OFF: Not much in the way of comments yet, I see... Well, that's okay. For the one who left that guest review, I'm glad you found it interesting and I hope you will find this chapter interesting as well!

Thus, here it is! The first chapter of the past era story arc. I hope that you will all find this to have been worth the wait.

The Day that was Saved

Prologue ~ Birth

Sugar. Spice. And everything nice. An old poem spoke of what little boys and little girls are made of and gave this recipe for girls. A nice, inoffensive poem. Of course, scientifically speaking, little girls, like any other creature, are made of flesh and bone. But then, poems will be poems. Beauty of the words needs not match the rigors of cold reality.

It is biting irony that this formula ended up being what could stabilize chemical X and neutralize the strange hivemind it enforced upon all those infused with it.

"Synchronization: 10%" read the screen as he poured the sugar.

They had tried so many substances. After access was lost to all of the old sources and he was reduced to scavenging, he discovered that those simple ingredients were suitable. How they managed to counter the effects of chemical X, he had no idea. It made little sense. The substances, when mixed individually in normal circumstances, did nothing to it. Yet, when mixed with chemical X in a specific manner, it worked. It was nothing short of magic.

"Synchronization at 37%" read the screen as he poured the spice.

Tests on humans and animals were a disaster. Even without the hivemind effect, chemical X infusions completely ruined the minds of the affected creatures. Mojo Jojo was a testament to this. The mutation had been gruesome, true, but comparatively tame compared to what chemical X usually did. His mind had seemed stable... for all of a few days before degeneration kicked in.

A result that was unfortunately consistent, as he transmitted the formula to all those he could, only for them to reveal that it failed them as it failed him.

"Synchronization at 66%" read the screen as he added everything nice.

Brain scans clearly indicated that chemical X did strange things to biological systems. Neural pathways were created, expanded, modified. Molecular structure changed. New organs appeared, and old ones vanished. Chemical X could even affect inanimate objects, though why it did that and under what circumstances was unknown. It seemed completely arbitrary and random.

The effects on inanimate matter were also odd. It effectively turned inanimate matter into life-forms, growing organs, turning the surface of the object into a skin mesh of sorts, and all other kinds of strange effects. Again, it was nothing short of magic. Of course, like all Chemical X-created life-forms, beings born this way were part of the hivemind and thus, insane.

"Synchronization completed" read the screen. He pulled the lever and the centrifuge activated. With the chemical X having fully merged with the formula, it was sucked in. Three infusions were created, sloshing around the glass spheres as they spun inside the massive machine. The injectors activated.

There would be no second chance. The bunker had run out of power and his supplies almost gone. The mutants were moving in and ammunition was thinly spread amongst even scarcer survivors.. If his theory was wrong, he would most likely die.

The black liquid flowed through the three sets of tubes. The three dolls were laid down upon a table, the injectors' needles piercing their plastic shells. He wished he could use robots, but he did not have the tools, the materials, or the time to craft one.

The dolls would have to do.

Professor Utonium stared at the mixed chemical X as it flowed through the tubes and finally, was injected into the dolls. He was suddenly very much aware that this may be the last few minutes of his life...

"Warning. Synchronization at 100%." What? What? Why did the synchronization in the mix suddenly climb? This was bad, this was very bad! He reached for the emergency abort system. He almost made it.

There was a blinding flash of light and suddenly, up was down, right was left, and the entire world spun. Then a second later, he slammed into the floor and a mix of exhaustion and dizziness made him close his eyes...

A pair of eyes fluttered open. With the blur of color came an urgent need for air. She opened her mouth, taking the first lungful of oxygen in her life. Beside her, she heard two others take their own first breaths.

As her vision began to clear, a strange creature stood before her, tall and of a pink-beige and white color. The creature stared at her with its two eyes, tilting its head.

Curiosity gripped her. What was that strange creature? Who was it? Where is this?

"Hi?" she called, calling in the first word that came to her. More thoughts swirled, very quickly. She felt her curiosity grow, slowly overcoming the fear she did not know had paralysed her. "What's your name?"

