|The Power of Freedom
Author: BlueTiger321 PM
A city is taken control of by a ruthless dictator, and it's up to a group to see to it that freedom is obtained with the power of music to guide them.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Humor - Chapters: 13 - Words: 68,462 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 2 - Updated: 05-17-12 - Published: 02-26-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7874888
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 11: The Final Countdown
BlueTiger321: Okay! Our heroes are back together again (the way they should be) and they're gearing up for their final confrontation with Azula. Can they do it knowing what's at stake? Read on and find out for yourselves! Before I begin, I'd like to dedicate this chapter to the memory of Maurice Sendak: his stories were some of my favourite to read while I was growing up. May he rest in peace.
Morning was about to come over Toon City. It had been a long night but the T.U.F.F. agents managed to escape from prison, patch up what quarrels they had, and produce the cure needed to stop Azula's nefarious scheme. They walked through a dense forest on their way to the destination that was to be the place Azula bragged about releasing the Titan formula—Toon City Dam. Along the way they did their best to not make any noise that would give themselves away, for stealth in reaching the area was crucial. As an extra precaution, Aerrow had Radarr cling to his neck and let him hang down from his back to prevent him from accidentally stepping on anything on the ground, much like he did near the warehouse two nights ago.
The group walked along with nothing coming out to surprise them when they all stopped and heard the sound of a snap that was very close. Fearing that they had been spotted, everyone looked around and instantly got into a fighting stance. But Radarr looked down from over Aerrow's shoulder and saw that Sokka was the one who made the noise, for one of his boots crushed a twig. Sokka saw the furry co-pilot staring at his feet and then took a step back while giving a sheepish grin to the others for his mistake. This earned him a hush from everyone.
The awkward moment was put behind them as they continued to walk through the forest in order to get to their destination as soon as possible. With any luck, they thought, no one will have already arrived at the dam. But that dream soon fizzled out of existence when the group arrived at a clearing but still remaining out of sight by hiding amongst the trees.
What stood before them was a large crowd of people all gathered in front of Toon City Dam, which stood high above everyone and everything with its massive concrete structure. A river went straight down from the dam and into the rest of Toon City, which split the crowd of civilians into two sections with one on the left bank of the river and the other on the right bank. Up on the far side of the left bank stood a large stage much like the ones everyone saw at CN Square last afternoon and contained an array of speakers as well as a single microphone attached to a lectern and screens hanging from the red curtains placed in the back. They all wondered why it was there but then presumed it to be where Azula would address the people before releasing the waters just to put them at ease. To make sure there was crowd control, the various thugs of Arkham City stood on patrol in front of the stage.
The T.U.F.F. agents knew that the crowd would still be hostile should they see them, so without a sound, the heroes slowly walked around them through a thick brush of trees. When they were sure that no one could see or hear them, they began to strategize their plan.
"All right," whispered the Chief. "It looks like everyone in Toon City has gathered here."
"Big surprise there," Toph said sarcastically. "Azula led them all here without realizing they've just walked into a trap."
"So what's our best option?" said Aang. "Can anyone see how secure the dam is?"
Finn knew of the best way to check. Pulling out his crossbow, he brought up all three target reticles and looked through it while aiming at the dam. His eye gazed upon TYGER operatives all patrolling the dam and armed with sniper rifles. Finn looked back at his friends and said, "Bad news: Azula's guys have got the dam pretty secure."
"Another big surprise there," said Stork. "After the little stunt we pulled at the prison, she was probably expecting us." Drooping his arms, the Merb thought he finally accepted defeat.
"We can't give up now," said Aerrow, "especially not after making it this far. Does anyone have a plan?"
Kitty looked at the dam and then at the stage. Her high intellect sought out the various scenarios, both thinking of the benefits and the consequences, until she finally came up with the plan she knew would work. "I've got it," she said. "First we take out the guards near the dam, and then we get inside and split into two groups: one distracting any TYGER operatives inside the dam and disarming the charges, and the other going to administer the cure into the dam's reservoir. While that's happening, Mayor Quimby will stay out here and talk to the crowd to get them to see reason."
"How?" asked Mayor Quimby. "If I go up there to address the people, they'll probably think I'm all washed up and want me gone."
Keswick gave a short chuckle, which caught the mayor's attention. "Oh, leave that to me," he said. "I happen to have a t-t-t-trick up my sleeve that'll make everyone see that Azula's nothing but a phony."
The plan was set and so the group set off into the forest to each perform their specific task. But just before they left, Keswick held out the cure to Kitty and another device, which was a small, flat black monitor that had a thin metal rod at the bottom.
"What's this for?" the cat asked, referring to the other device.
"That will m-m-m-measure how much of the Titan formula has been neutralized," replied Keswick. "Stick the rod into the water after you pour the cure into the reservoir and it will t-t-tell you the percentage."
"That's not very reassuring," said Danny.
"I was in a rush, all right? But trust me: the cure will work."
