay for your actions the last time you were here."

Mallory rolled her eyes. "Oh, really?" she said, sarcastic. "We never would have guessed."

Weazyl pointed a finger at her. "You be quiet. We were considering destroying you as soon as we caught you." Mallory tossed him a fake smile, and folded her arms, leaning back against the wall. He continued. "You six were the best players we’ve had here, and this game has sold out." He grinned. "But this time you aren’t playing another team."

Wildwing frowned. "I don’t understand. You need two teams to play hockey."

Weazyl was still grinning. He leaned closer. "You’re going to play each other."


"Numbers four and five." Duke and Mallory approached the bars. They were quickly grabbed out, and marched to the weapons wall. "Choose."

Mallory and Duke glanced at each other, folded their arms, and said nothing.

"Whether you like it or not, you *will* fight."

Mallory leaned forward to take a large gun, and Duke took a sword. She whispered meaningfully to him as he went past, "That sword can be used out of the rink." He nodded, he’d been thinking the same thing.

Suddenly the guards produced two blast belts, and started trying to put them on the two ducks. Mallory gave the guard a swift chop to the head, and attempted to make her escape. Duke did the same, catching the second guard with the sword he’d been given. The other four ducks cheered as they escaped around the corner.

Right into the guardroom.

"Aheh. Heh. Sorry for intrudin’…" Duke smiled sickly as he and Mallory were backed into a corner.


"You know the really disgusting thing about all this?"

Duke looked away from the screaming crowds, and found that Mallory was pointing to them anyway. "What?"

"They know very well that we won’t fight each other. They’re just here to see us get blown up."

Duke slowly spun in a circle, taking in the cheers and excited faces. "Sweetheart, I believe you’re right."

Mallory fiddled absently with her blast belt. It had fifty four of the fifty five minutes left on it. She and Duke were standing defiantly in the middle of the rink. Neither was prepared to save themselves over the other, like Mallory had said as they’d been forced into the belts, who’d be able to live with themselves afterwards anyway? "It was a great year, Duke. I don’t regret leaving Puckworld for a minute."

Duke shook his head. "This is stupid. There’s no point in us both dying."

"Don’t you dare get chivalrous on me L’Orange." Mallory glared at him, and skated closer. He looked at her questioningly. She suddenly brought her gun out in front of her, and poked it into his chest. "Back up towards the guard at the entrance." she hissed, hardly opening her beak.

"What are you doing?" Duke asked softly as he skated backwards. "That gun’s not going to work after ya blast through the door."

She nodded to her shoe with her head. "After last time I’ve been taking precautions."

He looked disbelieving. "You have a pucklauncher in yer shoe?!"

Mallory shook her head. ‘Pistol’ she mouthed as she shoved Duke against the door. She clicked the gun off the safety, and smiled slightly when Duke flinched, half acting, half real. She pulled the trigger back and suddenly turned on the guard nearby. He went down with a thump, and Mallory immediately started on the door. By the time it was blasted through the guards were on their backs. Duke deflected their shots with his sword and hockey stick, and he and Mallory pounded down the halls.


"Did we lose ‘em?" Mallory nodded, and Duke took a look around the room they’d ducked into.

Mallory smiled when she recognised the contents of the shelves. "You’re mentally linked to that saber, right?"

"Very funny Mal." He grabbed his weapon off the shelf, and tossed Mallory her own. She slung the bazooka over her back, and helped Duke gather up the other ducks’ tools.


Tanya looked sick. "They haven’t brought Duke or Mal back." she mumbled.

Nosedive nodded. "And didya hear the shots? I hate ta say it, but it doesn’t look good for Mally or the Dukester."

"I hope you haven’t been saying anything bad about us behind our backs." Mallory appeared suddenly at the bars. Duke was behind her, and he waved at their astonished faces. "How do we get these bars turned off?"

Tanya pointed to one of the control pads on the nearby system. "That pad." Mallory went over to take a look.

