Chemical-X Crisis (Knock It Off 2)
The sirens blared loudly through the night, the lights shining like beacons in the darkness. A single form zipped through the shadows, careful not to let the light touch her small frame. She streaked from shadow to shadow, careful to avoid both the searchlights and the scientists who searched for her. She almost made it out without a fuss when one of the lights came down on her fully.
"There it is! Stop it!" She whirled on the scientist that closed I behind her, one solid punch to the jaw sending him flying straight back toward the building. 'It', just she was a piece of hamburger waiting to be sold to someone. They wanted to melt her down, well they would have to catch her first. And Powerpuff Girls didn't go down easy.
"You want a piece of me! Fine!" Buttercup screamed, flying forward in a flash of green light. She sent two more scientists flying before she saw the guards come out, carrying specially equipped pulse guns. She'd seen them used before on uncooperative subjects... that was part of the reason he tried to keep them as imperfect as possible. It was cheap, and they never questioned.
"There it is! Take it down!" The blue pulses flashed through the night, but Buttercup was quicker than they could aim for. She streaked upward into the night sky, away from the damned lab where an entire race was herded and slaughtered when they presented a problem. She closed her eyes as she flew, muttering under her breath. She would return for them eventually, when she knew how to save them.
"Girls!" The Powerpuff Girls jumped in unison when Miss Keane's sharp voice broke through their dream haze. She looked to find her glaring at them sternly, her ruler tapping the palm of one hand. "Will you please pay attention? This is the third time today I've caught you zoning out." She told them.
"We're sorry Miss Keane..." The girls replied in unison, looking down at their desk.
Miss Keane's voice and expression softened as she approached their desk, looking down at them. "I'm starting to get worried girls, you haven't been yourselves at all for the last week. I've never had to yell at you this much." The girls exchanged a meek glance, but they didn't respond to her. She really had never known them to be so secretive, ever since that incident a week ago...
"Well girls, why don't we take a recess and you can compose yourselves?" Miss Keane suggested. She stood up and looked around the classroom. "Okay children, fifteen minutes to do whatever you want. Make it count." The other kids all cheered and launched from their seats straight into seemingly prearranged games around the room. The girls decided not to join in though.
"Come on girls, talk to me." Miss Keane pleaded.
"We just haven't been feeling too good lately Miss Keane..." Blossom finally replied, forcing a small smile as she looked up at her teacher. "Really we'll be fine in a few more days..." She promised.
"Well okay... just take it easy and try to have fun. Mike and Robin have missed you Bubbles." Miss Keane said. Bubbles looked over at her two best friends in the school, both of whom were sneaking a worried glance over at her. She sighed and smiled at them. Before she could speak though the hotline rang.
Blossom streaked over to answer it. "Hello? What's the trouble Mayor?"
"Blossom, someone's making funny faces at me from across the street!" The Mayors voice came back in a high-pitched frantic tone.
Blossom sighed. "No, Mayor, we discussed this. Funny faces aren't an emergency, they can't hurt you even if they look like Harry Potter." She told him. Buttercup and Bubbles rolled their eyes.
"But it's really really scary, she has these big bug eyes and this big, big head on a little tiny body, it looks like a cockroach girls, I'm scared." The Mayor complained. Blossom sighed, putting one hand over her eyes.
"Okay okay Mayor, we're on our way." Blossom hung up and turned to the others, who already knew what was going on from listening to the conversation with their super hearing. They took off out the window and flew over Townsville to the Mayors office, breaking through the window to see him. "Okay Mayor, we need a description if we're going to find this face-making cockroach." She said.
"Oh girls. She was two feet tall, with black hair and a big big head. She was wearing a green dress with a black stripe and she had big, big green eyes, it was so scary..." He moaned. The girls stared up at him for a minute before Blossom and Bubbles looked over at Buttercup, who was looking downright pissed off with her arms crossed in front of her.
"Gee thanks a lot geezer..." She muttered under her breath.
"Don't worry Mayor, we'll find this... um... cockroach girl." Blossom shrugged at Buttercup apologetically. Buttercup ignored her, floating back out the window and down to the ground. She walked along the street aimlessly, ignoring the citizens who were going about their daily lives. Coackroach girl indeed, probably some girl in a Buttercup Halloween costume. She had enough to deal with without the Mayor being scared of her.