Kitty pocketed both items and then went off with her team while Keswick, Mayor Quimby and the Chief stayed behind to do their given task. Knowing that none of it would be easy, everyone proceeded with caution.
Soon the T.U.F.F. agents reached the outer rim of the forest where the entrance to the dam was placed. The shadows from the trees still acted as cover for them because they stopped once they saw that two TYGER operatives armed with assault rifles guarded the entrance while another pair patrolled the walkway at the top with sniper rifles. It was their only way of getting inside and yet they were out of reach once again by Azula's interference.
"How are we supposed to get inside the dam?" said Zuko.
"Bursting our way in would be suicide, that's for sure," said June.
"And I can see from here that they've got ghost-tracking equipment," said Danny, "so going invisible or intangible is out of the question."
"What if we tried taking them out from a distance?" asked Junko.
Piper lightened up by the suggestion. "That's brilliant," she said. "If one of us takes a position from the trees, he'll be able to take out all four guards at once."
Finn jabbed a thumb into his chest, saying, "I've got this one." He then started to climb up the nearest tree but then slipped and fell down onto his rear, making the others groan in annoyance at the marksman's clumsiness.
Finn tried climbing again and was this time assisted by Junko. The Wallop used his strength to launch his friend onto the nearest branch where he made a slight scream along the way. Finn finally settled into the branch where he stood shaking and his eyeballs rolling around in their sockets. After getting his bearings straight, he lied down on his stomach on the branch and took out his crossbow, putting up all three target reticles. His first targets were the TYGER operatives on the walkway. The first one stepped into his line of sight and so he squeezed the trigger and fired a bolt.
The TYGER operative had his back turned when the bolt struck him in the back. The impact was silent but it caused the man to utter a painful groan until he fell down to hit the floor. This alerted the guard next to him, but he only noticed it for a second when a bolt hit him in the chest, knocking him out as well.
The guards up top were taken care of, so Finn aimed his crossbow at the entrance. Two shots were instantly fired. The bolts hit their mark as both TYGER operatives standing watch took the shots in the chest and hit the ground. Finn then jumped out of the tree and once again landed on his rear where he stood up and rubbed the sore spot.
"Hey man, nice shot," said Dudley.
"What a good shot, man," added Sokka.
"So all we need to do now is get in there and plant the cure?" said Katara.
"Yeah," replied Aerrow, "but I can imagine that the whole place is filled with TYGER operatives, so stay on your toes, everyone."
The group rushed into the dam's entrance. They were so close to victory that they could feel it caressing their skins like silk. But getting into the dam was only the easy part; the hardest was about to begin.
Down the long hallway they ran, desperate to put an end to all the terror and strife that had befallen them over the course of their journey. Although it had been such an unpleasant time for each of them, they all managed to see something in themselves and each other that none of them ever noticed during all their years of friendship. It filled them with a sense of pride in knowing that they discovered what those secrets were and that it brought them all closer as friends.
Eventually they arrived at the central chamber of the dam. But they dared not go any farther than the hallway as they saw numerous TYGER operatives walking around, each armed with a different firearm. What they also saw were various demolition charges, which were black boxes with blinking red lights, placed at specific points on the dam. They were to be the catalyst that would bring forth Azula's change if it were allowed.
Kitty looked out from her spot until she found what she was looking for: a sign that showed her the way. It was a white sign with blue lettering that said Reservoir and had a blue arrow pointing in the appropriate direction. Unfortunately, it was on the other side of the room. "There's where we need to go," she said, "so now it's time for the next phase of our plan."
"Right," said Aerrow. "We'll create a distraction so you can go put the cure into the reservoir."
Dudley looked at his partner with determined eyes while he thought he couldn't let her do it by herself. "I'll go with you," he said.
"What?" said the cat. "I can't let you do that. You should stay here and help the others."
"But what kind of partner would I be if I let you do something like this by yourself? Besides, you don't know what's in there. I'll be your backup."
Kitty thought long and hard. Then she stared into Dudley's blue eyes and remembered why he was such a good partner, because he was always there for her, even though sometimes it never worked out in her favour. "Oh, okay," she said. "I'll let you come with me."
The dog, feeling excited, jumped up and held out his hand saying, "High five!" Dudley stayed in midair for a few seconds until Kitty complied and slapped her hand with his.
Stork got between the two and said, "If you don't mind, I'd like to come with you two as well because your task sounds like the easiest and has the least-likely way of me getting beaten up."
Rolling her eyes and grunting, Kitty said, "Fine. Now all we need to do is get the guards to look away while we sneak off."
Just then, a column of concrete was lifted up and knocked several guards off their feet. It came so unexpectedly that the other guards were bewildered by it and put them on alert.
The T.U.F.F. agents were also confused by the column until they heard snickering from the back. They looked to see Toph having a huge grin on her face with both her arms raised high over her head.
"You said you needed a distraction," said the blind girl.
