Set shortly after Bad Reunions, it's New Years and the Rogues are having a ball
(Hey there, this story is shortly after Bad Reunions picking up on Christmas Day after Jonathan bid his Son and future Daughter-In-Law farewell but had to catch the last Space Bus.This story may rehash a plot like covered in Turtles in Distress but that's because I'm revising continuity)|
Ichabod was still in his bed warm and cozy when dawn's first beams peeked through the window of his Earthport apartment.
Marzipan sat straight up and shouted "It's CHRISTMAS MORNING!"
Her tail all floofed up she dove to the tree to where several presents had been beamed to while they were sleeping.
"A present from Bob!" She picked up a hefty package "He always gives such great presents..." She shook the box "What could it be?"
At that point she ceased with the pretense and tore open her present with her newly manicured claws "Ooh! A complete box set of Choose-Your-Own-Adventures!"
Ichabod smiled, and she slowly and gracefully stretched and yawned and made his way to the tree (It was a plastic one, you could only have plastic trees in Earthport)
"Marzipan..." Ichabod said "...After what happened yesterday...I think I owe my folks a present...I owe them a visit...I know that means going back to Alderbaren."
"I'm perfectly fine with that." Marzipan said as she tore into another present "Since Duke Vortex is no more there is nothing to fear over there..."
"Oh Marzi!" Ichabod said "For the past couple of years the Rogues of Alderbaren get together at New Year's and celebrate...It will be so great if we can celebrate as a family...As a...Herd"
|As Marzipan continued taring through presents Ichabod got up and went to his phone.|
"Mum...I'm coming home for New Year's." Ichabod said
A few minutes after Ichabod hung up
"We better hurry if we want to catch the next Space Bus."
"We're not taking the Fellowship?" Marzipan asked
"Marzipan, the Fellowship is a Federation Flagship not a family car, it's not meant to be used for something as trivial as this!"
So they quickly backed up a few things and headed to the Space Bus station
|Meanwhile, Johnathan Crane and Pamela got dressed and head off to the shuttle station, "Did Ichabod say why he's coming home?" Johnathan asked, Pamela answered "No, but I can guess the reason. It doesn't take a genius to know that a son and girlfriend wants to spend the Holidays with family."|
|On the ride over Ichabod was talking to Matoaka on his phone watch|
"So I'm going to spend New Year's and a few days after that with my folks I hope you don't mind."
"After what you've been through..." Matoaka said "...You should be with your family, Do remember to keep us posted."
"And if you're worried about my family trying to keep me..." Ichabod started to say
"I'm not." Said Matoaka "I saw your Dad's eyes when he saved you from Lock-Up and saw all of us...He had truly changed, he no longer wanted to hurt us."
|As the shuttle landed, Ichabod and Marzipan collected their luggage and met Ichabod's parents at the passenger pickup section of in the shuttle station, He hugged his mom, "Welcome back to Alderbaren sweetheart, this is going to be an exciting New Year's gathering." Ichabod smiles and says "Oh, why is that?" Marzipan says, "Whatever it is, sounds fun."|
|It was pretty late When Ichabod and Marzipan arrived it was pretty much midnight, so after a sleepily mumbled Merry Christmas everyone went to bed.|
The next morning, Marzipan heard the Rooster crowing and her ears flattened.
Ichabod slowly woke "I missed that sound." He yawned
"I remember that sound." Marzipan said "It meant it was time to get up begin a new day of slavery."
The two of them got dressed and saw Jonathan and Pamela were downstairs getting out the New Year's Decorations for the Bash they were hosting
|"Do you need any help?" Ichabod asked.|
|Pamela says "Yes, when Johnathan went shopping. He forgot the champagne, could you buy some?"|
(Author's Note, I'm changing the item in question to Champagne because that's a more typical New Year's drink especially with more...Adult celebrations such as this one)
|"Sure," Ichabod said. "Do you want to come with me, Marzipan?"|
"No, " she said. "I'll stay here and help with the decorations."
|Ichabod put on his winter clothes and headed to the local Grocer.|
He was almost there, when he felt a cold hand grab him by the wrist
"Hey Ichy..." Came a voice Ichabod knew all to well
"Jack!" Ichabod snarled
Indeed it was Joker's son Jack "Remember me Ichy?"
"Of course I remember you!" Ichabod said as he tried to pull his hand free "You tried to give a dose of laughing gas...You didn't count on me being immune did you?"
"Cuz you got the Plant Lady for your Mom." Said Jack
"Why are you doing this?" Ichabod asked pleadingly
"Because we can't have any of our kind falling to the side of the angels." Said Jack "My Dad won't have any of it! It's not proper!"
Jack pulled something from his Coat a pistol, and Ichabod knew this one wasn't filled with laughing gas
"If you don't cooperate and renounce being a goody-goody...Jack said
Ichabod was in a bad place, he was in his civilian clothes, he had no weapons on him, he didn't bring any weapons with him...But he did have his hand to hand training, he was taller then Jack and with longer limbs.
So with his other hand, he grabbed the wrist that held the gun and forced it down.
Then after entangling their arms, Ichabod kicked Jack in the stomach and made a dash for it.
"You won't escape me Ichy!" Jack yelled "I know where you live!"
Ichabod ran, he knew it would take Jack a short time to recover, he slipped on the icy pavement , fell on his rear and skidded down hill
He collided into a mound of icy snow, Ichy din't know what was going to happen, then everything became a lot darker
Ichabod looked up, and he found himself peering into the face...Of a massive Dragon-Man, Crimson and Black he was, with horns that had been shorn and one hand that was larger then the other.
In this larger hand he held Jack, who was looking quite frankly, terrified.
"Don't worry." Said the Dragon "I'll take this punk back to Juvie."
"Oh gosh!" Ichabod said "I don't know who you are but Thanks so much!"
"You can call me Drako." Said the Dragon "And I have a message for you...Joker...This punk's papa...Is coming to Alderbaren, he won't arrive to till January third, so you can enjoy your New Years but you got to be ready."
With that Joker flew off.