She whirled when she senses a slight movement in an alley not too far away. She streaked over and stood at the entrance, scanning the darkness for any sign of life. "Hello, anybody in here?" She walked into the alley, not really concerned about any attacks. She could take on anything the city had to offer.
Without warning something slammed into her face, sending her against the brick wall. It hardly ended there however. A fist kept slamming into her face until she finally broke through the wall, flying to her back on the floor a good twenty feet away. The customers of the crowded restaurant all turned to watch as Buttercup rolled back to her feet, only to be greeted by more dizzying fists sending her through the back wall.
She skidded to a stop right in front of a bank vault, shaking her head to try to regain her senses, but again she was caught and shoved up against the thick steel door. A fist harder than the steel behind her slammed into her face, embedding the back of her head into the steel door.
Finally Buttercup gained enough of her senses to grab her attackers fist and drive it into the steal. Her attacker gave a yelp of pain and pulled back for an instant, all Buttercup needed. She lunged and let loose with her own shower of blows, but they were both already ready for a fight. They tore apart the front wall with a few missed punches, ripping the tile off the floor and putting several large dents in the vault.
Finally though the surprise attack overwhelmed Buttercup, who yelped in shock when her head slammed into the marble floor in the lobby of the bank. Her eyes were hazing over as the flurry of movement ceased, but she got one good look at her attacker before she passed out. It was a mirror image of herself.
Buttercup landed lightly on the edge of the clip overlooking the ocean, past the once locked gate. She was carrying the unconscious Powerpuff Girl in her arms, looking down at her wondrously. It truly was amazing, it was almost like looking in a mirror. Her eyes were closed in restless slumber, her eyes darting around in her head behind closed lids.
She approached the edge of the cliff where the lab had once stood, where she and her brethren had been created. The entire lab had fallen into the ocean once they flamed weakened it, consigning her entire race to the depths of the ocean before she ever had a chance to save them. She looked down at the unconscious girl in her arms, for a moment having second thoughts.
They soon left however. She'd had enough of this exile, this hiding from everyone. Once the fiasco had ended, they'd destroyed all the Powerpuff Girl copies across the globe. She was sure if they found her, they would have destroyed her too. Her only choice to live happily, was to replace the one she so resembled. She could lead a happy life... the one she'd dreamed of for so long.
"I'm sorry... forgive me." She said as she held the unconscious Powerpuff over the edge of the cliff. Finally she let go, watching the small frame of the Powerpuff Girl plummet toward the water in a spiral. She watched until it slammed into the harsh waves, vanishing beneath the raging torrent in less than five seconds. She shook her head and turned away, walking away from the cliff.
Her old life was officially over, she wasn't a copy anymore. She wasn't a defective toy... she was Buttercup, a loved and cherished daughter and defender of Townsville. She would be happy.
Blossom floated down from the sky where she'd been surveying, looking as bored as Bubbles did. "Well find any cockroach girls Bubbles?" Blossom asked.
"Nope, none over there." Bubbles replied. "How about you?"
"Nothing here." Blossom replied. They both looked around for any sign of their sister, but they didn't see her anywhere. "Where did Buttercup go?" She asked curiously.
"I'm here, sorry." Buttercup streaked down toward them from the sky, landing beside Blossom with an apologetic smile. "I uh... didn't find anything either." She smiled. Blossom rolled her eyes and looked up at the Mayor's office acidly.
"Big surprise. Well I think school's over by now, so we'd might as well just head home. I think the Mayor's forgotten about his little scare earlier anyway." The girls all looked, to see the Mayor dancing to some music in his office that they couldn't hear.
"At least we got out of school early." Bubbles sighed as she floated after Blossom. Buttercup took up the rear without a word, though usually she said something about Blossom always bringing up the front. Neither of the others noticed though, they were too sick of everything to really care.
When they reached the house Blossom and Bubbles floated over to the TV, plopping down while Blossom turned it on with the remote. Buttercup followed more slowly, sitting on the edge of the couch and barely paying attention to what was on the screen. She watched the other two somewhat nervously, wringing her hands in her lap.
"Oh you're home girls." The girls turned around at the sound of the Professor's voice entering from the kitchen. "Are you okay? Miss Keane called again today and said you weren't paying attention in class."
