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Duck Dodgers 40,000


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An idea I've had for quite a while, this literature was originally intended for my larger "Reneverse" concept, but deciding said shared literature universe had enough stories as it is, I've decided that it would work better as a separate, standalone series.

This literature asks a very simple question: "What if, instead of the 24th (and 1/2th) century, Daffy Duck, also known as Duck Dodgers, ended up in the 41st millennium of Warhammer 40,000?"

The answer? A much darker take on Duck Dodgers' premise, peeling away the glamorized 1950s sci-fi parody and instead coating it in a gritty paint...though still with all the slapstick, wordplay, and general insanity of Looney Tunes as a whole.

Edited by jjsthekid
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A brief teaser to sate your appetites.

Spoiler

“Duck Dodgers. Some call him a hero, a savior, and an inspiration. Others call him a coward, an egotist, and a fool. All of these things are true, to an extent. I would know. I spent a few years alongside Dodgers, observing him and recording his actions.

 

I suppose I should recount when he first emerged into the Imperium at large. He was found deep underground on Holy Terra by a group of Tech-Priests, all of whom were in the middle of some ritual. They had discovered the cryopod containing Dodgers, and were praying to the machine spirit inside, when one of them managed to press the button that thawed him. He was brought out of cryosleep, quite confused and demanding to know where he was. The Tech-Priests nearly shot him for, in their view, defiling a machine with his presence inside.

 

After a few months of paperwork, shouting matches, tangled bureaucratic dealings, and violence, Duck Dodgers was given the same privileges as a Rogue Trader. Meaning, he was given a ship that was equipped with a Warp drive and came with a small crew, and sent away from Terra, so the High Lords did not have to deal with him anymore.

 

One member of that crew was me. Amberley Vail, Inquisitor of the Ordos Xenos, author of Ciaphas Cain’s memoirs, and subject of many a Guardsmen’s lewd fantasies. I went with Dodgers in order to keep an eye on him, because, despite how harmless he seemed, he was still an alien, and no one had any idea what he might do. At least, that was the official reason I went. The more personal reason was that I thought I saw the same spark of potential in Dodgers as I did in Ciaphas Cain so many years ago.

 

By the Emperor...I could not have been more wrong...”

 

- Inquisitor Amberley Vail, The Tale of Duck Dodgers: A Memoir.

 

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“Duck Dodgers. Some call him a hero, a savior, and an inspiration. Others call him a coward, an egotist, and a fool. All of these things are true, to an extent. I would know. I spent a few years alongside Dodgers, observing him and recording his actions.

 

I suppose I should recount when he first emerged into the Imperium at large. He was found deep underground on Holy Terra by a group of Tech-Priests, all of whom were in the middle of some ritual. They had discovered the cryopod containing Dodgers, and were praying to the machine spirit inside, when one of them managed to press the button that thawed him. He was brought out of cryosleep, quite confused and demanding to know where he was. The Tech-Priests nearly shot him for, in their view, defiling a machine with his presence inside.

 

After a few months of paperwork, shouting matches, tangled bureaucratic dealings, and violence, Duck Dodgers was given the same privileges as a Rogue Trader. Meaning, he was given a ship that was equipped with a Warp drive and came with a small crew, and sent away from Terra, so the High Lords did not have to deal with him anymore.

 

One member of that crew was me. Amberley Vail, Inquisitor of the Ordos Xenos, author of Ciaphas Cain’s memoirs, and subject of many a Guardsmen’s lewd fantasies. I went with Dodgers in order to keep an eye on him, because, despite how harmless he seemed, he was still an alien, and no one had any idea what he might do. At least, that was the official reason I went. The more personal reason was that I thought I saw the same spark of potential in Dodgers as I did in Ciaphas Cain so many years ago.

 

By the Emperor...I could not have been more wrong...”

 

- Inquisitor Amberley Vail, The Tale of Duck Dodgers: A Memoir.

The Inquisitor and the Duck

 

Inquisitor Amberley Vail cleared her throat, smoothing out the parchment in front of her and picking up an ink pen. "You know, I have seen many strange and unbelievable things." She said to the unusual figure sitting across from her. "But never anything quite as odd as a walking, talking duck."