Ichabod rubbed his rump it was badly scraped after skidding on the pavement, next him, he found three bottles of champagne, with a note, From Drako
"I really should have brought a phone." Ichabod sighed as he put the three bottles in his bag and limped slowly back
|Ichabod got back with the Champaign, Pamela noticed that Ichabod is walking with a limp "Son what happened?" Ichabod explained everything, Jack, Joker and Drako." Pamela says "Let me look at that leg, please sit down."|
|Ichabod blushed...It wasn't his leg that was wounded|
"No, no Mum!" Ichabod said quickly "I'm a practicing medic I can treat my own wounds! Where's Marzipan?"
"In your old bedroom." Jonathan said
Ichabod limped upstairs
"Marzipan." Ichabod said "Get the nano-cream"
The Nano-Cream was a soothing cream filled mixed with thousands of tiny nano-machines that could repair living beings, even replacing entire limbs! However the Nano repairs were incredibly itchy so no matter what Ichabod was in for days of painful sitting.
Ichabod closed the door and removed his clothes and lay down on his old bed as Marzipan spread the cream on his rump
|As the Nano-cream does it's work, Ichabod and Marzipan thought about the situation, "Great, just what we need. It's bad enough here on Alderbaren, now the Joker is coming." Marzipan says, Ichabod says "At least it'll be after New Years." Marzipan says "Yeah, but still. When your parents were still rogues, they had motives and the Joker's methods make no sense at all." Ichabod says "I'll call Matoaka, perhaps she'll get in touch with Batman, he and Joker are arch-rivals and he knows Joker better then I do."|
|The next afternoon Ichabod and Marzipan went to a Christmas party at the local Jive Club. Ichabod still had trouble sitting, but standing was okay, so they decided the party was a good idea since they would be mostly standing around talking and snacking. Unfortunately, thy didn't know most of the people at the party.|
A cute human girl came up to Ichabod and said, "Hi! You're new here, aren't you? My name is Marmalade. I hope you are having a good time."
"Marmalade?" Ichabod said. "That's almost like my girlfriend's name, Marzipan."
"Hello," Marzipan said.
"And my name is Ichabod," continued Ichabod, "but you can call me Ichy."
Marzipan looked quickly at him. Why was he giving this human girl his nickname when he just met her?
"OK, Ichy," said Marmalade. "Your girlfriend is a cat, isn't she? That's unusual."
"It's a long story," said Ichabod. "And maybe she wants to tell it herself."
"I don't find it unusual," said Marzipan, glaring at Marmalade.
"OH! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to imply that it was perverted or anything like that! I hope you didn't take my remark the wrong way."
Marzipan growled and Ichabod put his arm around her to keep her from slashing Marmalade. "Uh..." he said. "It's nice meeting you, Marmalade. Maybe we'll see more of you later." In his head he thought that was a clumsy way to get her away from Marzipan.
In fact, Marmalade raised her eyebrows, but she took the hint. "Enjoy the party!" she said and moved over to talk to some other people.
"For heaven sake!" Ichabod said. "Calm down, Marzi."
'I don't like that jelly girl!" said Marzipan.
|"Marzipan..." Ichabod said "When we first met I thought one of the things you said to me was you WEREN'T jealous as as a Cat!"|
"Did you smell Marmalade's scent?" Asked Marzipan
"All I smelled was cheap perfume." Ichabod replied
Marzipan looked at Marmalade, she was at the snack table, she helped herself to a peanut butter cookie she took a bite and had a violent shudder like she was orgasming right then and there.
"Did you see that?" Marzipan asked "Nobody reacts to that to food not even to my own cooking!"
Marmalade then went into the lady's room
"Follow me..." Marzipan said "We're going to follow her."
"Uh uh Marzi..." Ichabod said "That's no man's land!"
"Then give me your recorder ring!" Said Marzipan
All the Federation troops had a ring with a camera in it to record things without being noticed
Marzipan slightly opened the Lady's Room door, and there they saw Marmalade standing over the sink panting, her body starting melting, Human Flesh revealing white fur, fur face fell into one big clump in the sink, revealing the face of a Rat Humanimal
"Boss..." Panted Marmalade "I couldn't do it!"
In the bathroom mirror Joker's face appeared "I knew you shouldn't end a Rat to do a Man's Job...Well you know hat happens next do you?"
"Don't kill my family!" Screamed Marmalade
|"Something going on?" Marzipan asked, innocently, through the crack in the door. "Are you having trouble in there? Sounds like you're hurting. Do you want me to get a doctor? I think there's at least one medical doctor here, or something close enough to pass for one in an emergency until a real one gets here."|
|In a slum apartment in Gotham City, Harley Quinn and three of Joker's henchmen are holding Marmalade's parents hostage when Joker called in "Harley, our spy couldn't do the job, so you know what to do next." Harley says "Exterminate the rats, sure thing Mr. J." As Joker signed out, she turned to the henchmen, "Time to for some pest control." The rat couple says "No, don't. We have a daughter." One of the henchmen says "Cry me a river." as he pulls out an AK-12 along with the other henchmen. The two rats only closed their eyes only to hear sounds of smacks and thuds as they opened their eyes, they found the henchmen knocked and Harley in a net, and two more in the apartment, Nightwing and Batgirl, Harley struggled in her net "You'll pay for this Nightbird!" Nightwing says "That's Nightwing." Batgirl says "I know Joker's methods doesn't make sense, but why kill to rat humanimals?"|
|Marmalade was being questioned by Ichabod and Marzipan|
"We were desperate!" Said Marmalade "We wouldn't have come to Gotham City otherwise but...The Joker he found us...He found a way to disguise me as a Human and he sent me to Alderbaren."
"Why?" Asked Ichabod
"He can't stand the fact that all the rogues have moved on and he's not part of the show anymore...He would be at this planet sooner...But Joker can't pilot and entire space ship all by himself there is a reason you need a crew for that sort of thing, so he has a contact to pick him up he will arrive on January 3rd."
|"Great," said Marzipan. "Now to get the local police to get ready to catch him when he arrives."|
|"They won't catch him," Marmalade said.|
"Why not?" asked Marzipan.