"Ah Professor, you may call me professor Utonium!" the creature answered, its mouth curving upward. Was it happy? Its tone was soft, slightly shaking. The disbelief slowly drained from its voice tone. "What about you?"

Who was she? In fact, she don't know who she was. Or what she was. She looked at herself. Rounded hands greeted her, a tiny figure not unlike the taller one but pink-beige from head to toes instead of just the head. She looked back to the professor, blinking a few times.

"Oh, silly me! You don't have a name yet." The professor stood back, looking her and the others by her side over. "Well, because of your directness and opening right up to me, I believe I'll name you Blossom."

A giggle came from the being on her right. Its shivering seemed to have stopped and it now stood, as she did.

"Aren't you cute and bubbly! Well, in that case, you will be named... Bubbles!"

To her left, the third figure was looking at the professor with an open mouth, staring at him intently, the way its mouth curved looking not unlike the professor's. Its shivering had also vanished as it seemed to be waiting for something.

"And you will be... Buttercup! Since that also begins with a B."

The figure's grin reversed. A sigh and it crossed its arms, now looking at them. The professor remained gentle. He adjusted the strange things that surrounded them, putting strange metal things on their skin that tickled. He then approached another weird machine, seemingly broken, and smacked it a few times with his fist. It sparkled to life and displayed strange pictures to him. This seemed to please him.

"All readings normal. No trace of desynchronization. No signs of mutation in progress... you truly are three perfect little girls..."

He smiled softly, looking at the three. There was hope now.

The professor looked over his notes. The girls had manifested power the very day they were born, helping him out after he had tripped in his excitement over their successful birth. They had obvious super strength, far more than organics infused with as much chemical X as them should ve had, alongside with super speed and what was likely greatly enhanced intellect. They were merely a few days old and yet, they already acted like girls at least four to five years old.

The speed at which they learnt was nothing short of spectacular or maybe disturbing. They absorbed knowledge like sponges, memorizing what had to be months of learning in minutes. He was no expert but it struck him as sudden how quickly the girls learnt how to read and count. The fact that they were born knowing english was already quite impressive. Hopefully, it wasn't a sign that they would degenerate.

To say that they had brightened his days was an understatement. And despite his worries of degeneration, the way their bodies worked made him think more and more, as days passed, that they would not do so.

Okay, so basing his conclusions off a mere few days was technically bad science but given how crunched for time he was and how hope was in such short supplies up until recently? Who would blame him for actually hoping that he might live to see tomorrow?

Nonetheless, they breathed, they ate, they slept, they played, they drew, they did everything a little girl might do. Well, little girls didn t fly but that was a given since chemical X was involved. Still, they were alive.

And thus came the time for the test by fire. A few days of life might not be much and he didn't have the equipment to really analyze their bodies more -not without hurting them- but he had all the data that he was going to get for now. It was time to retake the countryside, for humanity.

He considered telling the girls about the real reason they were created for... but no, not yet. The time was not right for this.

Given the incredible speed at which the girls learned, he hoped that those who followed would learn just as quickly...

In the year 2008, twenty years after the Impact and twelve years after humanity lost the war for the surface, a man known as Professor Utonium made a breakthrough. Humanity was driven underground after all of their weapons failed to slow down the onslaught of chemical X-born mutants. Scientists created many weapons using chemical X to try and counter the mutants, including chemical weapons such as antidote X and supersoldier programs.

Most of those programs ended in failure, with the few that did not producing insufficient results. Antidote X for example, though viable, was not an effective way to combat mutants, requiring large quantities to affect the more powerful mutants and only disabling their abilities for a maximum of eight hours.

The supersoldier programs were catastrophic failures. Every single life-form infused with chemical X was consumed by madness or worse yet, became integrated into the hivemind that seemed to govern every X-mutant. Humans or animals, it did not matter. Attempts to counter the effects of chemical X with other ingredients removed the hivemind effect but not madness. All those programs succeeded with was in producing more foes for humanity.