 

The duck folded his arms, frowning. “You think I’m odd? Listen, toots, I woke up buried far beneath the earth in a cryogenics pod surrounded by cyborgs. See, that’s odd.” The duck, who was much shorter than Amberley at 3 ½ feet, looked at her with his large white eyes; he had no visible sclera, his pupils single black dots. His feathers were equally dark, his bill and feet bright orange; the only other distinguishing feature being the small white ring around his neck. “Now, you wanna tell me just what in Jones’ name is going on here? Because I need to go collect my money for that government experiment. Being frozen for who-knows-how-long ain’t free, ya know.”

 

“The ‘government’ you speak of no longer exists.” the Imperial Guardsman standing beside the duck informed him. “It’s a long-gone myth as far as we know.” The duck stared blankly at Amberley, his pupils having shrunk into near-nothingness.

 

“A-a-myth…?” he asked. The realization hit him like a ton of bricks. Bugs...Lola….Tina...all of them were long-dead...it couldn’t be.

 

"What year was it when you entered the cryopod?" Amberley asked. The duck, or ‘Daffy’, as he preferred to be called, put a finger to his beak in contemplation.

 

“...2014, I believe. Yeah, that’s it. 2014.” Daffy answered after a minute or two.

 

Amberley stared at him for several seconds. "By the Emperor…"

 

Daffy blinked. “What? Was it something I said?” No immediate response. “Yoo-hoo, Blondie?” Daffy snapped his fingers in front of Amberley’s face. Still no response.

 

"Guardsman...what is the current year?"

 

“953.M41, Inquisitor.”

 

Daffy blinked. “....So, almost 38,000 years have passed?” He paused. “Wow, I’m better at math than I thought.”

 

The Guardsman joined Amberley in staring at Daffy now. “By the Emperor indeed, Inquisitor. This...this duck...he’s from the Age of Terra.”

 

"You're a living relic." Amberley said. "The oldest technology in the Imperium comes from the Dark Age, but no humans from that era still live. Technology older than that is unheard of. But a piece of tech from the Age of Terra, in addition to a living being…"

 

“Then we have a very rare find.” the Guardsman concluded.

 

“Hey, buddy, what’s your name?” Daffy interrupted.

 

“McKimson. Guardsman McKimson.”

 

“Alrighty then, McKimson, let me get this straight: I’m some kinda relic to you weirdos? Then why’d those cyborg guys try to kill me when they activated the pod?”

 

“Because to the tech-priests you were ‘desecrating the machine spirit’.” McKimson answered, then laughed a bit. “Wait till the cogboys hear about this…”

 

"Tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus." Amberley explained. "They dwell on Mars, and are the ones who keep the technology of the Imperium running. They're also fanatically religious, and tend to kill people who, intentionally or not, meddle with their work. They worship machines, believing that they all have spirits, which must be revered."

 

Daffy blinked, and nodded to act like he understood (which he honestly didn’t). “So they tried killing me because I was in the pod?” Daffy’s eyes darted up, as if he were pondering again. “That explains the ‘you dare violate the will of the Omnissiah, xeno!’ bit they were screaming at me.”

 

"Xenos in general tend not to be treated kindly by the Imperium." Amberley said. "At best, they are tolerated."

 

“Like you are right now.” McKimson added.

 

"Calling the Fabricator-General of the Mechanicus a 'cyborg freak' hasn't done you any favors." Amberley continued.

 

“....Again, he tried to kill me. Do I keep having to repeat myself!? And besides, didn’t your friend just call ‘em ‘cogboys’? If you ask me, that’s way more offensive.”

 

"The High Lords still might try to kill you." Amberley replied.

 

“....Who?”

 

"The governing council of the Imperium. The Fabricator-General is one of them."

 

“...Oh, poo.” Daffy muttered.

 

"As an Inquisitor, I don't report to the High Lords, so I am free to ignore any commands to hand you over. But they have other ways of having you killed. So, I have come up with a solution."

 

“What kind of a solution?” Daffy asked.

 

"You'll become a Rogue Trader, a conquistador, freelance explorer and merchant working for the Imperium of Man. You'll be given a ship, crew, and an Imperial Warrant of Trade granting you the full privileges of such a station. Being a Rogue Trader will take you beyond the borders of the Imperium, exploring unknown worlds. In your task of exploring and exploiting the still-uncharted regions of the galaxy for Mankind, you might come across worlds harbouring long-forgotten human civilisations which will be later incorporated into the Imperium by official Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator fleets and expeditions of the Imperial Navy and Astra Militarum. Other times, you may find empty or alien-dominated planets ripe for colonisation, conquest or exploitation by the Imperium -- and yourself. Being a Rogue Trader comes with risk and grave danger, but it can also lead to immense wealth and glory. So, what do you say? Will you accept this opportunity?" 