"Because he wouldn't even come here unless he had bribed or threatened the authorities so he would be safe."
|Ichabod smacked his forehead! "Typical Alderbaren!" He said "It's like Gotham it merely cleaner and has farms instead of factories."|
The two of left the club and went to give Jonathan and Pamela the whole scoop.
"Mum...Father..." Ichabod said "I feel like this is partially my fault."
"What do you mean?" Jonathan asked
"Me, becoming the Hero of the Humanimals, my coup revealed Duke Vortex was really an Android and later when he came to Earth I dealt the killing blow...By me becoming such a paragon of heroics I feel like I've incensed the Joker so much he's planning revenge on all of us...Maybe...Maybe I need to go back to Earth to keep you safe."
"Ichabod!" Pamela said "You going back to Earth won't prevent him from coming here and taking his revenge out on us."
"Today is December 26th." Said Jonathan "We've got nine days to prepare before he arrives."
Ichabod sighed "I can't do this alone...I got to call at least one of my herd."
"Why can't you call all of them?" Asked Pamela
"Matoaka and Minsk have given birth recently." Said Ichabod "I can't call them while their nursing their respective Cubs Jim and Bob are both semi-hibernating I could call them and they could come but they would be suffering fro season induced narcolepsy and...Kong is currently working on his own Earthport Clinic...Only one Humanimal left...Bill."
Bill was at the Earthport mall looking through some 'Antiques' (Ancient Pornography) When he got the call
"That does sound important." Bill said "I'll pack my things and be there in about 48 hours."
|Nightwing, Batgirl and Batman came to the Iceberg Lounge where Penguin is currently running a ice show on stage his entertainers are putting on for the paying customers "Batman," Penguin says "I'm running an honest business these days, it may not be Alderbaren, but it does pay the bills." Batman says "Relax, we're here for some information." Penguin says "What kind of information?" Nightwing says "We just stopped Harley Quinn and a few of Joker's goons from killing rat humanimals and we want to know why." Penguin says "It is because Joker has a grudge over, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter and the Riddler. Escpecially with Scarecrow's son Ichabod." Batman says "So, he plans to go to Alderbaren, when?" Penguin says "January 3rd." Batgirl says "That's in 9 days from now." Penguin says "Any other information you need to know?"|
(Author's Note: I'm correcting my own bad math...Is the current day is December 26th and Joker is arriving on the third of January then it would be NINE days not 12...A math whiz I am not)
|(Author's note: Sorry Steve had to delete your Last Addition that was WAY too out of character)|
Ichy and Marzi went to bed, Alderbaren days and nights are longer then Earth Days and nights so an Alderbaren day is like two Earth Days.
Meanwhile Bill was giving Matoaka the whole scoop on what he learned from Ichabod
""As much as I wish to be with Ichabod." The Unicorn said "I realize it is better if you go alone."
|Kong comes in unexpectedly "Maybe not alone." Matoaka says "Kong, don't you have a clinic to run?" Kong says "Yes, but I'm been experimenting on a formula that'll help protect the Joker's victims from his infamous Joker venom. Sort of like a flu shot, but I need someone to test it on."|
|"To be honest, I'm surprised that Ichabod didn't call up James," said Matoaka. "He's always up for these sorts of things."|
"Knowing that old wolf, he's spending his time with a Honey Bunny of some sort," said Kong. "That being said, he's always there when you need him, and sometimes when you don't."
|"You can't test it on me," Bill said.|
"Why not?" Kong asked.
"Because I vowed I will never again be anybody's lab rat."
|"You still sore about that Creepo Professor Nosejob using you to demonstrate the various meat cuts of a bull in front of his students?" Kong asked|
"This is NOT a sirloin!" Yelled Bill "This is NOT a PORTERHOUSE!"
Meanwhile Ichabod and Marzipan were chillaxing.
"I saw something in a ZooTube video and I was thinking of trying it out." Marzipan said
"Oh?" Ichabod said
"Lay down on your stomach." Marzipan said
Ichabod did as he was bid and he felt the soft tingly feeling of a paintbrush going swishing back and forth across is back.
Just then Pamela entered the room
"Ichabod..." She started to say but then she saw her Son was naked and blushed
"Oh...Ichabod...Don't mind me...I'll just leave."
"Mum..." Ichabod said "It's not what you think it is!"
"Ichabod don't worry." Pamela said "I was just like you at this age." She then closed the door
"Did she think we were making love or something?" Ichabod asked bemused
|"Maybe she thinks you have some sort of fetish, or something," said Marzipan. "Obviously, she has nothing against it, or she wouldn't have left, and certainly not without yelling about it."|
|"What are you doing anyway?" asked Ichabod asked.|
Marzipan grinned. "I'm painting diagrams of cuts of meat on your back."
Ichabod almost turned over. "What?!"
"Calm down. I'm just messing around. This is an ancient sumi ritual called Walk of the Hairs."
|At Kong's clinic both Kong and Bill packed the things they thought they would need.|
While Bill was at the mall, the five Zoo Cubs who had been hit by ooze and became sentient, Taylor the Flamingo, Caesar the Chimp, Julia the Hyena, Zeb the Zebra and Rye the Giant Anteater, were now somewhat famous across the federation, barely two years old and already they were at first grade level intelligence, they were in elementary school already not needing preschool or kindergarten. There were in the indoor play area of the mall which was right outside the store Bill was shopping and they heard everything Bill had said.
Caesar was by far the smartest of the cubs and he said "Guys! Guys! This is our big chance! We can stowaway with them and be heroes with them!"
"Um...: Said Zeb "Wouldn't a Families notice we're gone!"
"We'll call them when we reach Alderbaren." Said Caesar "Now follow my lead."
The Five Toddlers with the minds of first graders are pretended to be stricken with colic so their adoptive Moms would take them to Kong's clinic.
(Incidentally, Matoaka and Minsk had taken Amalthia and Demetri to the mall and were talking with the ZooBorns' Moms but Amalthia and Demetri were still too small to play.)
