The Duckburg Incident
Milo slept for an entire day. When he next woke up, it was mid-afternoon. He had fallen asleep in his clothes. When he got out of bed he found that a day of sleep had done him a world of good. He felt some residual stiffness, but most of the aches and pains that had been brought on by exposure the Murphy’s Lawinator had mostly dissipated. He got out bed and pulled his housecoat from the back of the bedroom door. The coat hook fell from the back of the door and landed on the carpet with a dull thud. He bent over, picked it up and put it on the small bookcase next to his bedroom door. The bookcase collapsed. For a moment, Milo, debated stopping and putting back together, but decided he would do it later. He stumped down the hall to the bathroom, open the door and went inside. Milo shut the door, locked it and proceeded to start pulling off his clothes. Soon he was completely undressed. He left his sweater vest, golf-shirt, body armour, underwear, socks and shoes in a pile by the door. Milo turned to look at himself in the bathroom mirror over the sink. He was round shouldered. His knees and elbows were scarred from all the times he had fallen on to concrete or asphalt due to some unexpected occurrence of Murphy’s Law.Years of dodging Murphy’s Law had left Milo’s thin frame fit, if not exactly muscular. Faded bruises from his experiences on Octalia had left his chest and back a fade patchwork of purple and yellow blotches. Milo turned away from his reflection in the bathroom mirror, which promptly shattered and stepped past the toilet toward the shower. He pushed aside the shower curtain, reached into the shower and turned on the water. It came gushing out of the faucet and splashed over Milo’s feet. He turned the temperature up, almost as hot as he could stand it, and pulled the stopper. The water coming out of the faucet slowed to a thin trickle. There was a loud gurgling noise from behind the bathroom wall and a second later hot water came blasting out of the shower head. Milo felt the piping hot water hitting his body, running through his hair and down his chest and back. He stood under the hot water, letting it seep into his pores, The hot water felt good on Milo’s various contusions. He stood under the torrent for what seemed like a long time, letting the bathroom fill with steam. Eventually, the water began to turn cold. Milo turned off the water and got out of the shower. He towelled himself dry and pulled on his housecoat. He turned to the bathroom mirror to pull a comb through his wet and tousled hair, then remembered that mirror had broken. Milo stepped carefully across the broken glass. He opened the bathroom door and stepped out into the hall. He walked back down the hall to his bedroom, accompanied by the clatter of pictures falling off the wall. Milo pushed open his bedroom door, stepped inside and shut it. He turned to the mirror on the back of his closet door and ran a comb through his wet hair. He then pulled open the closet door, which came off in his hand. He set it aside and began to rummage through his closet, pulling out a sweater vest, a golf shirt and a pair of shorts. Milo then opened a drawer and pulled out socks and underwear. As he pulled on his clothes, Milo’s stomach rumbled is and he suddenly realized that he was very hungry. He went out into the hall and began to make his way downstairs to the kitchen.
As soon as he reached to top of the stairs, Milo put his foot through the top stair. He pulled his foot out and proceeded downstairs into the kitchen. When he got to the bottom of the stairs he found Zack, Melissa, Amanda and his older sister, Sara sitting around the kitchen table, along with his parents.
“Afternoon, Milo,” said his Martin. ”It’s good to see you up and around.”
“Oh, hi Dad,” said Milo.
“Milo,” said Amanda, “everyone’s been so worried about you.” For a second, Amanda looked as though she wanted to throw herself at Milo, the way Sara had. Then the moment passed and she got up, walked around the table and gave him a hug. Milo hugged her back, and as he did, suddenly realized that he had missed her, “It’s good to have you back safely,” she said. And then she kissed him. Milo blushed. For a second, Milo didn’t respond, then his brain seemed to click into gear and he stammered, “I-uhhh-thanks, Amanda. It’s good to be back.” Milo’s stomach rumbled loudly again, and he remembered why he had come downstairs. He walked over to the refrigerator and pulled open the door. The door handle came off in Milo’s hands. He laid the door handle aside, opened the refrigerator door and proceeded to start rummaging through its contents, pulling out bread, ham, Swiss cheese, lettuce and a tomato. He assembled his sandwich and sat down at the table with everyone else. Milo took a big bite. He was famished.
“So, Milo,” began Melissa, “how are you feeling?”
“Yeah, we were worried about you,” said Zack, “You went through a lot.”
Milo’s father nodded his head at Zack, Melissa and Amanda. “They showed up first thing this morning-“
“And said they wouldn’t leave until they made sure you were all right,” finished Sara.
Milo looked from his family to his friends. He didn’t know what to say to that, expect to stammer, “I-ummm-thanks guys.” He looked at Zack and Melissa. “What about the two you?” he asked, “Weren’t your parents worried?”
“Of course,” replied Melissa, “my dad’s a firefighter, remember?”
“Both of our parents called the police,” continued Zack, “but when they told the police that the last person we had been seen with was you, the police just said that we’d all turn up eventually.”
Martin chuckled. “Yeah, the police know all about Murphy’s Law. Someday Milo will have to tell you all about the penguin incident.”
Milo suddenly looked a little embarrassed. “Dad, I though we agreed to never speak of the penguin incident again,” he said.
“Oh, sorry Milo, I forgot.”
“Where did the three of you go?” asked Amanda, “you disappeared for almost a week.”