 

Daffy responded by his eyes briefly turning into dollar signs; McKimson and Amberley could hear a loud ‘cha-ching!’ from nowhere.“You had me at ‘wealth and glory’.”

 

Deciding to ignore the unusual occurrence, Amberley nodded and got up. "Splendid. Your ship is waiting for you. Follow me, please." Daffy followed behind her, giddy as could be.

 

“Rich...I’m gonna be rich…!” he kept muttering to himself.

 

"Have all the crewmembers reported in?" Amberley asked McKimson.

 

“Yes, Inquisitor. Tell me, why is your retinue on the list?”

 

"If I am going to be venturing out into the unknown, I want people I trust watching my back."

 

“...You’re doing this to keep an eye on...what’s his name? I don’t think either you or I know it."

 

She nodded. "The last thing the Imperium needs is for him to go off on his own and cause problems. Now, aside from my retinue and the Guardsmen, who else is on the list?"

 

“....Ciaphas Cain, Inquisitor.”

 

She stopped dead in her tracks. "Ciaphas?"

 

McKimson nodded.

 

Amberley started walking again, trying to keep a smile off her face. "Anyone else?"

 

McKimson handed her the list. “See for yourself.”

 

Amberley looked it over, raising a brow. "Are those Martian names?" She asked incredulously.

 

McKimson blinked. “...Yes. Ciaphas figured that they would serve as menial labor.”

 

"Indeed. I was just surprised to see Martian names on here, considering the Imperium has largely ignored their presence."

 

“They’re beneath notice?” Daffy suddenly appeared between them, causing McKimson to loudly curse.

 

“EMPEROR’S GOLDEN BALLSACKS, WHERE’D YOU COME FROM!?”

 

“Weeeell, when a mommy duck and a daddy duck love each other very much, or at the very least want to bang without protection…”

 

"You're lucky you weren't shot." Amberley said. "McKimson tends to shoot first and ask questions later."

 

“Remember last time, Inquisitor?” McKimson said.

 

"When I startled you, and you nearly blew my head off?"

 

“I was aiming for your tits, Inquisitor.” McKimson joked.

 

"So does Ciaphas." Amberley said dryly. "Except he uses a different weapon."

 

“That’s what she said.” Daffy interjected, McKimson giving him a quirked brow. “....You wouldn’t get it.”

 

They soon arrived at the ship. It was a small, nimble vessel, named The Emperor's Eye. Daffy immediately settled in the Captain’s chair, but not before noticing that someone was already sitting there: a large, muscled fellow, dressed in rather fancy military garb. “Ah, Commissar Cain!” McKimson greeted. “I trust you’re being accommodated well?”

 

"Ciaphas!" Amberley interjected, walking over to him. "It's been too long."

 

“Get out of my chair.” Daffy muttered under his breath, before he suddenly felt himself thrown off from Ciaphas getting up and embracing Amberley.

 

“I’ve missed you as well, Amberley. When I was told to accompany you on this…’mission’, I had no idea what to expect. Now, where is this new Captain I’ve been hearing about?”

 

“Right here…” Daffy said weakly, still trying to recover from the sudden impact of hitting the floor.

 

"He is...unusual." Amberley said, kissing Ciaphas' cheek. "In more ways than one."

 

“A lot like myself.” Ciaphas said. “It’s nice to meet you, Captain.”

 

“...Duck. Daffy Duck.” Immediately, Ciaphas burst out laughing. Hard. Amberley tried valiantly, but she couldn't resist joining him in laughter. “What? What’s so funny?” Daffy said bitterly. “It’s not like any of you have normal names, except McKimson over there.”

 

After composing herself, Amberley cleared her throat. "Apologies, Captain. Shall we disembark?" She asked, gesturing for him to sit in his chair.

 

“If you want. Me, I’m gonna go see if there’s a bathroom in this place. ..Where is it?”

 

“Down the hall, take a right. The lock is broken so knock.” McKimson informed. Daffy nodded and sped off.

 

“He’s unusual, isn’t he?” Ciaphas asked. “I like him already, though.”

 

Before Amberley could say a word, a scream echoed through the ship, followed by several laspistol shots. She winced. "Oh, dear. Rakel was using the bathroom." 

 

Daffy returned, his lower half blasted off and revealing the pink skin underneath his tail feathers, complete with tightey whiteys. “....I didn’t knock.” he admitted sheepishly.