And while the Moms weren't looking Rye, stuck his long anteater claws into a Skunk Woman causing her to release her spray distracting everybody while the Cubs ran into the back
"Code Red! Code Red!" Said the Computer "Skunk Spray in Waiting Rooms!"
"Oh Frick." Said Kong "Bill, help me put on my hazmat suit."
While Kong and Bill were gone, Caesar said "Quick everybody grab some spare diapers...And formula."
"Why?" Asked Taylor "I hate wearing diapers."
"We're going to be in those carry-on bags for a long time." Said Caesar "We need to both re-hydrate...And relieve ourselves."
If you're wondering how someone like Zeb the Zebra can fit in a carry on bag, consider that these are carry-on bag designed for Bulls and Gorillas.
|The cubs took out some of the things from the carry-ons including Kong's experimental formula, Zeb says "Quickly, get inside before they come back."|
|"Are you sure this will work?" Julia asked. "What if we get caught?"|
|Zeb says "Trust me, this'll work if we don't move." Caesar and Zeb went into Kong's luggage, while, Rye, Julia and Taylor went into Bill's.|
|When Kong and Bill got back they picked up their carry-ons.|
"This feels a little heavier," said Bill.
"So does mine," agreed Kong.
|Meanwhile Joker was pretty ticked off...His original plan was to arrive at the New Year's Bash in grand style but he had to delay that to January Third because..., one week ago he got hit by a fluid labeled 'Akira' and now his right arm was a giant tentacle 100 feet long and weighing two tons, which made moving a bit of a chore, the finest Doctor's in Arkham were slowly getting his arm back to normal but he still wouldn't be able to move till January 3rd|
(To Anyone who doesn't know what Akira is therefore doesn't know the reference https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iGnPZp6_-Q)
|Kong and Bill were settled into their chairs on the spaceship to Aldebaren when the stewardess came by. "Would you like anything to eat or drink?" she asked.|
"I'll have some Ritz crackers, a little cheddar cheese, and a ginger ale," Bill said.
|"Funny, I think I'm hearing a strange sound," said Kong.|
"From where?" Bill asked.
"The overhead luggage compartment," said Kong.
|"The Stewardess said "We're passing by the planet with the ringing rings. That's probobly what you're hearing. I'll see about getting your snacks."|
Meanwhile on Alderbaren, Pamela had not allowed Marzipan to cook for them the since she had come, of course Pamela was vegan and Marzipan was a carnivorous cat, But Marzipan could cook vegetables, the entire time the family had mostly been dining on leftovers and snacks.
As Marzipan lay on Ichabod's bed feeling despondent, Jonathan came in "Marzipan?" He said
"I don't why Pamela won't let me cook." Marzipan said "I can make vegan dishes."
"Marzipan." Jonathan said as he sat down on the be next to her "Pamela was very invested in Ichabod marrying Alice. More so then I was...I was close friends with Jervis but Pamela and Harely were lovers for a brief period of time even though Harely always went back to the Joker, so in a way...She felt with her Son marrying Harley's daughter that she would be vicariously marrying Harely...She accepts you as the bride Ichabod has chosen Marzipan but she doesn't necessarily like you as I do."
|Pamela walked in, "Harley and I weren't lovers. We were partners in crime. Although it didn't start off that way."|
|"And if you want to cook some vegetables, Marzipan," continued Pamela, "you are welcome to do so. I just didn't want to impose on you to help with the meals. You are a guest, after all, and here on Alderbaren we don't make our guests do housework."|
|"Oh, I see," said Marzipan. "Perhaps I'll show you a dish you might like."|
|(Author's Note: Um Hertz, while they couldn't show it IN the actual show, Poison Ivy and Harley's relationship was indeed sexual confirmed by the actual show makers http://kotaku.com/dc-comics-harley-quinn-poison-ivy-are-girlfriends-w-1711038615... but I'm willing to pass your last post off as Ivy trying to keep it a secret from her family)|
Marzipan decided she would talk to Ichabod who was doing yoga in the den.
Ichabod was performing the downward facing dog in front of the TV and Marzipan took a moment to stop and watch, she liked watching Ichabod do his yoga and not because she found it a turn on, she did find that when she was extremely stressed or anxious watching Ichabod go through his yoga routine could put her to sleep in no time.
Meanwhile Bill and Kong got off the space bus.
"This planet...Really hasn't changed that much since Duke Vortex was disposed of." Said Bill
"I don't blame the Humanimals of this planet for not wanting to integrate into society after two hundred years of Vortex's Rule."Said Kong "Oh! Our contact!"
Their Contact was Drako he was holding a sign that said 'Bill and Kong'
"I didn't realize there could be a Dragon larger then Tiamat!" Gasped Kong "You're nearly as tall as a normal Brachiosaurus!"
"All the better for you to ride me." Said Drako, "Climb on, Ichabod's house a bit of a hike."
|Kong and Bill hopped into the saddles strapped to Drako's back.|
"This is a switch for me," Bill said. "Usually somebody is riding me, not me riding them."
"Same here," Kong said, but Bill didn't ask him to explain that.
|Meanwhile Marzipan and Ichabod were in the kitchen, Marzipan was making Ichabod some hot soup, Ichabod had gotten a drippy nose|
"Winter..." Ichabod sighed "...What a double edged sword, lousy weather that makes you sick, but all the great Holidays with all the great Holiday food."
Marzipan gave him a bowl of hot chicken broth,
Just then, Bill and Kong came in,
"We're here!" Bill said his nose then wrinkled when he smelled the chicken soup
"Oh...Bill." Ichabod said "I forgot..."
"No, no..." Bill said "This is your habitat you get to eat what you wish...Where should we put our bags?"
"In my room for the moment." Ichabod said
|As Marzipan lead Bill and Kong to Ichabod's room, "Sorry about The soup," Marzipan saya, "Ichy has a cold." As they made it to the room both Bill and Kong threw their bags on the bed, an audible "Ow."was heard from them. Bill and Kong says "Wha?" Marzipan says "It seems you have stow aways."|
|"I hope you had a nice flight," said Marzipan. "Still no word on Joker, thus far."|
|"What the heck is in our bags?" Bill asked as he unzipped his bag and Kong did the same with his.|
Five small creatures tumbled out.
|Kong recognized them, "Caesar, Zeb, Rye, Julia and Taylor, why did you stow away to here?"|
|"We want to be heroes with you!" said Caesar.|
"But you're too young!" Marzipan said.
