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The sky was black and bare. The park was deserted. Bright lights from buildings nearby left burry streaks of color on his vision. As his eyes adjusted they provided just enough light to navigate. Typical. His only thought was how much he didn't want to go to work today. He was unusually tired, but that could've been typical too. It was hard to tell these days.
The toon was a duck named Evina Gearloose and he was the retired hero of Toontown, something long forgotten from days when things were much different. It didn't matter anymore. People knew him only as the guy with a funny name.
He wasn't in a hurry to be there early. He just did it because he knew he should. Evina strolled into the tunnel which led to Punchline Place.
It looked the same as before; it always did. Many shops hadn't opened yet. Only the streetlights were on. He continued walking.
Often he would think back to remember the times when streetlights weren't needed. It was strange to imagine. In such a short period everything had transformed, never to be the same again. Now it was hard to believe things were ever different.
Nothing could have stopped it. Nobody realized it was coming, but it came. There was no fight, and so their defeat wasn't glorious. It was pathetic. They only watched helplessly, sinking into the impenetrable darkness. If only he hadn't allowed a mistake to happen. Maybe this wouldn't have happened.
But living in the past didn't do him any good right now. He needed to get in the right mind for work, and within a minute he reached Toon HQ.
He opened the door to find what he expected. He was the first one there. Otis didn't really count. Pulling up a chair near the counter he sat down drowsily, propped his arms up, and waited.
"Another rough night?" The monkey concluded.
Evina tried to keep his eyes open. "I should be asking you that. You get the night shift."
"But it's pretty much the same as your shift." The other reminded him.
"Uh, yeah." Evina sighed. "Sorry Otis, you have to forgive me. Old habits."
"No problem. Oh, and look what the cat dragged in..."
"Ha ha, that joke never gets old." The dark blue mouse rolled his eyes with sarcasm. "You can go now, Otis."
The monkey stood up to leave and the other officer took his place. "Hey, Evina."
"Hey Kyle." Evina returned dully.
"I guess nothing happened during the night?"
The duck shrugged.
"Oh, well there's still plenty for us to do." Kyle said as he promptly presented a stack of papers and dropped it on the counter. "We have to put up more of these."
"Are they nuts?" Evina groaned. "I'm already sick of seeing them."
"Hey, it's the chief's orders." Kyle frowned. "I don't like it any more than you do."
Evina pulled the stack towards him and looked at them with disinterest. He practically had them memorized. "I'll do it when I have the time." he mumbled.
"Whatever you say." Kyle appeared just as tired and unmotivated as the duck was.
The door swung open. The two didn't have to look to know who it was.
"Very lively today, aren't we?" An aqua dog rapidly entered the HQ, shut the door, and went over to them. She always looked wide awake compared to the other two.
"Hi Jenny." The other two said in unison.
"I figure you already heard about the tip we got last night..."
Evina jerked awake. "What?"
"Don't worry." She said. "It was a false alarm. I don't think the exhibit will have any security trouble. They have beyond what is needed to keep the gem safe."
"The gem?" Kyle said. "What's that?"
"Oh, come on!" The dog shot back in disbelief. "You can't tell me you haven't heard of the Crystal of Yensid."
"It's supposed to be priceless." Evina explained. "And legend has it that somehow it can grant a toon with special powers. All nonsense of course. Most likely it wasn't even created by Yensid."
"Ah, I see now." Kyle thanked him. "But by the way, who's Yensid?"
Before Evina could express his annoyance the door opened once more. None of them had expected this. A red rabbit stormed into the HQ. He did not look happy.
"Officers Evina, Kyle, Jenny, what are you doing here?" he demanded. It was the chief of police, George Sproket. Long ago he was Chief Justice of the Cogs. Few toons remembered them anymore.
Kyle didn't know how to respond "We uh..."
"You didn't see the news?" he cried.
"It's Flippy again?" Evina reasoned. "Because ever since he was booted from office he's been acting like-"
"Look at the alerts!" The chief ordered.
The three officers jumped up from the counter and sprinted to the computer screen. They hadn't even noticed that a red light was flashing.
"We just got here!" Kyle defended himself.
The rabbit dropped his head, looking tired. "Yeah, I don't think they could've picked a better time to attack the museum?"
Jenny's mouth dropped open. "Son of a weasel..."
"No kidding." The rabbit said. "Now get going!"
The officers ran to the back room to get their supplies. They hadn't been expecting action so early in the day. They threw on their blue police jackets and grabbed a hammer.