"We thought you two were dead for sure!" Wildwing looked at Duke, wanting an explanation.

Duke snorted as the bars disappeared, and hiked a thumb at Mallory. "Ms Paranoia here’s been carrying weaponry in wit’ her tootsies."

"Shut up, I could have just saved your life."


The Ducks, suited up in the familiar battle gear, crept around the place, painfully aware that the next corner they rounded of the huge complex could be their last. Wildwing insisted on going in front because of his flak jacket, and they all followed him in a solemn single file.

"Does *anyone* remember the way out?" Wildwing asked for the umpteenth time. He was met with the familiar head shake.

Duke cleared his throat. "Not to make anyone panic or nothin’, but me an’ Mal still got our blast belts on…"

They paused in the hallway. Tanya rubbed her beak. "There must be some way to get them off. Let me take a look…" Mallory was nearer, and Tanya inspected the situation closely. She fingered the clasp at the front. "There’s some kinda keyhole…thing."

"Hey, it’s the shuttle-park." Nosedive glanced around at the bay where they’d come to.

"I could hotwire one o’ those things." Duke commented.

Wildwing shook his head. "We can’t leave without getting those things off you two."

Duke frowned. "Look, the longer we stick around here, the more danger we’re in. You four head off, an’ Mally and I’ll get our belts off and join you."

"Join us where?" Grin was watching Duke intently.

Duke gave a half-smile. "Altier Four. Where else?"


Nosedive watched Duke and Mallory run back into the complex for a second, then he diverted his attention back to searching for a map. "Got it! Altier Four, thataway!" He pointed.

Wildwing flicked a few switches and such, and took off. "This shouldn’t be so hard."

Tanya made a face. "Flying this shuttle, no. Finding Kazor and his rebels? Yes."

Grin watched the navicomp screen. "I think that perhaps he has found us."


Duke glanced at the smaller duck next to him. "You think you can do this?"

Mallory nodded. "We don’t have a choice."

"Exactly. Just remember what I told you, alright? I’d do this myself if the passage was big enough." Duke offered her a leg up. She took it gratefully.

"Just don’t get yourself killed."

"I could say the same thing to you." He watched her disappear into the vent, then headed off to carry out his part of the plan.


"They’ve got to come this way for the key." Mallory could hear the guards talking beneath her. One good kick…

The heavy vent that landed on the two lions’ heads was enough to knock them out. Mallory jumped out of the vent, and moved them out of the way in case anyone walked past. Once she’d done that she opened the door warily, not sure of what she would find on the other side.

She wasn’t pleased with the sight that met her eyes. "I am not paranoid. *This* is paranoid."


Duke jumped, and nearly blew himself up. He opened his beeping comm harshly. "Mallory! You nearly killed us both just then!"

She was sarcastic. "Pardon me for calling for back up."

"I told ya how to pick a lock! It’s not that hard!"

"Duke! This key is surrounded by motion sensors! It’s the whole kit and caboodle! You want me to try and shut that down without setting something off?! I don’t think so!"

Duke scowled. "I’ll be there in a minute. I’m not finished with these bombs. I’ve gotta wire ‘em together yet."

"Well, hurry, I…" She looked up sharply. "Oh, sh…" The connection was cut.

Duke winced, and hurried on with his work to get it done faster.


"Please say you have a teleporter."

Kazor shook his head. "We use duality jumps."

Wildwing, Nosedive and Grin all looked at each other. "What’s a duality jump?" they asked simultaneously.

Tanya tried to explain. "It’s the step down from a teleporter. You kind of hop your way through the universe. You teleport a small distance away, then again and again till you reach your destination."

Kazor nodded. "Something like that. But you can get through teleportation shields. Which is why we still use them. Slower, but since we only need to go from Altier Four to the ‘Dome, it works."

"Will it get us back to Earth?" Right now, this was at the forefront of Wildwing’s mind.