Caesar pouted. "No we're not!"
|"Um...Caesar." Zeb said "I need a bathroom, I really got to change my diaper."|
"There is a bathroom in here." Said Marzipan, "See that door with the picture wooden rose, that's Ichabod's lavatory."
Zeb quickly trotted into the bathroom.
"You have no idea how mad we are with you." Bill said "Do your families have any idea where you are?"
Caesar blushed "We were planning to call when we reached our destination."
Bill slapped his forehead "Like that would make the situation better." Bill glared at the cubs with a look that could make a Dragon blush
"You are all to stay in this room until any of us give an official order otherwise." Bill said "Ichabod is going to have a fit when he hears this."
Ichabod downstairs had finished his soup and was now pouring himself a glass of water.
"Hey Bill, why the long look on your face?" Ichabod asked before he took a drink
"You're not going to believe this but the Zooborns stowed away in our luggage."
Ichabod did a spit take "Dear Sweet Genius!" He exclaimed "What toddler does that?!"
"Those cubs are very much prodigies." Bill sighed "Unfortunate they also they also suffer an acute case of 'Watch-Too-Much-TV Syndrome, they've seen Kids go on adventures on the TV so they think they can do it in real life, the dangerous thing is...They're smart enough to pull off the stow away part and they think they can handle the actual 'Fighting the Bad Guy' bit."
"Oh geez!" Ichabod groaned "I don't know how I'm going to explain this to my..."
"Ichabod!" that was Jonathan's voice loud and clear.
Ichabod rushed to the library where he saw Jonathan sitting in his favorite chair, and Julia and Taylor had crept into the library
"Ichabod..." Jonathan slowly and steadily "I'm not mad but could please explain."
"Father!" Ichabod gasped as he quickly picked up Taylor knowing full well his Old Man's fear of birds "I know Taylor is a Bird, and I know this may seem to strange to believe but..."
"Ichabod..." Jonathan said "...I know you want to shield me from the Bird but you can relax, I can see that Bird is an infant flamingo, and flamingos...Don't scare me."
"Oh?" Ichabod said
"I know it seems arbitrary." Jonathan said "But Flamingos have always been too absurd a creature to scare be, tall, skinny, bright pink, none of the sharp claws or beaks found in crows, raptors or even song birds, so I am not going to have a panic attack with THAT Bird but how did she get here?"
"Taylor! Julia!" Bill yelled "I thought I said you were to stay in the bedroom!"
"Oh but I know you didn't mean it!" Taylor said trying her best to charm her way out of a bad situation
"Don't pull that on me." Bill said "No soldier attempts to pull that trick on their officer."
"These were Cubs...Some of the Cubs, Bill, Kong, Marzipan and I, fostered the winter before you came to Earth." Ichabod said
"You...Fostered some children?" Jonathan was looking more confused then ever."
"It's a bit of complicated story." Marzipan said as she was holding Zeb, Caesar and Rye in her arms to prevent them from escaping, How about we go downstairs and I'll give these cubs some ice cream to keep them still
In the kitchen, Marzipan gave each cub a triple scoop of green tea ice cream, to keep them still and quiet while Ichabod, Kong and Bill gave the story of the Mutant Babies creation.
"That is...Quite a tale."Jonathan said he then looked at Ichabod and smiled "Well, Ichabod not even of marrying age and you've already got a lot of experience looking after children, how do you like it?"
"Diaper changing isn't so bad once you get used to it." Ichabod admitted with a blush "Taking care of five cubs isn't as exhausting when you have friends to help you...And it was probobly more fun then all my own childhood years combined."
Jonathan became still, "You really were incredibly lonely weren't you?" He asked softly
|Ichabod sighs and says "I suppose so." Kong comes in "Bill, I have bad news. When the Zooboarns stowed aboard our luggage, they took out some stuff, including my experimental formula." Bill says "We still have time, have someone deliver it." Kong says "Better not be James, we want the Joker incapacitated, not killed." Bill says "How about our resident courier, Hunter."|
Meanwhile, back at Earthport, Hunter is overseeing a new lineup of new delivery ships and new employees. "Now that's what I like, a better courier service. Now Hunter's delivery service can handle more deliveries at once." That's when his secretary, a jackrabbit humanimal female named Rowen says "Hunter, you have a transmission from Alderbaren." Hunter says "Hmm, must be from Ichabod, must of forgotten something. Thanks Rowen." When he got to the videophone, he was surprised to see Bill and Kong "Bill, Kong. What are you doing there?" Kong says "Long story, I will explain when you arrive." Hunter says "What do you want delivered?" Then he spotted Caesar behind them, "Is that one of the Zooborns?" Kong says "Yeah, they managed to stow away on our luggage, could you go to my clinic and deliver a Styrofoam package wrapped in orange tape?" Unbeknownst, one of the new employees, Martin, a hawk humanimal, overheard the conversation "I can deliver that for you." Hunter says "I appreciate your help Martin, this delivery is going to a residence and the owner has a fear of birds, I'll deliver this myself. Don't worry, you'll get your chance." Kong asks "Who are you talking to?" Hunter says "Martin is one of the couriers here, he's new. Okay, I'm on my way."
|By the time Hunter arrived on Alderbaren, the cubs were all asleep. Energetic though they might be, they were still toddlers and needed their naps.|
"What are you going to do about them?" Hunter asked.
|"If James were here, he'd probably recommend sending them to boot camp," said Ichabod.|
"He isn't that harsh, though I wouldn't be too surprised if he mentioned it," said Hunter. "What you need is a really good babysitter."
"Say, have you seen James lately?" Ichabod asked.