The banhammer was an unusual piece of equipment. If successful, it would teleport its target to wherever the user wanted them to go. In this case, the destination was a cell in the nearest Toon HQ. Unfortunately they didn't always work as desired, and some said the enemies had certain ways of avoiding them.
In his efforts to fight the rising crime the chief tried to allow police the use of sadness blasters, but it was too controversial. So many toons were certain they would eventually end up in the wrong hands. Nothing got in the way of s<um and d!rt.
During Evina's last adventure with his father when they went to Earth, not everything was peaceful back at him. Crime began to rise for the first time in years. Glitches were used for selfish advantage. And certain places were terrorized by the so-called hackers. It was disgusting. Evina's friend, Goopy, who devoted his life to the study of glitches, couldn't take it anymore. He had to resign from his work and retire in hiding, hoping that the gangs wouldn't find him and recruit him.
When the portal closed on Earth, the tooniverse was sealed off from the outside world. The toons felt a distinct lack a purpose. They were emptied out on the inside, slowly evolving into something else. The sun fled from the sky. Total darkness came, and still nobody had any idea how bad it could get.
All former threats were put to shame and either absorbed or put out of business by the two giant organizations of evil: s<um and d!irt. It was a popular discussion topic as to which was more dangerous, but there was no doubt in anyone's mind that both were responsible to the downfall of their society. Now they lived in fear, always afraid to step out of the streetlights and into the shadows. There was no more day, no hope for a future, just eternal night.
They were ready to go now. The three officers dashed out the doors of Toon HQ and jogged down the street, hammers in their hands, heading towards the museum.
"We're not going in through the front door." Jenny told them. She was the senior officer in their little group and usually gave the orders. "We'll come in through the west alley. Got it?"
"Right." The other two replied in unison, even though they were trying to catch their breath from all the running.
At last the museum was in sight. They didn't see it under attack. The only way it could be threatened would be in a very sneaky, professional way.
They crept into the alley as quietly as they could and crouched down against a wall. Evina looked up and saw an orange pig with a black mask on, climbing a rope up to a window above them.
"Do you think we should wait?" Evina whispered.
Jenny didn't look happy at all. "No, we're going in now."
All three of them fired their hammers at the pig. He shouted, fell, and then disappeared in a puff of smoke before hitting the ground.
A few windows shattered. More masked toons had heard the noise and were ready to strike back. They had things with them which they pointed at the officers.
The silence was broken by the sound of gunshot. Bright energy beams ricocheted off every surface and the officers ran for cover.
"Sadness blasters?" Kyle cried.
"Cover me while I clear the entrance." Jenny ordered.
"I don't think that's a good idea!" Evina hollered even though she wasn't listening.
She ran out into the open and the sadness beams rained down around her. She couldn't dodge them all. A beam hit her and she fell to the ground.
Kyle and Evina peeked around the corner every few seconds to take a shot with their hammers. More windows shattered. They hit one of the enemies who then fell out a window.
The mouse took out his walkie talkie. "This is officer Kyle. We need backup! Repeat: We need backup at the museum now!"
Evina darted out from hiding and was lucky enough to dodge the shots fired at him. He found a blaster in the hand of the unconscious toon who had fallen. Never before had he encountered a robbery like this. He didn't know how else to defend himself. Taking aim at any enemy in sight he fired the blaster and saddened some of them. Now it was safe to get Jenny. He dragged her out of the open to rest where Kyle was hiding. Then a shot hit him in the back. Even though the shadow made him immune from going sad, it hurt like crazy and weakened the surrounding muscles.
"Let's go!" Evina said, trying to ignore the pain. He led the mouse to the front door and kicked it open firing accurately at every masked toon in sight. Some of the museum guards were tied up and gagged. Kyle freed them while the duck searched the nearby rooms for anyone he missed.
"Do you think they took the gem?" The mouse said with worry.
"I don't know, but this level appears to be clear. Let's go up."
They jogged up the stairs. The spot of Evina's sadness hit was aching more now, and he was growing more fatigued and worried with every passing moment.
Someone was guarding the door to the special exhibit hall. Kyle used the banhammer to take care of him because it was quieter than any blaster. Still, it made enough noise that they were afraid more enemies would arrive. Luckily it didn't, and so the two of them went into the hall, surprised to see that the crystal was still there.
"That's weird." Evina remarked, looking at the sparkling beauty. It reflected the only light in the room, some eerie light coming in from the window.