 

"That was Rakel you just walked in on." Amberley said. "She's...a little insane."

 

“A little insane?” Ciaphas muttered. “That’s putting it lightly.”

 

Amberley turned to the bridge crew. "Prepare to disembark."

 

A few minutes later, they were in the air. Amberley turned to Ciaphas. "Commissar Cain, I think you and I have...important matters to discuss. Care to join me in my quarters?"

 

“Indeed.” Ciaphas said with a smirk. “A...debriefing, as it were.” And with that, the two of them disappeared from sight, leaving Daffy to finally be able to sit in his coveted captain’s chair.

 

Barely thirty seconds later, Rakel walked onto the bridge, glaring at Daffy and muttering, "Wretched bird."

 

“Look, I’m sorry we got off on the wrong foot, mmkay? How’s about we start over? Captain Daffy Sheldon Armando Horatio Tiberius Duck at your service, madame.”

 

Rakel looked at McKimson. "Can I pluck him?"

 

“Unfortunately not, Rakel. Sorry.” McKimson shrugged.

 

She frowned, before asking, "Do you have any chocolate? Riding the waves of other's minds is tiring."

 

“Chocolate? I think there’s some in the kitchens.” McKimson said, leading her away. With a sigh of relief, Daffy decided it was time for a nap.

 

Sometime later, Ciaphas and Amberley were doing some post-coital cuddling when the two of them heard soft mewling coming from between the bedsheets. Ciaphas pulled the blankets away to reveal a tiny black and white kitten. Chuckling, he scooped it up. “Oh, hello there little Pussyfoot. How did you get in here?”

 

“Mew!” the kitten responded happily.

 

"I didn't even know there were any cats aboard." Amberley said.

 

“She’s mine. Jenit Sulla gave her and her parents to me.” Ciaphas informed. “I tried telling her, ‘You know I have a pet already, and I certainly can’t give them to Amberley. The male cat will eat that little Tweety Bird of hers.’”

 

"In my spare time, I've taken to raising hawks." Amberley said. "But I can't do that aboard a ship, so this little bird will have to do." Ciaphas stared at the golden birdcage hanging above them, where the small yellow canary was happily swinging from his perch and humming. Amberley stretched, getting out of bed and putting on a robe.

 

"It's nice to be able to relax." She said, sitting in front of a mirror and beginning to brush her hair. "We don't get to do it often."

 

“We really don’t.” Ciaphas replied, slowly petting Pussyfoot and feeling the kitten purr in his hands. “I’m hoping we can stay out of the action for as long as possible with this assignment.”

 

Amberley nodded in agreement. "We should go make sure our new Captain hasn't gotten into any trouble." Ciaphas nodded, exiting the room and briefly making a detour to his own quarters, where he was rooming with his loyal right hand Fenrik Jurgen and his five pets - one dog (Marc Anthony) and three cats (Penelope, Sylvester, and their kittens Pussyfoot and Sylvester Jr.). Ciaphas walked in and gently put Pussyfoot on the floor, where she ran up to her mama joyfully. Marc Anthony, a large brown bulldog, almost tackled Ciaphas over in joy. Sylvester had been happily napping when he was woken by all the noise, irritably opening one eye and muttering, “Sufferin’ succatash, can’t a guy get his 40 winks around here?” (though no human could understand his speech). Slyvester Jr., a slightly older kitten and a spitting image of his father, was playing with a ball of yarn.

 

"Am I going to be babysitting them the whole time we're on this ship, Commissar?" Jurgen asked.

 

“We agreed to this earlier, Jurgen - yes.” Ciaphas answered. “Besides, they like you in spite of your odor...well, most of...wait, no. Only Pussyfoot likes you in spite of your odor.” Ciaphas stared at Sylvester. “Besides, I trust you to keep old Slyv here away from Amberley’s bird.” The tomcat ‘innocently’ looked at them; Ciaphas responded with his expression hardening.

 

Amberley walked in a moment later. "I have good news and bad news." She said. "The good news: The ship isn't on fire. The bad news: The Captain is nowhere to be found, and Rakel is walking around the ship with her laspistol, a knife, and a dangerous gleam in her eyes."

 

“Oh, Emperor dammit. Jurgen, come with me.” He then turned to Marc Anthony. “Keep watch, M.A..” The bulldog briefly saluted-yes, saluted-and sat, unmoving, by the doorway. Ciaphas followed Amberley, Jurgen not far behind. They found Rakel pacing around the kitchen, searching through drawers and cupboards. “Where is the Captain?” Ciaphas asked, using his ‘Commissar’ voice.