"Last I heard, busy trying to overthrown the leaders of Vagas 12," said Hunter. "Seems that the government there became a tyrant that was starting to enslave people, including the tourists, especially after they'd spent all of their money gambling."
|Hunter left and Ichabod and Marzipan, were in the kitchen talking about where the Cubs should go when the party came along, they knew the other rogues would have trouble accepting one Humanimal, let alone Five Mutant Cubs.|
Just then, there the doorbell rang. Ichabod turned and saw the face a Female Goat Humanimal peeking in the window, She had to be a Native of the Alderbaren wilderness why else was she wearing clothes made of bark cloth.
Ichabod went and opened the door for her, "Greetings Goat-Madam." He said "Is there anything I can do for you."
"Are you Ichabod Crane who slew Duke Vortex?" Asked the Goat shyly
"Indeed I am." Said Ichabod
"I came all this way to meet you!" Said The Goat "My name is Fornarina, of the Deep Green Wood Herd."
"Fornarina..." Marzipan said "...I really hate to impose but could your Herd take some cubs and two of our friends fo a night our two?"
She showed Fornarina the Cubs. "Could you take these Cubs and Bill and Kong for New Year's Eve?"
"We would be honored to host two of the Greatest Humanimal Heroes!" Said Fornarina "And Cubs are always a delight."
|"Not after they decide to smuggle themselves to the other side of the galaxy," said Kong. "In a manner of speaking, that is."|
|Kong held up the box Hunter delivered, Ichabod asked "What is that?" Kong says "An experimental formula I worked on, I'm hoping that this will help you against the Joker." Marzipan asks "What it supposed to do?" Kong says "What it does. it'll prevent whoever is using it, won't be incapacitated by the Joker Venom. You know, that gas that strikes the Joker's victims with fits of constant laughter with his horrible signature grin? I call it the anti-Joker Venom." Bill says "For that, you need a sample of the Joker Venom. "|
Ichabod says "I'm already immune to Joker Venom, so I don't need an antidote"
|"Lucky you," Bill said, "but the rest of us need all the help we can get."|
"I've got a place for you two to stay on New Year's Eve," Marzipan said.
"We miss the party?" said Bill.
"I'm afraid so, unless they have a party where you will be."
|"Everybody...Meet Fornarina." Ichabod said "She'll she'll you to her Herd in the Deep Green Wood."|
"The Cubs as well?" Bill asked
"Yes, the Cubs as well." Ichabod said "In fact, maybe you should start heading over there...I don't wish to see the look on my Mum's face when she comes back and sees five cubs here."
"What about the Plans?" Kong asked
"We can talk about that after the Bash!" Ichabod said
|Fornarina was delighted with the cubs. "Oh, they're so cute!"|
And the cubs liked her since her pockets were full of treats.
"Sorry, I don't have any treats for you and Kong," she said to Bill.
"That's okay," Bill said. "We're big boys now. We can handle disappointment."
|"Let's just keep the cubs out of more trouble," said Kong. "Their mothers might skin us alive if they do."|
|Ichabod says "I agree with Kong, it's bad enough that we have to deal with the Joker. Overprotective mothers is nearly impossible do deal with."|
|So Fornarina took Bill, Kong and the Zooborns into the Deep Green Wood, Ichabod collapsed on the bed.|
"I think my fever's gone up." Ichabod sighed mopping his brow
"I'll get you some water." Marzipan said.
The next day nothing much happened, Marzipan made Ichabod some hot soup again, Ichabod had his soup while watching the weather forecast there would be a blizzard two days from now.
"My friends should be at the Den by that time." Ichabod said he then sneezed
|Ichabod spent much of the day sleeping and Marzipan worried about him.|
The next day he seemed a little better and wanted some bacon and eggs.
|"I hope you're over that fever," said Marzipan.|
|Ichabod says "Yeah, seems that way. I suppose it must be the cold weather affecting me."|
|Joker meanwhile was still having his tentacle arm transformed back to normal, at this point it was only 50 feet long and weighed one ton|
|"Only another 48 feet to go," said Doctor Armageddon.|
"That's great, Doc," said the Joker. "Although I will miss being able to reach all the way to the cafeteria to get a soda for myself."
|"Right," said the doctor. Of course, the part left unspoken was "and knocking out everyone inside the place with one blow."|
|As the blizzard flew in, Ichabod lay down naked on his bed.|
"I'm feeling much better Marzi." He said "How about you brush my back some more."
Marzipan got out the paintbrush, for some reason she was feeling depressed, she didn't know why, When Ichabod felt hot drops on his back, he turned his head
"Marzi..." He said "You're feeling a bit down today aren't you?"
"I don't know why." Marzipan said "I think it's this blizzard that's got me down."
|Ichabod says "Why is that? Can't stand the cold weather?"|
|Marzipan hesitated, she wasn't sure how to say the truth.|
"Ichabod..." marzipan said slowly "Being back on Alderbaren...Is bringing back memories from my slaves days."
Ichabod immediately understood "Oh Marzi..." He said tenderly
"A whole bunch of bad memories are flooding back to me."Marzipan said "I don't want to think about it...But when I try to think happy thoughts the bad ones come and sour my happiness I'm thinking about the times I saw someone get raped...Or murdered...I think about the times me and my fellow carnivorous Humanimals were obliged to eat a fallen friend who died on the job...I remember their names the slaves friends who I helped devour...Lief, Blackberry, Daffodil and Rufus, I think back to the times we shared...The secrets we confided in each other and when I ate them...How good they tasted with ketchup..."
That last bit would be almost hilarious if Ichabod did not know how deadly serious the Act of eating a departed friend as their last wish is...Ichabod realized the fact Marzipan needed a condiment to eat her dead friends illustrated just how much eating another person sickened her that as a Mizzer Humanimal born in a world where she was treated like a person, with a culture radically different from the Humanimals of the slave culture, she was something of an outsider even to her own kind.
"Marzipan..." Ichabod said "...You shouldn't have to hold that all in, trying to pretend to be happy because you're a guest...Coming here was my idea and you agreed because you know how much this meant to me...I think we're having this blizzard because Alderbaren herself knows your pain and wants to to let it all out...Marzipan, let me hold you."