It was the best option for them all so they all stood back and let Toph do her work. Aang joined with her and together they used their Earthbending skills to lift random blocks of concrete to surprise the guards. One by one the blocks came up, startling the TYGER operatives and catching them in their path to knock them over on their backs, sides or stomachs, to create complete chaos in the room.
Seeing that it was their chance to get across, Dudley, Kitty and Stork all ran for the hall. They managed to make it to the other side without being spotted just as more blocks of concrete kept rising and falling to distract the guards.
The rest jumped out into the open after their friends left once the concrete blocks stopped rising, and all the TYGER operatives looked on and faced the group with angry glares while they all got their firearms ready, which only put the T.U.F.F. agents into their own battle stances.
Dudley, Kitty and Stork eventually made it to the chamber that contained the dam's reservoir, which was a large room with a gigantic pool of water on the floor where it kept steady ready to be distributed. Being sure that no one was around to stop them, they carefully looked around every inch of the room before stepping inside to initiate their objective. It appeared that the chamber wasn't guarded, so they all walked into it and immediately headed for the pool.
Upon getting closer, they noticed that the water wasn't its usual colour; it was green. The realization struck them: the water changed colour due to the mass amount of the Titan formula having been dumped into it. It was going to change once they were finished.
Dudley looked at the water strangely and started to rub his chin.
"What is it, Dudley?" asked Kitty.
"I dunno," replied the dog. "Since the water's got that formula in it, I was kinda expecting something more than just making it turn green. Y'know, something like smoke on the water."
The cat and the Merb stared at the dog with raised eyebrows for his insane thought.
"It must be really empty inside your head," said Stork.
"At times, yes," said Dudley.
"Enough chitchat," said Kitty. "Let's just pour the cure into the water and be done with it." She then reached into her clothes to find the container so they could get back to the others as soon as possible.
The trio kept their eyes on the pool of water, not even noticing that two large shadows came upon them. It wasn't until they saw the reflections in the water that they turned around after abandoning their task and looking up with frightened expressions. Standing before them were the Abramovici Twins, Mr. Hammer and Sickle.
"Now we destroy you!" said the twins in unison.
Raising their weapons high, the two brothers brought them down hard and missed just as Dudley, Kitty and Stork quickly rolled to the side, letting their sledgehammer and sickle crash into the concrete and make two large cracks.
The only thing that came to mind for the trio was to run as Mr. Hammer and Sickle came running at them full speed. They ran away from the pool to get away from their attackers, hoping to cover some distance and to think of a strategy.
"I think I was better off with everyone else!" Stork said as he ran.
Meanwhile, back outside the dam, the crowd stood waiting just as the time was five minutes to six o'clock. Soon, they all thought, they would get to chance to make an impact on those who were still doubtful of Azula's reign and make them see that it was, as the crowd saw, the best thing that ever happened to them. Everyone kept their eyes on the stage with the knowledge of Azula appearing at any moment to give them the last bit of encouragement they needed to see this peaceful event to the end.
All was quiet until a lone figure approached the lectern and then a single light shined on that spot. Cheers went up from the civilians when they saw that it was Azula coming to greet them.
Azula smiled at her followers. It was going according to her plan: they suspected nothing while her men were getting ready for the final preparations. Soon every man, woman and child who survived the flood would be transformed into lethal killing machines that would follow her bidding. The only thing left to do was to make sure they would get their last bit of happiness before they met their fate.
Raising her hands to silence the crowd, Azula leaned in closer to the microphone and said, "My fellow toons, thank you all for coming for this joyous occasion. It is with great pride to see so many of you who are willing to take a stand for what is right. Today, we shall show everyone in the city who refuse to accept the righteous change that my rule is one of peace and prosperity; that it is what Toon City deserves!"
Another cheer erupted from the people, and again Azula silenced them by raising her hands.
During Azula's speech behind the curtains of the stage, Keswick and Mayor Quimby stood at a control panel next to an unconscious TYGER operative who had been taken by surprise and knocked out by the Chief who stood on the man's head in victory.
"Was I great or what?" said the flea.
"You were on fire, Chief," Keswick said in nonchalance. He stared at the control panel to figure out the correct function that controlled the monitors and the speakers. When he found it, he opened up the casing and then reached into his sleeve.
The Chief and Mayor Quimby both stared at the creature to see what he was doing, wondering if it would assist in bringing down Azula.
"What are you doing?" asked the mayor.
"Oh, I'm just looking for s-s-s-something I keep on me at all times," replied Keswick. "Let's just say that it caught Azula red-handed while we were in j-j-j-j-jail." Keswick then smiled when he found what he was looking for and pulled it out to show it was a cord that was attached to a small video recorder kept in his sleeve. He shifted his eyebrows and showed a tooth-filled grin upon imagining Azula's reaction for what he had in store.
Back inside the dam, Aerrow and the others all faced the TYGER operatives with determination and confidence in their hearts. A huge battle was about to commence and they were ready for it.
"Back in Black"
As Made Famous by AC/DC
(A/N: Once again, no one is singing this song; it's used for a fight scene.)