"We're fine dad." Buttercup said quickly. The others all turned to stare at her in surprise. Buttercup looked down and smiled nervously. "Er... I mean... we're... fine enough..." She amended. The Professors eyes began to tear up as he ran over to her, pulling her into a hug.
"That's the first time you've ever called me that..." The Professor said, trying his best to squeeze the life out of her if she wasn't a superhero.
"Um... of course I... just... uh..." Buttercup sputtered in confusion. She'd been watching people all around Townsville and kids always called their parents 'dad'. She guessed she would just have to find out what was normal for this obviously abnormal family.
"Well you sit right here, I almost have lunch ready." The Professor was grinning as he set her down and headed into the kitchen, a new spring in his step from earlier before. Buttercup looked back down to see Blossom and Bubbles both staring at her blankly.
"What was that all about?" Blossom asked.
"I... was just... well I just felt bad and... um... I just wanted to... call him that." Buttercup smiled slightly. "Can't be depressed forever..." She added when she saw the looks on their faces. She wasn't completely sure what they were depressed about, but from the looks on their faces it was like they'd been depressed for weeks.
"How can you say that when hundreds of Powerpuffs died to save us?" Bubbles asked in surprise. Buttercup stared at her, her mouth hanging open in shock. That was why they were so depressed? Somehow she'd thought they wouldn't care about the others... or her. She'd underestimated them... but in a way, this made her feel better.
"Well, I don't think we should dwell on it." Buttercup told them, scooting over to put an arm around her sisters. "I think they would feel better knowing they, just once, saved the day for everyone else just like you... us!" She smiled nervously. "Just like us."
"Yeah... maybe you're right Buttercup." Blossom smiled for perhaps the first time in several weeks. Her eyes studied Buttercup very carefully. "Are you okay? You're acting kinda different, and your dress is filthy." She noticed.
"Oh..." Buttercup looked down at herself. She hadn't ever had time to wash it or had anything to change into. "I guess I tripped in the alley and didn't realize I was so dirty..." She explained quickly.
"Well come on, you should change out of those clothes. You're going to get the rest of the house dirty." Blossom floated up from the couch and headed for the stairs. Buttercup smiled and followed after her. This would take some getting used to, but it would be a pleasure.
The echoing ping of falling water droplets sounded like the beating of some giant heart in the open space of the cavern Buttercup saw when she finally opened her eyes. Her head was aching and her stomach felt like it had fifty needles sticking into it. Without a word she hunched over and opened her mouth, throwing up a bucketload of water and a few small fish.
"Yuck..." She threw the fish back behind her, listening to them hit the pool of water behind her. "Where the heck am I..." She stood up on shaking knees, looking around. The cavern was pretty big, with only one exit branching off to one side. Behind her was a pool of water, which undoubtedly had washed her up in her for some reason. "Well whatever, I need to get that imposter!" She streaked up toward the ceiling and slammed a fist into it.
A loud rumbling echoed through the cavern, giving her reason to pause. She whirled and streaked for the exit as the entire ceiling started coming down around her, coating her entire frame with dust and dirt. She reached the exit just before the cavern disappeared underneath the seemingly limitless pile of dirt and stone.
"Maybe not that way... how far down AM I anyway?" Buttercup whirled and stared down the long looking tunnel before her, a grim line setting on her lips as she started to walk away from the rubble. She'd just blocked off her entrance to the cave complex, but there had to be another way out somewhere around here. She just hoped the roof held up long enough for her to find it.
She trudged along for what seemed like an eternity. Her Supervision was the only reason she was able to see anything in the pitch-blackness of the cave corridor. Occasionally she stumbled upon a bit of phosphorescent moss in the dark, moist parts of the cave. The constant sounds of dripping water followed her the entire way, until she found her footsteps matched the sound.
She grumbled and floated the rest of the way when she realized she was doing this. Finally she looked up and saw a crack in the roof of the cavern, leading up into a larger chamber. "Finally, a way to go where I need to go... UP." She floated up through the hole to take a look around.
This chamber wasn't any brighter than the cavern below, but still she could see fine. It was very large, with machinery clearly visible behind another crumbling brick wall. She could see small things and flecks of sand scattered around the ground almost randomly in piles and clumps. Though some of it had been disturbed by the rats and mice from the tunnel.