 

"Hiding." She said in reply. "I see him, but I don't know where he is. His mind is...cluttered. Full of thoughts. Wash over me like waves."

 

"Rakel." Amberley said gently. "Please, give me the knife."

 

Rakel did. The presence of Jurgen was making her twitchy. Amberley led her out of the room. 

 

"I know she is useful to the Inquisitor." Jurgen said. "But she's creepy."

 

“Some could say the same about you, Jurgen. No offense.”

 

Jurgen snorted and said, "None taken, Commissar."

 

Amberley, meanwhile, was searching for Daffy. She soon found him, in the Warp engine room, curled up on the ground and visibly shaking. His eyes were wide and bloodshot, and he was babbling nonsense, punctuated with an occasional ear-splitting “WOO-HOO, WOO-HOO, WOO-HOO!”

 

"Captain." She said. "It's me. You're safe."

 

“Tina…?” Daffy asked.

 

Amberley frowned. She had only thought in passing about how traumatizing this whole experience would be. "No." She said softly. "It's Amberley."

 

Daffy briefly snapped out of it. “A-Amberley? What’s going on? Where am I?”

 

"You're currently in the engine room. You were hiding from Rakel. Why did she attack you?"

 

“I was settling down for a nap in the captain’s chair. As I do, I see Rakel coming towards me...and then the rest is a blank.”

 

"Strange. Rakel is rarely violent. She can handle herself well in a fight, but it's unusual for her to try and murder someone unprovoked." Amberley replied.

 

“Any reason why she’d attack me like that? I mean, we got off on the wrong foot earlier, but still.”

 

"I will speak with her." Amberley said. "I'll be back in a few minutes. Stay here, and try to calm down a bit, alright?" 

 

She left, leaving Daffy alone. Well, almost alone. Yanbel, a tech priest in Amberley's retinue, was there as well, dutifully maintaining the Warp drive. The duck blinked and said, “Hey, cogboy. How’s it going?”

 

Yanbel sighed. "You've been hanging around McKimson, haven't you?"

 

“Yep.” Daffy said matter-of-factly.

 

The techpriest sighed again, returning to his work. “So, buddy, whaddya do around here?”

 

"I keep the Warp drive from failing." Yanbel said. "Among other things." Just as quickly as he’d asked, Daffy lost interest and began reading a porno slate he’d found on the ground. Amberley soon returned.

 

"Rakel said that she doesn't know why she went after you." She said. "Only that she felt a sudden burst of violent rage. She doesn't know the cause."

 

“Any reason I blacked out?”

 

"That is also a mystery."

 

“Hm. Got any psychiatrists?”

 

"Any what?"

 

“Shrinks. Head doctors.”

 

Amberley stared at him blankly. “...I need someone to talk to about my problems.” Daffy said, realizing that ‘psychiatry’ as a concept was long-dead.

 

"I see."

 

“Got anyone like that?”

 

"Me." She said.

 

“....Oh.” Daffy frowned slightly.

 

"Is that a problem?" She asked. "I have helped the people in my retinue work through their issues many times."

 

“...Let me be level with ya: I miss my friends. I didn’t ask to get frozen-well I did, but that isn’t the point, see. Point is, all my friends are dead.”

 

She nodded. "I thought as much. How long were you supposed to be asleep?"

 

Daffy tried to remember. “That,” he said, “Is gonna require me to go back to the very beginning.”

 

-------

 

To say that Daffy Duck was making a potentially stupid and/or dangerous decision for the sake of money was like saying water was wet. But this was probably the stupidest decision he was making, as far as Bugs Bunny was concerned. Daffy had recently gotten, in his emails, an offer to volunteer in a government cryogenics experiment - “Pays well,” the email read, “and provides beneficial research for humanity.”

 

“Sounds like a scam email. Or somethin’ containing malware. Or probably not what yer thinkin’, Daff.” Bugs said in his usual deadpan tone whenever he found out about Daffy’s latest moneymaking plan.

 

“Oh, phshaw. You wouldn’t know a new opportunity for cash if it bit you in the tail, rabbit.” Daffy said dismissively.

 

“Oh, really? Look, Daffy, all I’m sayin’ is to be careful, you might get more than ya bargained for.”

 

“Whatever you say! I’m gonna be rich, RICH I TELL YA!”