One of the TYGER operatives got closer to the group while keeping his assault rifle aimed on them. "You kids haven't got a chance in Hell of fighting all of us," he said. "If you give up now, we'll let you off with your lives."
Aerrow stared at the man and said, "Actually, we intend to even the playing field."
All the TYGER operatives laughed at the boy for his stupid remark, but then they all yelped in surprise when random green lasers were fired off in different directions that struck every man's firearm and destroyed them. They looked up to see a figure floating in midair after turning visible—Danny Phantom. The halfa floated back down to his friends and joined them just as the TYGER operatives all armed themselves with knives, stun batons and bats.
The fighting began.
Back in black, I hit the sack
I been too long, I'm glad to be back
Yes, I am
A TYGER operative lunged forward at Aerrow with his bat, but the Sky Knight grabbed his daggers, ignited them and spun into the air as he was surrounded with a blue aura. A pair of blue wings seemed to have protruded from his arms until he shot them forward and fired a large pulse of energy; it was his signature move, the Lightning Claw. The pulse struck the man in the chest where he was instantly knocked out and laid on the floor motionless.
Let loose from the noose
That's kept me hanging about
Aang went next and swirled his hands around in front to create a tornado that lashed out at three men and sent them spiralling into each other. The speed of their collision instantly put them out of the battle.
I keep looking at the sky 'cause it's gettin' me high
Forget the hearse 'cause I'll never die
Swing after swing came from a bat-wielding operative who faced Piper. She blocked every swing with her staff but she could feel the blows pushing on her arms. It then came down to a test of strength as the man pushed his weight with his bat on the girl's staff, and Piper could feel herself being pushed back along the floor. With no way to counter the attack, it looked hopeless for her.
All of a sudden, Aerrow leapt in and fired a pulse from one of his blades that struck the man and stunned him, forcing him to drop his bat and stand still as the crystal energy surged throughout his body. Piper then smirked at her window of opportunity and swung her staff into the side of the man's head and sent him to the floor. She smiled at Aerrow for his help, who smiled in return.
I got nine lives, cat's eyes
Using every one of them and runnin' wild
'Cause I'm back
Four TYGER operatives were about to rush in to join their comrades when one of them suddenly shocked the other three with his stun baton. As all three men fell to the floor when their muscles convulsed from the electricity, June came up to the last one and gave him a thumbs up. The man oddly gave the Te Xuan Ze the same gesture. A few seconds later, Danny phased out of the man's body and hovered over his head. The TYGER operative stood confusedly at what just happened only to receive a punch into his face by June where he was left piled on top of his fellow operatives.
Yes, I'm back, well I'm back
Yes, I'm back
Zuko, having the most rage out of everyone in the group, came charging in and shot wave after wave of fire at his targets, sometimes as balls and other times as wide lines. From his point of view, more TYGER operatives came at him with weapons held high. His only reactions to it were a sly grin and a sweep of his leg that sent a flame trailing across the floor that struck his target's feet and made them fall while shouting in agony.
Well, I'm back, back
Well, I'm back in black
Yes, I'm back in black
Katara struck one operative by forming a block of ice and sending it into his stomach. It knocked the wind out of him and he was hit with the same block on the head where it smashed to pieces. The Waterbender gathered up the pieces and formed them back into water, but then she looked up and shouted, "Here come more of them!"
The girl's friends heard the warning and looked up to see more TYGER operatives running in to attack.
Back in the back of a Cadillac
Number one with a bullet, I'm a power pack
Yes, I am
Finn took his crossbow and struck down any operative that rushed into the room. The bolts hit with such precision that it amazed everyone in the room, even though all of Finn's friends knew him to be the best shot of them all.
"Chicka-cha!" said the sharpshooter.
In a bang with the gang
They gotta catch me if they want me to hang
The battle went well for Junko since he was able to use his vast strength to send his enemies flying with every hit he landed. The attacks were made even more potent with his Knuckle Busters. Junko eventually felt so pent up with fury from the battle that he exhaled a mighty roar that made the TYGER operatives cower before him and run away.
'Cause I'm back on the track and I'm beatin' the flack
Nobody's gonna get me on another rap
Sokka seemed alone when three TYGER operatives surrounded him, all armed with knives. He kept his wits about him so he would be ready for the first sign of an attack. The operative to his left made the first move, so Sokka quickly unsheathed his sword and blocked the slash. The remaining men joined to help their comrade, which was good news for Sokka from his viewpoint. He had the advantage of speed as all the attacks were slow. All the blows were either dodged or parried by the teenage boy until he was able to knock all three operatives away and swing his blade in a wide circle that cut deep into each man's armour.
So look at me now, I'm just makin' my play
Don't try to push your luck, just get out of my way
'Cause I'm back
Toph was fortunate enough that the concrete had enough stones in its surface to allow her Earthbending sense to see the battle. When two operatives charged at either side of her, she raised her hands to summon a tall block of concrete where she pushed them out and hit both men at the same time.