Having lost the fight for the surface, humanity survived by hiding in any shelters they could find. Subway networks, abandoned bunkers, hardened structures, basements of buildings in the countryside, anything humanity could find. An attempt at producing new infrastructure underground was made but without easy access to the sun, humanity was forced to rely largely on scavenging. This, mixed with constant mutant raids and further damage upon humanity s already depleted assets by kaiju rampages, caused humanity to continue its decline.

The trend finally came to an end as the first Powerpuff Girls were created in the year 2008.

Though the established safe zone was small at first, a small expedition group was created to colonize the safe zone and prepare the way for humanity moving back to the surface. Since everyone was quite skeptical especially given what had happened with the old supersoldier programs, I volunteered alongside many of the underground s most respected figures to take part in this expedition.

One of the key members of the expedition were Miss Keane, one of our best all-range teachers. She moved out to a relatively intact kindergarten school building in the suburbs, intending to prove that the safe zone was truly what it was advertised to be by showing that children could be raised safely on the surface.

Likewise, I moved out to act as a liaison between those who remained underground and the expedition.

This move, though very bold, was necessary. Over ten years of life underground had seen us use up most of the easily recoverable resources in the city ruins and with all the time that passed, all perishable foodstuffs were now inedible. To ensure the survival of our species, moving to the surface was an inevitable move.

It was in this context that I first met Blossom Utonium, Bubbles Utonium, and Buttercup Utonium. It was also then that my path would cross with the infamous Mojo Jojo for the first time.

-from Sara Bellum s self-biography

"Wake up girls! It's time for school!"

Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup opened their eyes to see the professor standing by the door, smiling at them. Buttercup, in particular, was tempted to yawn since it was quite early but then, curiosity trumped her other feelings at the moment. Speaking of curiosity...

"What's school?" Blossom asked.

"You'll see. I'll show you." He had already brought them their dresses.

The morning routine went swiftly and, actually, a bit faster than the last few times. The girls were little bundles of energy, moving all the time, seemingly in awe of every single thing around them. For them, this was quite normal; their young minds were constantly absorbing every new bit of info around them. Still, despite physically resembling little girls, if one excluded their mutations, they easily ate as much as adults did. The professor theorized it might have to do with the greater rate at which their bodies worked.

It took a few days for him to teach them to slow down a bit, both for his sake and the sake of the house. After discovering peanut butter sandwiches, they had covered most of the kitchen in the stuff while making their own.

But apart from the sheer speed at which they learnt and developed, they were frankly refreshingly normal. They d shown none of the disturbing aspects that past supersoldier programs had given. Even Mojo Jojo had given -in retrospect- extremely obvious signs of sociopathy a few days after his infusion. By contrast, the three girls seemed perfectly healthy in both body and mind.

Today would be an important part of this project.

The girls were obviously stable and he had set up the scene. They didn t know it yet but, for the past two nights while they d slept, he had created two more sets of girls. The mutants that had been patrolling the surface near his laboratory and the immediate suburbian area were quickly removed.

Of course, cleaning up the ruins of the city that had once existed was, for now, a pipe dream. But this would come later.

Now he need to know if his creations could live in harmony with humanity and the best test subjects for this were his girls. Besides, given their personality and development, it was right for them to be that way. No one's life should be spent only fighting. If this wentwell... he would introduce the others to the world and enroll them in school as well.

Before long, they were outside. Since this was a special occasion, he decided to lead them to their destination by car. He had plenty of fuel on hand; he had conserved a rather large quantity for various purposes in the last few years, making sure it wouldn t lose its potency. As he drove, the girls looked through the windows.

"It's so pretty..." Bubbles smiled widely as she looked at the grass, the skies, and the clouds.

"You said the surface was dangerous. What changed that we can go to school, wherever that may be?" Buttercup asked.

The professor remained silent. Hopefully, he would be able to answer this question if everything goes well. For now, he gave them a gentle smile.