 

Not long afterwards, Daffy entered the building that the email said to arrive at. It was white-blinding white, actually-and sterile. Like a hospital. The doctor who’d met Daffy at the front office was fat, dressed in a labcoat with bright yellow latex gloves, with a mop of curly red hair. “Mr. Duck, this is Dr. IQ High. He’ll be overseeing you for this experiment.” his assistant informed. Daffy stared at the doctor before cracking his knuckles.

 

“Alrighty there, doc.” Daffy chuckled a bit; he was starting to sound more and more like Bugs every day. “Just tell me what I gotta do.” Probably just some blood tests or something, Daffy thought. “How long’s this gonna take? I have a meatball sub and fries waiting for me at Pizzariba.”

 

Dr. High chuckled. "I am afraid your food might be cold by the time the experiment is finished." He said. "Not too long, though, my feathered friend. Only a few hours. This experiment is simply a test to make sure my machine works."

 

Daffy blinked. “Y-your machine?”

 

"A state-of-the-art cryogenics pod, created for the purpose of putting whoever is inside into a state of suspended animation. In other words, it is meant to put them into a deep sleep, while also preventing them from aging."

 

Daffy looked at the pod - a stainless steel cylinder, chrome in coloration, a small glass door covering the majority of it. After running a few tests, IQ High’s assistant led him to the pod, where the door swung open. Daffy took a deep breath and entered, watching the door close and feeling the temperature from within drop quickly to below zero levels.

 

What was supposed to be a few hours turned into days, then months, then years, then centuries, and finally eons. When Daffy was finally released, the facility, hell, Warnerville itself, no longer existed, now it was but a single piece in the ever expanding hives of Holy Terra.

 

-----

 

By the time Daffy was finished, his voice was barely above a whisper. “...You wanna know something? This is the only thing I have left from all that time.” He retrieved a sheet of paper, apparently a letter, and gave it to Amberley. Evidently, Daffy had nothing nice to say about any of his neighbors; it was full of grievances both real and possibly imagined. Except, however, for the last paragraph: “I know I've said a lot of terrible things about a lot of terrible people. But I've saved the terrible-ist for my girlfriend Tina. I've known many deranged people in my life, but I've never encountered the kind of profound mental instability that she possesses. Tina Russo is a psychopath. She may have everyone else fooled, but I know the truth. Why else would the kindest, most beautiful, generous and intelligent woman in the world...go out with someone like me?"

 

"I'm sorry." Amberley whispered, placing a hand on his shoulder. Daffy turned to her, tears in his eyes.

 

“You barely know me. Why are you sorry?”

 

"I've lost people. People who were dear to me." Amberley said. "I've lost my home, too. I know your pain." Daffy pondered this for a few minutes, unsure of what to say. Finally, he placed a hand on Amberley’s shoulder in return.

 

“You know, I think we’re gonna be great friends already.”

 

“Me, too.” Amberley said, right before an alarm began blaring. She rushed up to the bridge, looking out one of the windows to see what was going on. Her eyes widened.

 

“By the Emperor…” She whispered. They were surrounded by a mass of ships, all of which almost looked...alive. “Tyranids…

 

“Who the what now?” Daffy asked, bemused.

 

“Are the cloaking shields engaged?” Amberley asked aloud to the crew. She sounded terrified. "If that Hive Fleet detects us, we're dead."

 

“Yes, Inquisitor!” several Guardsmen confirmed.

 

"Tyranids are often referred to as 'the Great Devourer.'" Amberley said to Daffy. "They are hunger incarnate. Every world they encounter, they strip bare, leaving behind a lifeless rock. Their endless desire to feast is the only thing that motivates them, so there is no negotiation."

 

“What’re we gonna do!?” Daffy asked, absolutely terrified.

 

"Try to avoid being noticed." Amberley said. "If our cloaking shields hold, they shouldn't find us."

 

“.....You know, you shouldn’t say things like that. Bad things…” Daffy began, but was interrupted by sound of the shields falling. “...tend to happen after.” he finished, pupils shrunken and voice squeaking from terror.

 

"Oh, fuck." Amberley whispered, as several Tyranid ships changed course, heading towards them. Daffy proceeded to scream like a little girl and run. Amberley took the helm, and began trying to evade the Tyranids. She turned on the intercom. 