Yes, I'm back
Well, I'm back
Yes, I'm back
The battle was going well for the group: it was because they were able to fight to their true potential.
Well, I'm back, back
Well, I'm back in black
Yes, I'm back in black
Dudley dodged a swing from Mr. Hammer that came at him while he ran for his life. He and his friends were so close to placing the cure into the reservoir and having the Abramovici Twins stand in their way was another hindrance that they didn't need.
"Does anybody have a plan?" asked the dog as he jumped a horizontal swing aimed at his legs.
"Running has always worked for me!" replied Stork. A thrust came from Sickle that made him turn to his side and let the blade stick into a wall.
Kitty, on the other hand, was feeling furious about facing the two men. If she didn't implant the cure soon, then everyone in the city would be turned into monsters. The sound of a screech filled the room when Kitty slid to a stop and let her boots scrape against the floor. Dudley and Stork got behind her just as the Abramovici Twins walked up to them and lightly tapped their weapons on their shoulders.
"The cat is mine!" said Mr. Hammer. The vendetta he felt for Kitty was so strong that no one was going to stop him; not even his own brother.
"Fine with me," said Sickle. "I have unfinished business with that flea-bitten mutt."
While the men kept their gaze on the group, they didn't notice that Kitty secretly slid the cure over to Dudley. The dog saw his partner wink at him, which, as a way of knowing over their time as partners, meant she was about to do something risky. Kitty leapt into the air with great speed and got between Mr. Hammer and Sickle just as she came down. Her legs split open and she emitted a shout as her kicks landed on the sides of both men's head. The attack momentarily stunned them and forced them to stumble off to the side.
Well, I'm back, yes, I'm back
Well, I'm back, yes, I'm back
The two brothers quickly regained their bearings after the assault. Mr. Hammer was filled with even greater fury for allowing such a devious trick to be played on him, and by the same cat who humiliated him no less. He was about to take it out on Kitty when he saw Dudley holding the large container and knew that it was what his master warned him of: that someone would try to tamper with the formula.
"Get the dog!" shouted Mr. Hammer.
Sickle heard the cry from his brother and instantly set his sights only on Dudley, who shouted with fright and ran off with Stork just as the sickle came crashing down onto the floor where the dog and the Merb had previously stood.
Well, I'm back, back
Well, I'm back in black
Yes, I'm back in black
"Man, I hope the others are doing better than us!" said Dudley.
Back in the central chamber of the dam, the group had finished off almost all the TYGER operatives. Only two remained and they both looked absolutely terrified by how fast their comrades had been defeated. Their heads screamed for them to run but their legs shook so violently that they would not listen.
But then the guards pulled something out from within their uniforms and the T.U.F.F. agents gasped when they saw they were autoinjectors just like the ones that contained the Titan formula. Whether the men had them as per Azula's orders or they smuggled them into their clothes, the group didn't know, but they did know that it meant trouble for them.
The TYGER operatives instantly injected the formula into their necks and felt the transformation happen. Their muscles bulged out and ripped their uniforms while they shouted in agony, and their spines emerged from their back along with spikes made of bone popping out from their arms. Looking out from their newly-formed green eyes, the Titan men roared with anger and stomped their way over to the group.
"Now this could be a problem," said Finn.
Well, I'm back, back
Well, I'm back, back
One Titan picked up an unconscious TYGER operative easily with one hand and then flung him in the direction of the T.U.F.F. agents. Not wanting to get hit, everyone rolled out of the way to avoid the unexpected projectile.
"Doesn't he have any concern for his fellow guards?" said Katara.
"I'm guessing not!" said Sokka.
Back in black
Yes, I'm back in black
Both of the giants roared and charged the group, their feet pounding against the floor and sounding like an earthquake.
Toph raised a wall of concrete in front of the giants a few feet away from her and her friends, but the Titan men broke through it with ease. It appeared as though nothing could stop the giants from charging.
All of a sudden, one Titan stopped his charging when an electrical charge surged throughout his body. The unexpected jolt made him lose his balance while he was charging and resulted in him tripping right in front of the other Titan and forced the other to fall on top of him. Both Titans ended up in a large pile and saw stars spinning around their head. The others saw in the back Radarr holding up a stun baton that he assumed to have picked up during the fight.
"Nice job, Radarr!" said Aerrow.
The giants were about to get back up when Danny and June got in close to them and assailed them with various punches and kicks to their faces. Their increased strength from the boy's ghost powers and the girl's Te Xuan Ze status knocked the two brutes onto their backs where the couple leapt into the air and came down with their feet extended. The blow hit the giants in their faces and knocked out various teeth, also ending the battle.
Danny and June stood proudly off to the side to see their combined efforts earned them a victory. The others rushed over to their side and congratulated them for their work.
"You really did a number on those guys," Zuko complimented.
"What'd you expect?" said Danny. "I'm fighting to protect everything and everyone I love. When they're on the line, a seven nation army couldn't hold me back."