Marzipan came to his open arms and together they sat on the bed as Marzipan opened the floodgates on emotions she had been holding back for seven years...
|Then the blizzard stopped, "See?" Ichabod says "The blizzard was tied in to your bottled up emotions."|
|"Thank you, Ichabod," said Marzipan and she smiled.|
|At this point let's fast forward to New Year's Eve.|
At Sunset the Rogues of Alderbaren gathered at the Crane Household for New Year's Mad Hatter and his Daughter Alice, Riddler and his daughter Pandora and...That was about it.
Ichabod really didn't want to wear a suit and pleaded he could wear his uniform to show he really was a member of the Federation, reluctantly Jonathan agreed.
Marzipan stayed near the food, adjusting things to be even more delicious, it became clear that someone was lurking and watching her...Alice and Pandora were giving her death glares, not speaking just glaring.
Marzipan tried to head to the vestibule, and the two girls followed her, still glaring.
"Can I help you two?" Marzipan said finally
Ichabod heard Marzipan's voice and instantly knew what was happening, he rushed to her aid.
"Alice! Pandora! You leave Marzipan alone!" Ichabod said
"Ichabod you disgust me!" Pandora said "How could you leave Alice for that...Thing?!"
"Marzipan is not a THING!" Ichabod yelled "She's a Cat Humanimal and she's just as much a person as we are."
Ichabod motioned for Marzipan to head upstairs, Marzipan did so
"Look Alice." Ichabod said "It is completely my fault that I forgot we were betrothed but in all honesty when I was taken by the Fellowship crew and I thought my family was dead, I really thought that my previous life was gone forever, that I would never marry you I had no idea my Family had survived until they found me on Earth."
It was at that point Ichabod realized Alice hadn't grown very much since he last saw her at eight years old, he was pretty much towering above her.
"Alice." Ichabod said "Let's...Let's be real for a moment, when I was taken in by my Humanimal Herd I...Blossomed as my Mum would say...I mean I filled out as much as my body could fill out including my...Intimate Organs...Alice I don't know how we could make love without my...Phallus....Breaking your pelvis."
At this point Jervis felt he had to intervene, "Ichabod." Jervis said "You know Alice said she was going to live with a rich old lady in the mountains who would protect her from the child hunters."
Alice got a pained look on her face, Ichabod knew this was going to get ugly
"Well...I should have realized it was too good to be true...The Woman was...She was a religious fanatic, She wanted to prove Humans could...Live without food and a Convict's child would be the perfect test subject, for a year and a half she so severely starved Alice her growth was stunted, she would have died, if not for the Madame's Humanimal Slaves, bringing Alice their own food, leaves, grass, roots. Finally one of the slaves called me...I rushed over there as quickly as possible."
(Author's Note: I deleted Hibernation Hotel, Alice does not join the Wranglers but she is wearing the black Alice dress)
|"I'm sorry all that happened to you," Ichabod said, "but just as your life took a path you didn't expect, so did mine. We have traveled two different paths, Alice, and we are no longer the people we were way back then. I hope you will understand."|
|"I guess it's difficult," said Alice.|
|Alice remembered it had been the Humanimals who had saved her from certain death, she saw the Ghosts of the Humanimal Slaves who saved her, glaring at her.|
"Alice." Ichabod said "I know we were betrothed but Alice...I know you were never that...Into me...You accepted the arranged marriage because we had no choice, but Alderbaren is free and you are free to have any Man you wish...Wouldn't you like someone better then me?"
Alice at that point broke down, she realized that she could probobly never have a Man at this point because her growth was so stunted.
Pandora huffed "Well I guess Alice was more insulted you chose a Humanimal like THAT over her, wearing those bright green clothes and dying her fur pink and purple...How garish!"
Ichabod glared at Pandora "I'll have you know that Marzipan was BORN with that fur color."
Pandora snorted "Pull the other one." She said stretching out her leg "It's got bells on it!"
When Ichabod saw Pandora's bony ankle, he was horrified by what he saw
Meanwhile Marzipan was in Ichabod's bedroom laying on his bed, Jonathan saw her there.
"Marzipan." He said sympathetically, "I saw what happened, those Girls had no right to chase you out of the..."
"Don't worry Jonathan." Marzipan said "It's probobly better this way."
"What do you mean?" Jonathan asked as he came in and sat on the bed.
"I've always been a bit...Different." Marzipan said "As a Kitten I was diagnosed with something called 'Gaia's Touch' or as my old friend Leo called it 'Big Fat Loudmouth Syndrome' I was always in the Special Ed Class when I was in school."
Jonathan felt a twinge of stinging pain "Oh..." He said "I see."
"When I was a slave." Marzipan said "Whenever there was a ball at Castle Vortex I was only ever cooking or serving food, I don't want to ruin tonight by...Being me."
"Marzipan." Jonathan said "I've come to realize that Humanimal Social Mores are a lot different from Humans and really because you were wrenched from your world at eight years old and spent seven years a slave, we should be more slightly sympathetic toward you..." He sighed "...But we're not."
Just then they heard Ichabod screaming downstairs "PANDORA! WHAT IN FRITH'S NAME IS WRONG WITH YOU?!"
Jonathan and Marzipan came downstairs, Ichabod was yelling at Pandora
"Why are you killing yourself Pandora?!" Ichabod asked
"I'm not killing myself!" Pandora yelled "I'm just on a diet!"
"Diet?! Diet?!" Ichabod was furious "You are STARVING Pandora! How long has this been going on?!"
Marzipan already knew what was happening, and as a chef, she didn't like it, her tail was floofed up, her ears were folded back she glared at Pandora much more fiercely then Pandora ever could at her
"Ichy..." Pandora stammered "...What's with your Cat Girlfriend."
"Marzipan worked as a Cook for seven years." Ichabod said "She doesn't like it when people are hungry, if people are hungry on her watch then she hasn't been doing her job."
Jonathan approached Edward Nygma "What is going on with your daughter?"
Edward was crestfallen "About about two years ago..." He said "Brenda couldn't take life on Alderbaren anymore she had been giving Pandora some...Ideas I didn't like...Brenda was always trying to get Pandora into a modeling career to follow in her footsteps, always monitoring what and when she ate, I didn't like it...I was determined she wouldn't have custody...We didn't really even divorce, one night I simply drove her out of the house promising violence if she ever came back...Pandora must have overheard and...She's been mad at me...And she's been doing this ever since."