Now it was Milo’s turn to chuckle. “Oh, yeah, this was a weird one, even for me,” he said. Over the course of the next half hour Milo, Zack and Melissa took it turns to tell Amanda, Sara and Milo’s parents the whole story of their various encounters with the Octalians going all the way back to when they had stolen a sample of Milo’s DNA when he had been very, very sick and tried to replace him with a robot. “A shoddy robot,” Milo had interjected around bites of his sandwich.“Is it really too much to ask that the mysterious aliens replace me with a robot that actually works properly?”
Zack laughed. “Yeah, when it called us losers, that was kind of a give away that something was up.”
“So, how were you able to get home with Murphy’s Law?” asked Amanda.
“That was all thanks to Melissa and Doof,” replied Milo.
“Well, more Doof than me,” said Melissa, feeling slightly guilty. “We were able to cobble together a Murphy’s
Amanda looked confused. “A-I’m sorry, Melissa, what is a Murphy’s
“It was something that we built to cancel out Murphy’s Law,” replied Melissa. “Dr. Doofenshmirtz is actually pretty good at coming up with these weirdly specific gadgets.”
Zack shot Milo an apologetic look. “The only problem is that most of them don’t work very well.”
“Yeah,” agreed Melissa, “and this one was no exception.”
Sara looked at her brother. “What did it do?” she asked.
“It canceled out Milo’s negative probability field,” responded Zack.
Milo’s father looked delighted. “You mean you three figured how to-“
Milo cut his father off. “Not exactly, Dad,” he said.
Melissa nodded in agreement, “Yeah like I said, Mr. Murphy, it worked, but not very well.” She paused. “There were side effects.”
“What sort of side effects?” asked Milo’s father.
Milo waved a hand airily. “Oh, you know, just the usual side effects of every strange device built by a former mad scientist, numbness, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, but I feel much better now.”
“Oh,” said Sara, “no wonder you looked so ragged yesterday.”
Milo’s father put a hand on his son’s shoulder. “We’re just glad to have you back safely.”
“Thanks Dad,” said Milo.
Cavendish and Dakota stood under the hot sun in an empty field on the edge of town. Cavendish was fuming. “Outrageous,” he muttered, stabbing a piece of garbage. He deposited it into the garbage bag in his hand, “Simply unbelievable!”
Dakota stopped in the act of picking up a piece of garbage and turned to face his partner. “Cavendish, you need to let it go.”
“I know I should let it go,” said Cavendish, “but I can’t.”
Dakota sighed. “Yeah, I know,” he said. “It’s Milo. He’s a likeable kid. What are you gonna do?” He could guess where this was going. Cavendish had already gone rouge once, after having unknowingly witnessed Milo’s initial abduction by the Octalians. Dakota hadn’t believed Cavendish at the time and his skepticism had almost ended their friendship. On top of that they had received a formal reprimand from their supervisor, Mr. Block. “Boys, you were taken of off time agent duty because of your inability to follow orders,” he had said genially. “And now you’ve gone haring off to an alien planet without filing the proper paperwork.”
“But, Sir,” Cavendish had protested, “the boy who was abducted was a rather unusual case-“
Mr. Block had not been willing to let Cavendish finish, “I’m sorry boys,” he had said. “You went off-world, which is a clear violation of your mission mandate. I have no choice to give you a formal reprimand.” Cavendish’s communicator had beeped, indicating an incoming message, no doubt it was their formal reprimand. “If you violate your mission mandate again, I will have no choice but to send to Ancient Rome, where you’ll be assigned cleaning latrines. Have a good day, boys.” Mr. Block had signed off.
Cavendish savagely speared a piece of alien garbage. He took a deep breath to calm himself and looked at Dakota. “Yes,” he said, “Milo is a perfectly pleasant young man and the incident with Octalians wasn’t his fault, but they cloned him, replaced him with a robot and attempted to kidnap him twice.”
Dakota shrugged. “They were desperate,” he said. “They should have just asked him for his help. You know what Milo is like. He practically bends over backwards for people, even people who don’t really want him around.”
“Yes,” agreed Cavendish, “that is one of Milo’s many admirable qualities, but that’s not the point.”
Dakota looked confused. ”Well then, I don’t understand,” he said, “what are you getting at?”
Cavendish sighed. “Don’t you see?” he asked. “The Octalians were sufficiently interested in Milo’s negative probability field to be willing to kidnap him twice.” “Uhhhhh…….Isn’t that a little dark?” asked Dakota, a note of skepticism creeping into his voice.
“Considering what they put him through, no I don’t think it is,” responded Cavendish.
Dakota looked confused. “So, what are you getting at?” he asked. “Are you saying that you expect somebody to take Milo again? Isn’t that kind of a stretch?”
“Ordinarily, I would say yes it is,” replied Cavendish, “but most people don’t spontaneously cause things to happen the way Milo does.”
“Which is-“ began Dakota.
“-not his fault,” finished Cavendish, “but I must consider the possibility that there are others who might be interested in Milo and have less than noble intentions.”
“OK,” replied Dakota slowly, “so what are you suggesting, that we follow Milo?”
Cavendish shook his head. “No, not exactly,” he said. “Milo is capable of looking after himself, but we should keep an eye out for any unusual occurrences around Danville.”
Dakota laughed. “You want us to watch for weird stuff around town, with Milo walking around? Milo causes half the strange stuff that happens around Danville.”
“Well, I never said that it would be easy,” replied Cavendish, “but-“ Dakota shrugged and nodded. “Yeah, what are you gonna do,” he said, “it’s Milo.”