June felt esteemed by the mention of her boyfriend's words. "I feel the same about you, Danny."
"Don't celebrate just yet," said Aerrow. "We still have to worry about the demolition charges. If we can disarm them, there's no way Azula can unleash the water on the city."
And so the group set out with their next task: finding what was needed in order to prevent the dam from rupturing before Azula would have a chance.
Back outside, Azula continued with her speech to the crowd of people. Her voice carried across the forest just as it became one minute to six o'clock. "So now I ask all of you: join me in this march for the good of our city, not just for yourselves but for those who have yet to believe."
As the speech continued, Keswick finally finished with the wiring and pressed a button on the control panel, which instantly played back what was recorded on his player. A smirk crossed his face as he did so, knowing the result was about to be glorious.
Azula then said, "Now go out and—" She stopped when static filled her ears from the speakers and the monitors showed nothing but rapid images until it showed Azula once again but in a different setting.
The recording of Azula then played: "I couldn't care less about the wretches of this city!They're all weak and pathetic! If I didn't know any better, I'd swear they all crawled out of the most putrid cesspool anywhere! But when I make them swallow the Titan formula from the dam's water, they'll all be the subjects I want, in a city where I have ultimate power and only the strongest survive!"
The citizens were left shocked and appalled by what they saw and heard, but none more than Azula who was left speechless. Turning her head back to the crowd, she could see that her followers had enraged expressions on their faces. It wasn't long until they all burst into shouts of rage for having been deceived by the person they trusted.
Azula looked worried and did her best to get the situation under control. "My people, do not believe what you have witnessed. It's only a trick." But her explanation fell on deaf ears as everyone marched forward and trampled over the Arkham thugs left to control the crowd.
Azula was forced to withdraw from the stage to avoid ending up like her men. Her gaze was shifted towards the dam as she already surmised who was responsible for the interference—and it made her blood boil for having lost what she worked so hard to gain. Setting off in a quick sprint, Azula headed for the dam to confront the people who would pay.
Dudley and Stork continued their retreat away from Mr. Hammer and Sickle. No matter where they went, the two brothers always seemed to be in hot pursuit. But they dared not slow down or stop; everyone in Toon City depended on them.
The weapons from the twins crashed down again and forced the Merb and the dog to jump. Dudley suddenly lost his grip on the container and so it shifted over to Stork, who now was the primary target of the Abramovici Twins.
"Thanks a lot!" Stork said in sarcasm.
"Sorry!" Dudley willingly took the container back and ducked under the sledgehammer until he and Stork stopped before a wall.
Now the two were trapped inside a narrow space before the Abramovici Twins. The idea of being helpless with no way out caused the two T.U.F.F. agents to shake uncontrollably with fear.
"This is the end for you!" said Sickle.
"Make it easy for us and hold still!" said Mr. Hammer.
All Dudley and Stork could do was scream for their lives until there was nothing left of them. Suddenly, Kitty flew in by using her grapple gun and swung from the ceiling.
"Dudley!" shouted the cat.
Hearing the call, Dudley stopped his screaming and held the container over his head. "Kitty, go long!" He then hurled the container like throwing a football and let it spiral over the twin's heads.
Kitty caught the container in her free hand and hit both feet against the wall. She used her momentum to push back against it and headed for the pool. But Sickle already intercepted her by jumping and swinging his weapon to sever the cable that connected the cat to her grapple gun. Kitty shouted as she plummeted to the floor and let the container out of her grasp.
A loud thud sounded when Kitty landed on her back. She soon got up and hoped that she hadn't broken anything, but she gasped when she saw the container about to fall to the floor. "The cure!" she shouted.
Sickle was about to attack the cat-woman again when Dudley came up and shouted, "Hi-Gi-Gi!" and attached himself to the back of the man's head. Both the dog and the man went back and forth while Sickle tried to shake Dudley off him.
Stork went wide-eyed upon seeing everything before him; it was now up to him to save the container. He crawled underneath Mr. Hammer's legs and ran straight for the container, which was just a few feet from shattering against the floor and spilling out the cure. His heart beat against his chest faster than it ever had. So much pressure was put on him and all he wanted was for it to end, and the only way it would was to reach out and grab the falling object. Stork knew that he wasn't going to run over all the way, so he dived towards the container and spun his body around so his back faced the floor and felt as though time was slowing down in front of him. The container was just inches in front of his body. When he opened up his arms, the world around him returned to its regular speed as the container was held between his arms and he slid with his back on the floor.
Stork brought his head up and chuckled: the formula was safe in his possession.
"Way to go, Stork!" shouted Dudley, still on top of Sickle. He then let out a terrified scream when Mr. Hammer came up to attack him.
A swing from the man's sledgehammer came right at him, so Dudley instinctively leapt off Sickle's head and watched from a safe distance Mr. Hammer hitting his brother.