Kazor nodded. "It will take about a hundred jumps, and a few hours, but you’ll get there fine. Unless you get seasick. It can be rather rough, even in a ‘ship."

Tanya sighed.


"Mallory?" Duke called for his team mate softly, aware that he was risking his neck. He arrived at the now unguarded room which held the key. After looking at the motion sensors, he glanced at the key pad. It was exactly like the one for the holding cells. He tried the same pass, and smiled grimly when he was able to take the key. He undid his blast belt, and cast it into a corner, disgusted. Well, he’d gotten rid of his belt at least.

But where was Mallory?


The three short, sharp sounds echoed through the corridors of the hockeydome. Duke turned and ran to the source. As he got closer, he proceeded with more and more caution, not sure of what he’d find.

What he did find were two guards, both shot and bleeding. A third bullet hole was in the wall at chest height. He bent to see if he could find a pulse on the guards.

"Don’t bother."

He twisted his head to see Mallory step out of the shadows calmly. He glanced down at the mess before him for a moment. "You did this?"

She nodded. "They were taking me to Chargg."

"Did you have to kill them?!"

A shadow flickered across her face. "I forgot that I had the pistol, not a pucklauncher. I only meant to disable them."

He shook his head, and stood up, passing her the key. She grabbed it gratefully and removed her belt, with a few minutes to spare. Duke glanced at the watch on his comm. "We gotta get out of here. This place is going star-high soon."


"Wildwing. Wildwing, come in." Duke tried his comm again and again, with little luck. He sighed to Mallory. "I don’t know. Maybe it’s broken."

She tried her own. "Wildwing? Wildwing? Nosedive? Tanya? Grin?" She shook her head. "All out. I guess the comms don’t function that well over space."

Duke looked around the deserted car park. "We shoulda stolen one and hid it when Wildwing and the others left. Now we’re stuck."

Mallory struck out for a corner of the space-station they hadn’t yet explored. "Maybe there’re some ships in here."

He followed. "Maybe." Duke raised an eyebrow at the extra fanciness. "Or maybe we’re walkin’ into Chargg’s quarters."

"You think he lives here? In the ‘dome?"

"Why not? There’s enough security, and he’s close ta his favourite sport."

Mallory snorted. "Enough security? We got out, didn’t we?"

Duke grinned. "Yeah. But we’re experienced jail breakers." He coughed. "Well, one of us is, anyway…"


Wildwing shook his head, and gave up on his comm. "It’s not working. And they should have gotten out of there by now. Something must be wrong."

Kazor gestured to one of his underlings. "Scan for ion trails." After the tracker relayed the results to Kazor in some alien tongue, Kazor translated for the ducks. "He says that around twenty trails have been left. How many starships were there when you were there?"

Grin grunted. "Around twenty."

Kazor sighed. "None of the trails lead anywhere near Altier Four."

Tanya was alarmed. "We mighta, you know, just left them up the creek without a pa…pa… an onboard motor!"

Nosedive glared at her. "Way to take the bright side, girly."

Wildwing straightened. "Well, then…"


Duke and Mallory didn’t get anywhere near the guard fleet of cruises. The tougher system picked them up as soon as they got within 100 feet of the place.

"It must have been a bio-scan!" Mallory yelled as she and Duke pounded across the car park to the shelter of the public area. Duke was about to reply when he was suddenly yanked off his feet behind something as he passed a jutting-out wall.

"What the…? Let go!" Duke snarled, and twisted out of his captor’s grip. He was about to deck the being when he saw who, or rather, what he was.

The human put his finger to his lips, and pushed aside a large waste disposal carrier, revealing a hole in the wall. There being no time for questions, and having lionoid guards on their tails, Duke and Mallory decided to follow him in.

"What’s your name?" Mallory hissed at the man who’d saved them.

There was a short laugh. "You don’t recognise me? It’s Chip. Chip Delany."

Duke felt around in the dark for him. "Chip? Was that yer blood on the floor…?"