"I heard all of that." Marzipan said to the two men "My ears hear a lot more then what you Humans hear."
She then said to Ichy everything Edward had said to Jonathan.
Ichabod clutched his temples "Oh Pandora! Is that what this is all about? I got mad at my folks for a long time but I would never..." Ichabod realized because he was a Medic he understood thing Pandora didn't
"Everyone." Ichabod said "I'm sorry for doing this but it has to be done."
Ichabod then tore of his Federation Shirt like it he was a Chippendale's Dancer, revealing even though he was still thin, he was also sinewy the Military life had put small but tough meat on his bones
"Look at me Pandora!" Ichabod pleaded "Before I left I was nothing but skin and bones! I hate three meals a day but I ate like a weight watching butterfly, after I joined the Humanimals and they taught me how to eat like a Humanimal...That's when I could finally reach my ideal weight!"
|"Stop it! Stop it!" Pandora screamed, hiding her face in her hands. "What I weigh is nobody's business but my own! Leave me alone!"|
Edward put his hand on Ichabod's shoulder. "Ichabod...I don't think this is working."
(Author's Note: Sorry Steve had to edit Riddler's line)
|Marzipan grabbed an onion and started cutting it to get her tears flowing, She dropped her tears into a glass of champagne.|
She motioned to Ichabod, and Ichabod understood what she meant
"Pandora...I didn't mean to be mean." He took the glass of champagne "Please drink something...For me."
"Oh fine!" Pandora said "If it will get you off my back!"
She sipped the champagne, Marzipan used her enchanted tears to make the champagne taste insanely delicious, Pandora gasped when she sipped the champagne.
"Oh...Oh God!" Pandora gasped dropping the glass.
It was at that moment Pandora realized how empty she was...In more ways then one.
"Ichabod..." Pandora said "...I...When my Dad said he would kill my Mom if she ever came back...I got angry, and I wanted to be like my Mom, because I was mad at my Dad...I see now..."
Edward knelled by his daughter "Pandora..." He said "I'm sorry for what I did...I didn't like the way...She...Was trying to control you...I drove her away because I feared something like this would happen!"
"Dad..." Pandora said "I didn't mean for it to get so bad...It hurts Dad! It hurts!"
"Ichabod..." Marzipan said "Pandora looks really ill...Should she stay with us tonight?"
"I am a medical doctor." Ichabod said "But this is also I psychological thing...Father...Do you think you could help me with Pandora...I don't think I can do this by myself?"
"Well..." Jonathan said "...I suppose it couldn't hurt."
|They made up a bed for Pandora and made sure she had everything she needed.|
Jonathan and Ichabod sat in the room with her while she tried to fall asleep.
"My mind is buzzing," Pandora said. "I don't see how I can possibly sleep."
|"Let's hope to better times." said Ichabod.|
|As Ichabod and Marzipan lay down in bed, Ichabod gave her a kiss on the mouth.|
"Thanks." Ichabod said
"For what?"Marzipan said
"For everything."Said Ichabod
|Marzipan smiled and kissed him back. Outside the night was dark and cold and the moon was full, but inside their little room it was warm and cozy.|
|"About time to go to bed," said Ichabod.|
|The next day, New Year's Day at the Crane household everyone gathered for breakfast. Pamela asks "Morning everyone, anyone for a Vegan breakfast?"|
Meanwhile, in Gotham City. Commissioner Gordon got a call from Batman, "What's that, you want Joker on the No-fly list? I don't see why not after that accident of his at S.T.A.R. Labs. He shouldn't be traveling for at lest a month anyway."
|Of course, Only Pandora was staying over, Riddler and Mad Hatter and Alice went home.|
Pandora hesitantly nibbled at the Vegan Food placed before her, Marzipan suspected she would need...Better food then what Pamela was serving to whet her appetite.
Marzipan of course was having none of this Vegan Food, she got two eggs from the fridge and cracked them.
"I should've known you wouldn't enjoy Pamela's steamed chard." Jonathan said as Marzipan started frying the eggs
"I'm a Cat." Marzipan said "Though I think Bill and Kong will enjoy Pamela's steamed leaves when they get back."
"Jonathan sighed "Normally during the fall and winter, I'm the one in control of the kitchen, but this year has been...Unusual."
"What should I do about Pandora?" Marzipan asked "Do you know her favorite foods?"
"No." Jonathan said "And even if I did take note of what Pandora ate during the times I saw her with Ichabod they might not be what she currently likes...I saw you last night...You did something to Pandora's drink to get her to..." Jonathan didn't say anymore because he knew Pandora was in earshot.
Marzipan nodded but didn't speak, to confirm she did do something
"Keep doing whatever it is you do." Jonathan said "I'll...Go look through my books."
|Later Jonathan pulled Marzipan aside. "I did find something in one of my old journals. Pandora loves carrot cake, this was when we celebrated Alice's 5th birthday."|
"Oh geez!" Marzipan said. "But I'm a cat! I can't make sweet food or drinks because Cats can't taste sweetness."
(Author's note: Had to change this slightly)
|Meanwhile, Joker is still recovering, he no longer has a 50 ft. tentacle but his arm is still numb from the procedure. Harley Quinn disguised as a nurse comes in. "Jumping Jiminy Christmas," Joker says, "your a sight for sore eyes. I hope you made preparations for me to get to Alderbaran, seems that these doctors has restricted me from travelling outside Gotham City." Harley says "Sure do Mr. J. At this minute Moe, Lar and Cur are booking a flight to Alderbaran and we're going to sneak you into a cargo container. Sorry, it's the best we can do."|
|Of course Joker's plot had been exposed a week ago, the Justice League prevented any contact from shuffling him off world.|
And it was decided Pandora needed some professional help...So Riddler and Pandora went to Earth with Ichabod and Marzipan to one the finest hospitals in Ohio.
And the ZooBorns, well they were returned to their adoptive families who were relieved to see them...But they still got no TV for a month.