The attack made Sickle drop his weapon and fall to the floor with lights flashing before his eyes. It made him feel so enraged by his brother's folly that he came up and punched his sibling in the face. This caused Mr. Hammer to drop his weapon and stumble backwards, where he growled furiously and charged at his brother. The twins then exchanged blow after blow. They were so focused on their dispute that they paid no attention to anything around them.
"You stupid idiot!" shouted Sickle. "Why did you hit me?"
"It was an accident!" shouted Mr. Hammer. "I was trying to hit the dog!"
"You should've known better than to take a swing at me! Then again, you always were the weak one!"
"I'm weak? Those blows you landed felt like bug bites!"
"You won't be thinking that after I rip your head off!"
Before it escalated any further, the twins both felt a blow to the back of their heads that knocked them into each other. Dudley and Kitty leapt off the men's shoulders and spiralled upward. They came down with their fists extended and collided with the twins to knock them to the floor. The battle was over, and Dudley and Kitty stood on top of the Abramovici Twins as the victors.
"Sweet dreams," said Dudley.
Kitty looked out from where she stood and pointed. "Look!"
The dog looked with her and saw that Stork wasted no time in opening the container over the reservoir and pouring the cure into the water. As the blue liquid spilled out into the contaminated water, Dudley and Kitty rushed over to join their friend. The cure mixed with the water and turned the green into blue. Kitty reached into her jacket and pulled out the device Keswick gave her for measuring how much of the Titan formula was neutralized.
"I hope it works," Kitty said with a voice that sounded less than confident.
The device was lowered into the water with the metal rod submerged into it. Immediately the screen showed flickering numbers to calculate the percentage. All three of them waited nervously to see what the number would be and if the cure had even worked at all, though they dared not to question Keswick's work. After a few more seconds, the screen stopped flashing and showed 100%. The water in the pool then changed from the blue of the cure to the blue colour that was usually associated with water, which put smiles on the faces of the T.U.F.F. agents.
"It worked!" Dudley said happily.
"Yes!" shouted Kitty. She was so overjoyed that she embraced Dudley, and the dog also felt the same so he hugged his partner back.
"Ahem!" said Stork. "Where are my thanks? If not for me, the cure wouldn't have been poured in."
"Oh, okay," Dudley said reluctantly. He then let go of Kitty and went over to embrace Stork who only backed away and stuck out his tongue in disgust.
"Now come on!" said Kitty. "We should get back to the others."
The dog and the Merb nodded with the cat and set off for the exit to rejoin their friends and tell them what happened.
Meanwhile back in the central chamber, Aang looked up at the ceiling and noticed one TYGER operative emerge while carrying something strange in his hands. It was a small remote control that had a blinking red light, much like the same one all the demolition charges had. The Avatar only took a few seconds to realize that that was the detonator for the charges.
Aang used his Airbending to propel himself from his feet onto the balcony. The sounds of metal clanking caught the TYGER operative's attention and he turned around only to be blasted with a strong gust of air from Aang's palm that sent him into the railing where he hit it hard and slumped to the floor. But Aang then gasped when the detonator slipped out of the man's grasp and fell off the balcony to the ground floor. A sense of panic soon rose within the boy, for one small hit against the device would detonate all the charges and destroy the dam along with him and his friends.
"Oh no!" shouted Aang.
The Avatar ran and tried to reach the remote only to have it slip out from his fingers. The others all saw it happening and Piper was the first one to respond. She ran out with both arms held high over her head to grab the device. Everyone else already figured out what the remote was for and they all stood gasping with fright, afraid of what was going to happen in those few seconds.
Piper was almost there and stretched out her hands. The device bounced off her right palm and settled into her left where it remained still. The chamber was filled with sighs of relief when they saw that nothing bad had happened.
The female Storm Hawk looked at the device just as the others on the ground floor walked over and Aang leapt off the balcony. Upon studying the device for a few seconds, Piper pressed the button next to the one that was flashing, and instantly all the lights on the demolition charges had stopped flashing.
"So, have we won?" asked Junko.
"I think so," replied Aerrow. "We just have to hear back from the others."
No sooner had the Sky Knight said those words when Dudley, Kitty and Stork walked out to join them. The smiles plastered on their faces put a sense of hopefulness in the others, and the feeling that an explanation of their progress was confirmed.
"The cure worked!" said Kitty. "Now no one will ever be transformed into those Titans ever again."
"Don't forget to tell them that we also ran into the freaky one-armed guys," said Stork.
"Yeah, but we totally kicked their butts," said Dudley.
"Great work, guys," said Aerrow. "We've just finished disarming the charges, so now they won't blow up."
"I hope Mayor Quimby managed to get everyone under control," said Piper.
"Let's go find out," said Katara.
But before the group was able to take a step to the exit, a blue flame was shot near the floor that made everyone jump back in defense. There they saw Azula coming from the entrance breathing with fury through her clenched teeth. Judging from her look, the T.U.F.F. agents assumed that she was less than pleased with what they did to her, but that was what they expected.