The school building was beautiful. While the X-mutants had indeed rampaged all over the surface for years, it took a bit of time for structures to fall into disrepair and for the walls to crumble. So when the call had came that the surface was safe again, it hadn't taken long for the school to be re-opened. The interior had to be cleaned up and the outside could use new paint but unlike many of the buildings beyond the suburbs, it had been left alone by the monsters as a whole.

Even as he led his girls -effectively his daughters- to school, he couldn't help but smile as he heard the voices of children coming from inside. He had been a child himself when chemical X had come to the world but he had been just old enough to hold memories of how the world used to be. To see a fragment of that time returning made him smile.

It just made him happy to know that after years of fear and despair, humanity might finally be able to live again instead of just surviving...

A pale, young adult woman greeted them as they entered the school building. Already, the many children that would attend the teacher's class were chatting and playing with each other in the classroom. For a moment, the professor found himself looking at a scene that was akin to the pre-Impact world.

It also occurred to him that Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup had obvious differences from normal humans. Yet, as the teacher lowered herself and smiled to the three girls, there was no trace of fear or disgust.

"This is school. I'm your teacher, miss Keane, and this is where kids go to learn!"

The three looked to the other children, smiling. Worry begun to well into his heart. On one hand, this was necessary and he wanted this to happen. On another hand, he knew that there was just so many ways it could go wrong.

Speaking of what could go wrong...

"Hey, you wanna play?" One of the human children had noticed his girls and had walked up to them. His girls looked at their new teacher. She nodded approvingly, causing them to smile very widely. Before long, they ran to join the other children while miss Keane stood up.

"Do you think they'll be okay, because I'm new at this parenting thing so I came here to come and meet you and see them off on their first day because they're really special. I mean, special. And I just wanted to make sure they'll be okay. So, what do you think? Do you think they'll be... okay?"

His nervousness had to be painfully obvious because the teacher smiled widely at him. "They'll be just fine, professor. See you at noon!"

The day had started out so nicely. It was absurd how quickly a day could go sour.

The professor returned as scheduled only to find the classroom in disarray. For a moment, a nameless fear gripped him and he suspected that, somehow, his little girls might ve been the source of the devastation only for miss Keane to dismiss his fears.

That's what happens when you put twenty or more little kids in one room, she said. And before long, she led him to the courtyard to look over the playing children.

"Your girls were perfect; perfect, normal well-behaved little girls."

"Nothing out of the ordinary?" He had to make sure.

"No, like what?" For a moment, she seemed quite confused but as she followed his gaze, the teacher guessed why he was asking this question. "You don't have to be insecure about their mutations."

Seeing his expression shift, she guessed it was indeed this. "I've been a teacher in the underground before your project made it safe for us to move back to the surface and I've had to deal with children with chemical X contamination before. There's absolutely no problem with them having big eyes and differently shaped hands. They aren't the only ones with mutations after all."

She motioned to the kids playing together. "See? No one made a big deal about it. Everything's fine."

It was relieving and kind of liberating, in a way. Every day that passed had the girls acting normal, outside of their superpowers. None of the freaky mutations, none of the freak-outs he had expected. They were stable, mentally and physically. This made him happier than he would dare to admit casually. Not just because it meant that they wouldn't go on a rampage akin to how Mojo Jojo did but also because there might be hope that they could have a life of their own.

With everything being fine, he considered leaving. But then, seeing his girls being so happy like this? He decided to stay for a while longer.

Apparently, the children had decided to start playing tag. He stood there as his girls decided to participate.

... huh?

Buttercup sped up a bit as she ran after her sisters. In turn, Blossom and Bubbles sped up as well. This caused the green-eyed girl to speed up further. Which in turn caused her sisters to... oh. Oh no.

Before long, colored lightning shot out of their bodies and they became blurs, creating a shockwave as they sped right past the sound barrier that knocked nearby kids down and shattered the school building's windows. As Buttercup hit Bubbles, tagging her, he saw the impact knock her all the way into and through the school's wall. His eyes slowly widened with horror as he understood what was happening. His horror grew further as he noticed everyone else's expression as well.