Both ducks felt the young adult shake his head. "No. One of my friends who accidentally got recruited with me." He shrugged. "No need for them to be kept around."

Mallory winced. "We’re sorry…"

"Forget it. Where’s everyone else?"

Duke paused. "Coming to get us, I hope."

Mallory suddenly swore. "Duke! The explosives!"

Duke started out of their hiding place. "We gotta get outta here."


The ship with the duality jump installed ‘jumped’ into the car park, just in time to see the two ducks and the human running. They opened the ship door, and the three jumped in.

"Go! Go!" Duke yelled. Kazor obeyed, and they took off just in time to see the hockeydome explode in a ball of flame.

Nosedive broke the silence. "Why does that always happen? I mean, the heroes flying away from the blown-up station just in time?"

Tanya shrugged. "Nice, formulaic, predictable ending?"

Duke regained his breath. "Yeah, nice ta see you all too. Don’t make our welcome too warm, or nothin’." He grinned at the resulting torrent of joking come-backs and sarcastic hellos that gained.

Wildwing frowned. "Chip?"

"Seems that Chargg wasn’t just out for ducks," Mallory explained.

Grin patted Chip’s shoulder serenely. "His evil mind was all encompassing."

Nosedive nodded hard. "Yeah, and he didn’t care who he got to play space hockey either!"

Kazor shook his friend’s hand. "Duke."

Duke grinned. "Kazor."

Wildwing looked around. "Now that the touching reunions are over…Let’s go home."

"You know the one good thing about being captured by evil aliens that make us play hockey?" Nosedive rubbed his hands together.


"It drives Phil nuts that he gets no royalties!"

Mallory rolled her eyes. "Not funny."

"Hey, what can I say? Long day."


Duke laughed, and toasted the team in general. "Eh, I knew we’d get back."

"Sure," Nosedive looked a little evil. "You sucking your thumb in the cell was just to make us THINK you were scared stiff."

"Hey! I was NOT suckin’ my thumb!"

As Nosedive and Duke argued, Mallory slipped out of the Rec Room. Normally, she was all for a little celebration, especially after as close a shave as what they’d had. She closed the door of her room behind her, and sat on the edge of her bed. It was fairly dark, but the security lights were on as usual. The stupid things, they always kept her awake.

Not that she was here to sleep. She rolled onto her back and grabbed her gun from the opposite bed side table. She absently checked to make sure it was loaded. Toying with it, she took aim at an imaginary target.

When the door opened without warning, the entrant found themselves with a pistol pointed at their chest.

"Duke! You scared me!"

"*I* scared *you*?! Ya coulda killed me!"

She flicked the safety back on and tossed the gun onto the bed. "You wouldn’t be the first. You better watch it, I might make it a habit."

He frowned, knowing what she meant. "The guards were an accident, weren’t they?"

"Of course!" Mallory was immediately defensive. "Why would I purposely kill them?!"

Duke quickly backed off. "You wouldn’t." He gave her a close look. "You’re okay but, right?"

She was still harsh. "Well, maybe I’m just not used to it like some people…"

He scowled. "Mallory, don’t imply when you don’t know anythin’ about what you’re implyin’."

"Oh, come on. You were a gangster, they kill people. And not by accident."

After counting to ten in a rather hurried fashion, Duke managed to keep his temper. "If I had, it wouldn’t be yer business anyway."

"I’m not your business either." Mallory resolutely folded her arms, and sat in sullen silence. Duke waited for awhile before going on.

"As long as yer sorry, there’s nothin’ ya can do about it."

Her voice was surprisingly soft, for her. "I’m sorry."

He smiled a little lopsidedly at her. "Looks like we finally found somethin’ in common, Mally."

She looked up with a start. "So you…"

But he was gone.

Story Copyright Rachel Baker ’99. All characters Copyright Disney, and used without permission.
Author’s Note: Yes, ‘Mad Quacks Beyond Hockeydome’ is my favourite episode. ;)