 

"Guardsmen, Sisters of Battle, to your battlestations." She said. In the ship's medbay, a Sister of the Orders Hospitaller, named Lucia, rose from her place by one of the windows, grabbing her personal bolter rifle and chain sword and heading for the door. Celeste, a fellow Sister, joined her.

 

"Tyranids. That means acid burns." Lucia said. "Things will get messy. Are you ready?"

 

“Ready as I’ll ever be. For glory and the Emperor and all that, yes?”

 

Lucia chuckled. "Indeed." And so, screaming the Emperor’s praises, the two of them charged into battle. Dozens of Tyranids poured into the vessel from the points where it had been snagged by the Hive ships. Amberley handed control of the ship over to one of the pilots before rushing to her quarters to don her armor. That left poor Daffy cowering behind a hastily made barricade of chairs and shelves. As he lay there trembling and muttering prayers to Elohim for a quick and hopefully merciful death, Daffy could see something creeping forward. It was big. Very big, and multilimbed, judging from the shadow it gave off.

 

This creature soon came into the light. It was massive, with a white and black carapace, towering over even the tallest of Guardsmen. It had four long, muscled arms, ending in clawed, bony hands, each of which held a sword. Its head, topped with a long, red crest, had jet-black eyes and a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. This creature was known by many names: the Tyrantlord of the Hive Mind, the Herald of the Great Devourer and the Destroyer of the Kha'la Empire. To mankind, it was the Swarmlord, and anyone who saw it felt terror unlike anything they had ever felt before.

 

And now Daffy was alone with it. The duck, who had just moments ago been praying for his life, looked at the Swarmlord, his brain racing to find a solution. “L-listen, buddy, you don’t have to eat me, ya know.” he said, voice trembling even more than before. “I-I-I don’t have much meat on me anyway.” As if to demonstrate, Daffy ‘unzipped’ his feathers to reveal the same pink body underneath from earlier, only now horribly emaciated. “See? Now if you and all your little bug-friends just leave me and my crew in peace, we won’t have any trouble...c-c-c-c-c-capiche?”

 

The Swarmlord began approaching, before being intercepted by two Guardsmen. Their shots glanced off the creature's armor, before two of the swords it held flashed through the air, and their heads slid off and rolled across the floor. Daffy stared, slack-jawed; thinking quickly as the Swarmlord got closer, its mandibles drooling acid and burning small holes into the floor, he drew a large wooden mallet, about the size of his foe, and swung with all of his strength. The Swarmlord staggered, more out of surprise than pain. Before it could recover fully, Amberley, dressed in gleaming armor, entered, a whirring chainsword in hand. “Boy, oh boy, am I glad to see you!” Daffy said between hyperventilating gasps. “Now let’s skeedaddle before that thing kills us!” Taking a nearby laspistol for himself, Daffy bolted for the door. Amberley put on a helmet, shut the door, and contacted Yanbel, ordering him to open the airlock on the bridge. 

 

"Inquisitor, you'll be pulled out, too!"

 

"I know, Yanbel. But the Swarmlord is here."

 

"The Swarmlord?! By the Omnissiah...fine, as you command, Inquisitor."

 

The airlock opened, and both Amberley and the Swarmlord were pulled out into space. “NOOOOOOO!” Daffy screamed as he pounded on the door. “YOU CAN’T DO THIS, AMBERLEY! I’VE ONLY KNOWN YOU FOR BARELY A DAY, YET I FEEL LIKE I’VE KNOWN YOU FOR LONGER THAN THAT!” Silence was his only response.

 

The Tyranids continued to rush onto the ship, the defenders slaying dozens upon dozens of them, to the point that a barricade began to form out of the dead. Lucia moved among the Guardsmen and Sisters, treating wounds the best she could. She and Celeste found Daffy crying, laspistol still gripped tightly in his right hand. “We need to go.” Celeste urged him. “It isn’t safe for you here.”

 

“B-but Amberley…”

 

“Inquisitor Vail has faced worse things.” Celeste said bluntly. “Besides, you are not the only one saddened by her loss.”

 

"She always has a plan." Lucia added. "Come on. You'll be no help to her if you're dead." Daffy followed them reluctantly, keeping close to them (and his laspistol close to him). A few minutes later, a faint voice came over the comms of the ship's defenders. "Hello? Can anyone hear me?"

 

“Amberley?” Daffy spoke up hopefully. “That you!?”

 

"Yes." She replied. "I'm injured, but alive."

 

“Praise the Lord, Hallelujah! Where are you?” Daffy asked.