"What the..." Buttercup floated over to one pile and picked up a bit of the stuff, examining it. It was sugar, and when she examined the rest she found it to be a rather sharp kind of spice. "Whoa..." She floated up and looked around again. Sugar, Spice, and Everything nice was scattered around the room, forming what must have been hundreds of clumps. This was what remained of Professor Dick's factory... these were the remains of the other girls.
"Just what I need..." Buttercup let the ingredients fall from her hands and floated carefully above the piles, not really eager to touch them. She stopped when she heard a soft whimpering noise from up ahead. She stared at the spot she thought it was coming from and looked through the bit of rubble with her X-Ray vision.
Her eyes widened when she saw a Powerpuff girl in a purple dress huddled behind the rubble. Her eyes were larger than normal, encompassing her entire head with her mouth only down at the bottom. Her arms were only half as long as Buttercups own, and her hair was red, but a tangled mess that weaved down her back hopelessly.
"Hey... are you okay in there?" Buttercup called out softly. The girl perked up, staring straight back at her through the rubble.
"Back... The Perfect One's back!" The girl broke through the rubble with her body and slammed into Buttercup, her stubby arms clasping her as tight as they possibly could. Buttercup stumbled under the sudden impact, but she didn't lose her footing.
"Perfect one? What are you talking about?" Buttercup demanded. She stopped when she heard at least a dozen more cries of excitement as Powerpuff Girls floated out of various places, with various body deformations and shapes. "Some of you did survive."
"We were waiting for you, you promised to come back." The one in the purple dress told her. "They were going to melt you down and take your Chemical-X, but you told us to wait for you and escaped... remember?" Buttercup stared down at her, realizing just what this meant. This 'Perfect One' must have been the puff that knocked her out and threw her down here.
"Well, I wouldn't wait too much longer." She tried to pry the purple puff off of her. "If you'll excuse me I have to get out of here and get my life back."
"Please help us." One of the other puffs floated up to her taking Buttercups hand in both of hers. "We need you." Buttercup stared at her, realizing they thought SHE was the one they were waiting for.
"Hold on a minute here, I'm no 'perfect one', I'm not the girl you were... waiting... for..." Her voice trailed off when she saw the looks on the deformed Powerpuff Girls' faces. Her eyes scanned over each one, the look of renewed hope and trust burning brightly in each of their eyes. They were depending on her now, could she shrug them off just to get her own life back?
"Okay..." Buttercup finally said. "I'll help you... there's another tunnel down below, it has to lead somewhere. We can follow it." The puffs gave a loud cheer of joy, setting the entire cave to rumbling as the noise reverberated off the walls. "SSSSHHHHH! You're going to bury us!" Buttercup hissed sharply. The puffs shut up, but they gave another whispered cheer instead.
"Come on, this way." Buttercup turned to lead them back to the opening in the bottom of the chamber. It almost felt good leading like this, she rarely had opportunities to do this. All she had to do was find a way out for all of them.
The moon shone brightly as the new member of the Utonium family stared out the window at the stars overhead dressed in her nightgown. Buttercup had been getting to know her new sisters all day, laughing and having fun for the first time in her life. She wondered if the others suspected anything, but if they did, they didn't show it. They'd had a great time after all.
"It's time for bed Buttercup." Blossom said from the bed, pushing it down so they could climb under the sheets. Before they settled down though they heard the hotline start beeping. "Aw man..." Blossom streaked over to pick up the phone. "Yes Mayor? A fisherman trapped in a landslide? We're on our way!" She slammed the phone down and turned to the others. "Come on girls, we have a fisherman to save!"
So Blossom and Bubbles got dressed in under a second and streaked out the window, leaving Buttercup staring after them. Finally she got dressed and streaked after them, following their still fresh light trails to the hill overlooking the ocean where Professor Dick's lab had once stood. The entire hill looked like it had caved inward, leaving a crater in the middle and a steep slope where much of the earth had slid into the water.
"Does anybody see him around?" Blossom asked, flying low over the crater and extending landscape. Buttercup flew low, examining the area carefully. It had looked just fine to her earlier that day. Why would it suddenly collapse like this?
She flew down to the water, staring down into it thoughtfully. She had a bad feeling something wasn't quite right. She turned to head back up to her sisters when she saw an arm sticking out of the rubble. "I found him!" She streaked down and dug the man out, carrying him back up to the more stable footing on top of the hill.