"There's no way to protect it with the guards gone. So I think we should take it back to HQ. "Kyle suggested.
"No, I think I'll take it back to my HQ." A sinister voice said from behind them.
The officers turned around and their mouths dropped open in horror. It was Alistair McKillden, the boss weasel of s<um. They recognized him from photos but had never seen him in person before. But all that mattered to them now was what he held in his hands. It appeared to be some kind of sadness submachine gun.
He fired sadness shots at a rapid rate. Glass cases broke everywhere and fragments flew in every direction, scattering the dim light.
It was impossible to fight him. All they could do was run. Kyle was hit about a dozen times in a few seconds and fell to the ground.
Evina was livid. He felt like using his special power, but that was too risky. He couldn't allow that. He couldn't control it anymore, and he was too weak. All he could do was drop his weapons and stand there awkwardly.
The weasel sneered. His eyes glistened evilly under the shadow from his fedora. He snatched the gem in his grubby hand and walked towards the window. "It was nice meeting you, duck." He leapt outside and disappeared.
Evina picked up the blaster and ran for the window, but he knew it was hopeless. The boss was nowhere to be seen.
He went to Kyle's unconscious body and picked him up. As he wiped away the glass fragments he could see, even in the dim light, that the sadness shots had left burn marks.
The duck carried him down the stairs and set him down on the carpet. He sat down beside him, too tired to do anything else.
The museum was full of broken artifacts and masked unconscious s<um members. Their silhouettes were all that was visible, like some kind of dark abstract painting. Sirens were heard from outside and flashing lights appeared. Apparently the main TTPD squad had finally arrived. Many officers stormed the building with bright searchlights and banhammers in hand. They spotted the two other officers nearby.
"Took you long enough." Evina muttered. "You just missed them. The crystal's gone."
Evina was sitting down on a couch, trying not to fall asleep. He was at the main police station, waiting for the others to come out and talk to him. Both sides had a lot to explain. Jenny and Kyle were lying down nearby. A medic was applying pixie dust. They were expected to make a full recovery eventually.
The door opened and the deputy, a sea green horse, walked up to Evina with his arms crossed. "Ok, will you tell me what actually happened over there?"
Evina was suddenly furious again. "You're asking me? Why don't you tell me where the heck you were while we faced all of that on our own?!"
"Hey, we have our own-"
"I don't care! Why did the chief send the three of us to face a full scale invasion?"
The red rabbit finally showed up. "I'm sorry about that. It was my fault. I had the main squad busy with another assignment. That's why they were completely unprepared to help. It was wrong of me to send you out without more support."
Evina opened his mouth to speak but closed it again and turned away from the others. Jenny and Kyle were looking much better. They awoke and sat up.
The chief picked up a sadness blaster with a look of contempt on his face. "We were afraid of this." he sighed. "It seems we need to rethink our tactics."
"Indeed." The deputy agreed. He intentionally avoided looking directly at Evina. "And from what I heard we even had Mckillden show up."
"It's true." The duck confirmed.
The rabbit sat down and wiped his brow. "And besides all that, they managed to get no fewer than twenty two of their men into the museum. Can you believe that!? How could they move all of them without anyone noticing?"
"I have a theory." Jenny said. "Well, I was doing some studying on the cogs, and apparently they had a system of sewers running beneath Toontown. They weren't really sewers, though, just tunnels barely wide enough for a small goon to go through and bring information or important supplies."
"And what does that mean?" The deputy demanded.
"Well, if the cogs could do something like that without any of us realizing it, why couldn't s<um do it? I believe they might have developed a system of tunnels much more elaborate than the cogs had. That would explain how they get around so secretly."
"Officer Jenny," the chief interrupted, "if what you say is true, that there could be tunnels underneath our feet transporting criminals all across Toontown, we are doomed. Is there anything they can't do? What will it be next? Dip?"
"I'm really sorry to hear that." Evina remarked. Everyone turned to look at him, wondering why he was interrupting their conversation. "I have to go."
The rabbit stood up again. "What?"
"I have to quit."
"Evina, do you have any idea what you're saying? You're one of our most valuable officers, and Toontown needs toons like you more than ever before!"
"I'm sorry." The duck said again. "But this is personal. I don't think I'm fit for duty anymore."
The chief was about to ask, but then he caught a glimpse of the gray eyes, and he had a hunch what it might be. "Please." He begged.
Evina didn't reply. He removed his police jacket, along with the badge, and handed it to the chief. "It was a pleasure serving with you." Then he walked to the door and left.
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