Bubbles smashed her way out of the school and landed back into the courtyard hard enough to create a crater where she landed, sending bits of asphalt everywhere. Her sisters had dodged quickly to the side, tearing through the fence. Then the three took off, tearing their way straight through nearby houses, knocking down trees and shattering every window with the supersonic boom of their passing.

Everyone just stood in abject horror, paralysed by shock. It took all of his mental strength to get a hold of himself and to excuse himself before anyone got funny ideas...

As he ran back to his car as fast as he could, he reached for his phone and dialed back home. As he heard the click showing that his call had been answered, he spoke urgently.

"Belle, Bulle, Rebelle. I need you to deploy right now."

The laughter of small girls was usually something that brought joy to those who heard it. Right now, in Townsville, it meant death and destruction. Multicolored blurs tore their way through the streets, shattering every single window and knocking down everyone with the shockwaves of their movements. The sheer inertia and momentum created horrific gusts of wind that sent cars flying and tore stop signs from the walkways, turning them into dangerous projectiles. Pieces of broken pavement flew like bullets, further damaging the already ruined walls of nearby structures.

Screams of terror and horror were heard as people ran for the relative safety of the brick walls.

The professor had been insistent that they catch Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup before they dealt irreparable damage to the city. Decades of lack of maintenance and constant mutant attacks had already damaged much of it and if the girls were left to rampage unchecked, it would make it impossible to restore the ruins.

Belle would not have been able to believe it if she hadn't seen it with her own two eyes. Her older sisters, despite being smaller than almost all of the mutants they had destroyed in the last few days, were doing as much damage as kaijus. It was almost unbelievable. It was clear that they were needed here.

"Bulle, go for Bubbles. Rebelle, catch Buttercup. I'm going for Blossom."

"Who named you the leader? I say-"

"City being destroyed! Move!" She didn't have the time to argue with Rebelle right now.

"Belle, where do we go? I don't-" Bulle was in the middle of asking when a question when she gasped and flew straight to the side. Her sisters followed her, narrowly avoiding the massive trail of debris that came tumbling through the street, including a couple of cars.

Peeking out from outside a broken window, Bulle cringed, scratching the back of her head. "Guess that answers my question..."

"Follow the debris trail!", Belle pointed before shooting off, followed by her sisters.

Explosions, the streets shaking as massive amounts of destruction was inflicted upon the city, cars and bodies being hurled through the air by the shockwaves and winds... It was a fine mess. Following behind the trio was professor Utonium and to say that he was horrified was an understatement. What had started as a little game of tag had become something just as destructive as any kaiju attack. Worse yet, he realized that none of his girls understood the concept of collateral damage at all.

Belle, Bulle, and Rebelle were doing just as much damage as they pursued their older sisters.

He cringed as Bulle slammed violently into a gigantic metallic globe at the top of one of the old skyscrapers, using it to readjust her trajectory and catch up with Bubbles, an act which tore the globe off its support and sent it tumbling into the streets. Screams of terror echoed as people fled the house-sized metallic bowling ball that rolled its way down the streets.

Worse yet, he cringed as he saw that the girls were heading straight for the old city hall. Sara Bellum had moved into it to supervise the surface side expedition and if the girls destroyed it...

He could clearly see Belle, Bulle, and Rebelle catching up to their older sisters. But while he desperately hoped for them to get to them before impact, it was easy for him to do a quick calculation and realize that they were going to hit the hall before the others caught up. He really, really, really hoped this could be prevented. But he knew it wouldn't be the case.

He found himself hoping for a miracle, any kind of miracle.

Six colored trails smashed into the city hall. The impact was brutal, tearing down an entire wall and sending debris that dented and damaged the walls of every nearby structure, finishing off whatever few windows remained. Constant giggling and laughter came from the crater where the six trails had ended. The Professor's car came to a halt nearby and he wasted no time in getting out, looking over the rim of the crater.

Belle, Bulle, and Rebelle were restraining their counterparts, pinning them down.

"Hey, that girl looks just like you, Bubbles!" said Blossom, in-between giggling fits.