"Nice eye Buttercup." Blossom told her, looking down at the scared and frightened man. "But what on Earth happened here? Landslides like this don't just happen, it almost looked like the hill itself imploded."
"I don't know." The man replied. "One minute I was sitting on the edge of the hill minding my own business, the next the ground itself started moving and I was trapped under all the rubble. Oh it was terrible."
"Well you're safe now, so don't worry." Blossom floated up to join Bubbles and Buttercup high above the hill. "What do you guys think?"
"I think it's bed time..." Bubbles yawned.
"Yeah..." Buttercup agreed softly. "I think we should get some sleep and forget about it, probably just a small Earthquake or something..." She said, though she was hardly convinced of that herself.
"I guess you're right. There's not much we can do right now anyway. If anything else happens we can worry, but this time everyone's safe." Blossom agreed. "Well come on girls, let's get back home." Her and Bubbles turned to streak back home, but Buttercup stuck around for a few moments.
"Did I really have a right to replace you..." She mumbled, staring down at the water where she'd thrown the original Buttercup mere hours before. Finally she turned to follow her new sisters, a single doubt nagging at the back of her mind.
"One, Two, Three, Four, keep moving girls we're at a good pace, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four." Buttercup called back to the line of Powerpuff Girls as they jogged at a decent speed through the caves. It turned out several of the girls couldn't fly, and none of them could maneuver as well as Buttercup herself could. So they were forced to jog/march, which took a lot longer to get them anywhere.
"AAAHHH!" One of the girls in the back of the line gave a high-pitched scream of terror. Buttercup whirled in time to see a dark gray form tackle a puff in a yellow dress, pinning her to the ground with one massive claw while her arms struggles to hold its jaws back. It looked like a rat, but it was three feet tall and its limbs were four times longer than they should have been in relation to its body.
Buttercup streaked through the crowd of stunned girls until she could slam a fist into its face, sending it hurtling back against the wall. To her shock it landed with its feet against the wall, lunging back without missing a beat. She barely dodged its return strike, moving back toward the other wall with it slowly stalking her, its claws lashing out.
Finally she lunged forward and hit it in the face again, dodging its return blow by whirling, lashing out with one foot. The kick connected, but again it rebounded easily and lunged, biting into her arm.
"Agh! Get off of me!" Buttercup yelled, whirling with it still attached to her arm. She slammed its body full force into the wall, dislodging its vice-like grip. She looked in shock to find herself bleeding, which she had never done before. "What the...?"
The creature growled and lashed out with its tail. Buttercup flattened herself down, barely avoiding the horizontal whip as it sliced through the far wall like a razor. Buttercup floated up again, watching as the creature lashed out with its tail. She whirled with the tail, grabbing the blade firmly between her mitts and yanked it around, bringing the entire creature around.
"Now stay down Fido!" She spun it around and slammed it into the wall, whirling one more time before she sent herself careening into the creature head, burying it deep in the earth that made up the wall. She hovered back and landed, her knees shaking slightly as she cradled her injured arm. Her hands were now bleeding from gripping the blade, but otherwise she was just tired.
She turned to look down at the yellow puff. "Are you okay?" She asked.
"Yeah, I think so..." The Powerpuff Girl replied, pushing herself up to her feet.
"Good... now what the HECK was that thing!?" She demanded loudly, her voice echoing through the caves, demanding an answer from somebody. The other girls just watched her wondrously as she turned to stare at the creature. It looked like a rat, but it was mutated almost beyond recognition...
She stopped and turned back to the girls. "What happened to the Chemical-X?" She asked quickly.
"What do you mean?" The purple dressed puff asked.
"When the other girls were converted to their base components, it should have been Sugar, Spice, Everything Nice, and Chemical-X, but there was no Chemical-X! Where was it?" She asked again.
"Oh the liquid... it drained down into the tunnels while the other ingredients stayed where they were." The purple puff replied. "Why?"
Buttercup slowly turned to look down at the creature in horror. It drank the Chemical-X, and there was no way it was the only one. The Chemical-X of hundreds of Powerpuff Girls drained down here... the entire cave complex must be full of Chemical-X mutations by now. If even a small number of them found their way out to Townsville...