 

"Hanging off of one of the Tyranid hooks."

 

“Stay put. I’m gonna try and get you out of there.”

 

“You’re an idiot.” Celeste snarked. “You’re going to get yourself killed out there, and for what?”

 

“I’ll tell ya what -” Daffy spat back. “Amberley saved my life from that Swarmlord or whatever you call it. I owe it to her to save hers, and as Captain of this ship, I order you to stand down.”

 

“On whose authority?” Celeste replied, hands on her hips. “You have none, duck.”

 

“Actually,” a nearby voice, that of one Ciaphas Cain, said. “As a Rogue Trader, his authority is outside of the Imperium’s. So he can order you to stand down. And I say he should go.”

 

“Thanks.” Daffy said, before Amberley interrupted them.

 

"While you idiots were arguing, I managed to get over to one of the airlocks. Care to let me in?"

 

“Stealin’ my thunder….I was wanting an awesome action hero moment….” Daffy grumbled.

 

“This is no holodrama, duck.” Ciaphas informed him. “Talking is not a free action, and the world will not give you leeway so you can stage a big rescue. Now, where are your coordinates, Amberley?”

 

"Right behind you." She said, thumping her fist on the airlock in question.

 

“Oh.” Ciaphas said sheepishly, then turned to Daffy. “Get that for her, will you?” Daffy nodded, and after a bit of difficulty, managed to open the airlock. Amberley stumbled in, her armor covered in blood. Daffy and Ciaphas let out impressed whistles. She took a few more steps before falling to her knees, grunting. 

 

Celeste caught her, and said, “You need rest, Inquisitor.”

 

“B-but the Tyranids….” Ciaphas sputtered.

 

"They're no longer a problem." Amberley said. "I broke the hooks myself. Tell the bridge crew to...initiate a Warp jump."

 

“A who-what now?” Daffy asked.

 

"You'll see." She replied, leaning on Celeste as they walked to her quarters. Immediately, Daffy felt himself lurch backward, slamming into a wall; he then proceeded to vibrate and spasm, letting out several inhuman noises (a rooster’s crow, the sound of a horn) as his body briefly mutated into several forms - a flower-headed creature with a flag reading “SCREWBALL” in rebus, a photorealistic duck, a smaller, ‘cuter’ form, and then back to his regular form. Ciaphas and Lucia watched in horror, all the while Daffy was hollering and hooting like a madman. Purple sparks of what most might call electricity (but what those in the Imperium might call Warp energy) coursed through him. Ciaphas rashly shot him in an irrational panic, which only seemed to cause Daffy’s beak to turn around to the back of his head rather than kill him. When the Warp jump ceased, Daffy came out of his episode rather groggy, tiredly putting his beak back in place, he stared at the Commissar and Sister of Battle.

 

“....What? Do I have something on me?”

Spoiler

First appearances: Daffy Duck (main character), Amberley Vail (main), Ciaphas Cain (main), Lucia (supporting), Celeste (supporting), Yanbel (supporting), Fenrik Jurgen (supporting), Guardsman McKimson (supporting), Rakel (supporting), Jennit Sulla (mentioned) Tweety (recurring), Sylvester (recurring), Marc Anthony (recurring), Penelope Pussycat (recurring), Pussyfoot (recurring), Sylvester Jr. (recurring), Tyranids (antagonists), The Swarmlord (antagonist), Marvin and Tyr'hanee (antagonists, not named)

In this continuity, Marc Anthony, Sylvester (Sr. and Jr.), Penelope Pussycat, and Pussyfoot are all Ciaphas Cain's pets; Tweety is also Amberley's pet, and Sylvester is Penelope's mate and father to Pussyfoot and Sylvester Jr.

-"The Looney Tunes Show" is canon, and Daffy is frozen in 2014 (the year the show ended). Dr. IQ High is also the one who froze Daffy rather than discovering him.

-While it's never said why Daffy was chosen for the experiment, it's implied that due to his service as a Marine (see "Semper Lie"), he was selected due to his actions in rescuing prisoners of war)

-Daffy's home city is given a name: Warnerville.

-Martians are canon to this universe, but are a species beneath the Imperium's notice; Marvin and Tyr'hanee are currently onboard posing as menial labor on The Emperor's Eye.

 

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Nice seeing Robert Mckimson getting referenced as a character on this show. Wonder if the other classic Warner Bros. directors (Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, and Arthur Davis), will be referenced as well? Only time will tell! Enough said, true believer!

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