"Yeah! And that one looks just like me!" Buttercup, like her sisters, seemed just so amused by the entire situation.

The Professor gritted his teeth, looking over the scene. As he did so, he looked through the hole that his girls had just created in the wall... and noticed a feminine figure clad entirely in red, carrying a notepad. One that looked perfectly relaxed and yet, that he knew wasn't so internally.

Sara Bellum, the mayor's secretary.

"Professor Utonium I presume."

And at this moment, everything, absolutely everything came crashing down. The laughter of his daughters was a small, almost inaudible background sound effect as the secretary s words cut through like a knife. Despite how dangerous Earth was nowadays, despite the mutants and kaijus, Sara Bellum suddenly became the most terrifying thing he had ever seen.

"Y-yes?" He couldn t keep his dread out of his voice, despite his best efforts.

"If you would be so kind, please wait here. We would like to ask you some questions. And I expect you to be extremely comprehensive in your answers."

As much as he wanted to kid himself and say that he wondered what she was talking about, the desolation that was behind him spoke for itself. Even as he followed her directions and entered the structure, making his way toward the room that acted as her office, he realized what it all meant.

He had sunk all of his hope into the girls. Given how short he was on hope, he had deliberately thrown away his reason and chosen to go all-in with this project because, simply put, he didn t have a choice. But now, reality asserted itself in the most brutal way possible.

As he sat down in Sara Bellum s office, the secretary taking her seat and turning on the monitor in her room, the sense of deja-vu became too much for him to ignore. He, unfortunately, knew how this will end.

Professor! The voice of the mayor, not to mention his image on the monitor, seemed none too pleased. So you re the one who unleashed another of those horrible monsters! All I was trying to do was enjoy a pickle when suddenly everything started shaking and boulders were smashing up my office! Do you realize how difficult it is to grow pickles nowadays? I waited a long time for the new farm to be completed and the harvest was poor! And now you unleash another of your freaks, smashing up the place and getting in the way of-

Let it go, mayor. Let it go. Sara sounded soothing but he knew from experience that this was only because her own complaints were going to be even harsher. Are we correct in assuming that you are the creator of the large eyed mutants who just damaged a significant portion of the north surface ruins?

He weakly nodded, saying yes. Noticing the mayor fuming on the monitor, he cleared his throat and answered clearly. It did nothing to calm him.

Oh just great! I thought we were over this, mister Utonium! I know I m not the brightest bulb around but even I would know better than to try and create more mutants after what happened with Mojo Jojo!

A barb that made him flinch. The new formula was designed to fully counter the effects of chemical X and the new process-

The mayor lifted a hand. Utonium fell silent and then, after a short moment, the mayor explained.

Look, take this pickle, for example. The mayor took out a pickle and shown it on-screen, causing Sara Bellum to sigh.

Sir, this a serious situation.

Yes, exactly! This is a serious pickle! the mayor said, not missing a beat. See, pickles are good. Hot chocolate gives food a sweet taste. But if I plunge this pickle, or any pickle, into hot chocolate, it will go bad. Doesn t matter what the brand the hot chocolate is, how good it is, or how good the pickle is too, it will go bad. Do you understand me, mister Utonium?

The Professor nodded silently. The mayor carried on.

Look, you re never going to create a stable superpowered being by plunging it into chemical X. OId people in lab coats, young people in lab coats, and even the snot-nosed kid down the fifth metro line all told me that it can t be done. Hell, this whole mess started because things got doused with that nasty stuff. It didn t work then, and it s not gonna work now. One would think that someone as smart as you would get that. I mean, even I can get that!

He just didn t know what to say at this point. He just

We are very disappointed, Professor. said Sara. When you said that you found a way to secure the surface, that wasn t what we had in mind. As such, we will be forced to take drastic measures.

His heart skipped a beat, his entire body freezing for a second. B-but they are little children. They didn t know! They-

Mojo Jojo was just a chimp. Sara Bellum did not need to change her tone for her words to cut him harshly enough to stop him mid-sentence. You assured us that he was stable, that your formula would allow him to retain his sanity, that it was just his chimp instincts acting up whenever he caused damage. You told us, repeatedly, that your creation would not turn out like every other creature ever to be infused with chemical X. That you had made a great breakthrough.