"You arrogant worms!" shouted Azula. "You've ruined everything! All the work I've put into controlling this city is gone! I wanted nothing more than to establish my reign; to establish a city where I could put my ideals to good use! That was to be my raison d'être! But you couldn't let me have it, could you?"
"Of course not, Azula!" said Aerrow. "You threatened our very existence and our right to live our lives the way we see fit!"
"We fought for what's right for us and for the innocent!" said Kitty.
"No one can have total control over any person, no matter how hard they try," said Danny, "because there will always be someone to stand in their way!"
"There's no way anyone can dissolve the power of freedom!" said Aang.
"Face it, Azula; you've lost!" said Zuko. "The formula has been neutralized, we have control over the charges, and every civilian has turned against you. Now you will pay for the crimes you've committed."
Azula shifted her eyes around while still seething with rage. What her brother said was right; she had lost everything, and despite her Firebending skills, there was no way she could battle against this many opponents. But there was still one way that she could turn around the outcome.
"Fine," said Azula. "But I'm not going down like this. If I can't rule over this city, nobody can! See you all in Hell!"
Azula shifted her body to face the nearest demolition charge and quickly gathered her prowess to concentrate on creating lightning. The others all gasped at the sight. The charges may have been disarmed but they still had the potential to explode if struck by a powerful force. Even though the formula had been neutralized, the dam being ruptured and releasing the water would still eliminate every innocent person gathered outside.
A bolt of lightning was released from Azula's fingers that headed straight for the demolition charge, but the only one who responded to it was Zuko. He ran forward ahead of the bolt and twisted his body around to face it just as he came in front of the demolition charge. Stretching out his hands and forming them together, the Firebender caught the lightning bolt and felt it pushing back on his body to send him into the wall of the dam right next to the demolition charge. Zuko then grunted as he forced the lightning to travel across his arm and avoid his heart, down through his stomach and out his other arm.
The lightning bolt was re-directed to Azula, who stood and held up her hands in defense. Azula shouted with pain when her own attack struck her back and knocked her off her feet and onto the floor where she lied motionless while the last of the lightning faded from her body.
Zuko slumped down to the floor with his eyes closed. The others all gasped as fear gripped their minds, thinking that the worst might have happened to their friend. They rushed over to Zuko to aid him and they all knelt down to his level. Junko tried waving one of his massive hands in front of the boy's face to awaken him but to no avail. Radarr jumped onto Zuko's lap and shook him with all his might; it too was futile.
"Zuko?" Katara said worriedly. She suddenly felt tears forming from her eyes. "Zuko!" When her call went unanswered, she buried her head into her brother's chest and wept for her friend.
"This can't be happening," Aerrow said in denial.
Dudley sniffed and said, "I'm afraid so. He's… he's climbing the Stairway to Heaven!"
The others did nothing but lower their heads in remembrance of their friend for his brave and selfless act. If not for Zuko, then they, along with everyone else in Toon City, would have drowned.
All of a sudden, Radarr let out a surprised chirp when he heard a low groan. He looked up and saw Zuko lift his head and open his eyes with a smile. Radarr let out another chirp to get the others' attention and they all looked ecstatic to see a miracle take place.
Looking up at his friends, Zuko said, "Remind me never to do that again."
Cheers echoed in the chamber from all of Zuko's friends. Katara soon helped him to his feet and then embraced him, letting her tears soak into his shirt. Zuko hugged the girl back for a few seconds where they broke apart and let everyone else crowd around him.
Kitty heard a groan from the back and saw Azula begin to stir much like her brother. She walked over to where the girl laid and took out a pair of handcuffs that she immediately latched onto Azula's wrists. Azula looked up and narrowed her eyes angrily, knowing that it was useless to try and fight back since she was still in pain.
"In the name of the Turbo Undercover Fighting Force," said Kitty, "you are under arrest."
With their accomplishments having been won, the group walked out of the dam with Azula in tow. They got out to the forest just as the morning sun loomed over and spread its light and warmth across Toon City. The instant that their eyes adjusted to the brightness did they see thousands of eyes staring upon them as every citizen looked at them with expectant glances.
Mayor Quimby stood from the stage and gestured a hand over to the group saying into the microphone, "People of Toon City, I give you our saviours!"
Just like before, cheers filled the ears of the T.U.F.F. agents that came from every person in Toon City. Aerrow and all his friends smiled at seeing the mayor successfully earn back the trust of every civilian but also for being recognized for whom they were and what they did to save their home from destruction. Now, they honestly felt they had gotten the freedom they desired.
BlueTiger321: Well, now wasn't that an awesome final battle or what?
Aerrow: Yes. Yes, it was.
Kitty: And hurray for Zuko.
Zuko: Aw, it was nothing.
Azula: If only I won.
Aerrow, Kitty and Zuko: Shut up, Azula!
BlueTiger321: Anyway, folks, the story's not over yet as I still have the last part to write, so stay tuned for the grand finale. Until next time…
Aerrow, Kitty and Zuko: Read and review!