"We have to get out of here... as fast as we can." She said, grabbing the purple puffs hand. "Form a chain, we're going to be running top speed and we don't want anyone tripping. Just follow me." She waited only until they were all linked together before she took off down the tunnel, slowly speeding up. Only a few of the others were able to keep pace, otherwise she was hauling the entire chain behind her. It didn't matter, they just had to get out of there, and soon.
Buttercup lay in bed sullenly, staring at Bubbles beside her. She was still awake, hugging her little octopus doll to her chest with her eyes closed. Buttercup bit her lip and stared at the little doll, wishing she knew what it was called...
"Bubbles, can I see that for a minute?" Buttercup asked. Bubbles looked over at her in surprise, then down at her toy.
"Octi? Um... well sure..." She handed over the stuffed toy.
"Octi huh..." Buttercup commented, putting the doll on her chest and playing with the little legs. She was silent for a few minutes before she spoke again. "I think I did something bad today..." She confessed.
"What do you mean?" Bubbles asked.
"Forget it..." Buttercup added softly, picking up the doll and handing it to her. "Go ahead and go to sleep..." She said, sighing and laying back on her pillow. Bubbles looked down at Octi thoughtfully.
"Well if you do something bad you should tell someone, then that would make you a good girl again." Bubbles smiled over at Buttercup. "We learned that when Blossom stole the golf clubs, remember?" She asked. Buttercup didn't look at her staring at the ceiling as she replied.
"No... I don't..." She whispered. Bubbles stared at her curiously. "Goodnight Bubbles..." Buttercup turned away from her, pulling the blanket tightly up around her shoulders. She waited until she felt Bubbles roll over the other way, her breathing falling back into its regular pattern.
She didn't know what to do. She'd thought if she took Buttercup's place she could become Buttercup... but she still felt like an outsider. Was that what she would always be, no matter what she did?
The light trail behind the string of puffs was white there were so many colors inside of it. Buttercup brought up the front, hauling the others behind her like a kite as she weaved through passages and down corridors. She'd narrowly managed to avoid more rats, and even a few mutant bats that hung on the roofs of some of the larger caverns. Thankfully none could match their speed so far, so it looked like they would be relatively safe. Now if only they could find an exit.
"Buttercup! Can we rest for a minute! Our arms are getting tired!" The purple puff right behind her yelled up to her. She looked back at the string, noticing a few hands only loosely clasped. She nodded and slowed down, finally coming to a stop and letting the chain separate. She left the group and walked forward a few yards, examining their surroundings for any signs of creatures.
"How long do you think before we get out of here?" The purple puff asked. Buttercup looked at hr appraisingly. Finally she sighed and looked out into the cave.
"I have no idea, I'm just running and hoping to stumble into an exit... there has to be one somewhere." She looked up at the ceiling. "You know, these caves are so long... they must run under the entire city of Townsville. If only we could just burst out the top, but we could very well bury ourselves down here."
"We'll find one..." The purple puff replied confidently. She walked down the cavern a bit farther, heading into one of the larger chambers. She stopped just inside, her eyes going wide.
"Hey, be careful. Things live in those kinds of caverns." Buttercup hurried after her. She however stopped alongside her when she saw what was in there. A single tree was in the dead center, easily as tall as a cathedral with branched thick with leaves so large they could have made boats for the girls. Perched on one branch of the tree was a group of Butterflies, each the size of a dog, their wings so intricately designed that she couldn't even see the gossamer fibers they were made of. They were illuminated by phosphorescent moss that was gathered around the trunk, Chemical-X enhanced so that it was almost as bright as a light bulb.
"Wow..." The purple puff muttered. Buttercup looked up at the extremely high ceiling, hoping it would be high enough for them to busy out of, but there was a beehive sticking to the top of the cave. If she broke through the ceiling they would follow, and they would get to Townsville. So close and yet so far...
Still, the sight of the Butterflies somehow lifted Buttercups spirits. It was good to know Chemical-X wasn't just good for making monsters of mass destruction... it could also make something like that. "Go get the others, we can rest here for a little while..." she said, suddenly feeling the pains of the days exertions haunting her. There was no way to tell time down here, but her eyes were trying to glue themselves shut now that there wasn't so much adrenaline pumping through her. They could rest awhile, then move on in what would be their morning.