But everyone knew how he had turned out. Jojo, his lab monkey, was the subject of the prototype version of the formula that created the girls, years ago. He quickly degenerated, not merely growing violent but outright ruthless. Before long, what had been a harmless lab monkey turned into Mojo Jojo, current ruler of the Simian Empire and humanity s greatest enemy.

His perfect little girls did not degenerate like this. They were perfect little girls, right? They were happy, innocent, friendly, so nice! All they did was an innocent game of tag!... right? They played, drew, went to school, did everything like little girls should!

He thought of the other two trios, the ones that had cleaned up the streets. For a second, he realized that despite having killed mutants by the dozen to secure the surface within days of their awakening, he didn t had to explain to them what death was. He hadn t had to comfort them regarding the violence they experienced.

The little girls he created were sane right? They perfect little girls, right? Surely, that little game of tag they d just played had to be innocent, right? They they just

They re just kids. They were just playing

Professor Utonium. Sara s voice remained the same as usual. First of all, calm down. We are gathering reports on the damage caused by the playing of your creations. You will disclose to us the full research papers on your project and stop production of any further subjects until we have reviewed it. As for your little girls

He was almost unnaturally still, waiting for what she would say, dreading it.

We will wait until we have all of the relevant data before making a decision. In the meantime, you are to administer a dose of antidote X to all of your creations sufficient to nullify their powers. This is not negotiable. I hope you understand the terms.

I do.

Slowly, he forced his limbs to move. He could read the words on the wall. The project was now on probation. And if they decided that they were unstable, they might they might

How was he going to explain this to the girls?! How could he explain it to them? They re just little girls, his little girls. The effects it might have on their psyche

How was he going to do this?!

"I can't believe I actually have sisters! Well, even more sisters!" said Bubbles, smiling widely as she barged into the house, followed closely by her sisters.

"That is so cool!" Buttercup was certainly pleased, circling around the room alongside her sisters.

Six trails of colored light left by six girls, three pairs that looked identical to one another right down to the voice. Though the outfit was slightly different for each pair if only because Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup had wrecked their outfits through their little game of tag.

"Yeah, you never told us you made us more sisters!" called Blossom as the three dragged their counterparts into their frenzied flight.

However, something seemed wrong with the Professor. He was sighing deeply as he climbed the stairs, his steps slower and less enthusiastic than usual. Then, with surprising reflexes, he reached out and intercepted Bubbles mid-flight. She squeaked briefly before giggling as he dragged her into a hug.

"Gotcha little bunny!" He said, quite a bit less happily than his choice of words might indicate. Noticing Bubbles' counterpart having stopped before him, he nodded at her. "Get Belle and Rebelle. Also, fetch Twerk, Swag, and Bling. I need all of you to hear this."

As Bulle intercepted her sisters, the Professor reached out with his free hand and with perfect timing, snatched Buttercup. Dragging his two daughters into a hug, the green-eyed girl called out enthusiastically at Blossom.

"Help! I got caught! Blossom, watch out!" The glee in her voice was all too obvious.

"You're the sole survivor!" Bubbles said, playing up the drama in a way that was frankly adorable.

Smiling widely, the pink-eyed girl flew to the first floor and bounced off the couch a few times as she landed. "No way Professor, you can't catch me!"

"Oh yes I can because the game's over and it's your bedtime. Now come up here so we can catch you."

Noticing the Professor's tone having audibly deflated sufficiently that she could not deny it anymore, Blossom looked at her feet for a moment, the sheer adrenaline warring with her reason. Then, after a short while, she smiled to herself and floated back up. For a moment, she stared at the Professor, her father returning her stare. Then, she threw herself at him, her father hugging all three. The three little girls burst into a fit of giggling as he carried them toward their bedroom.

"Well now, three little girls had a very busy day today, didn't they?"

"Yeah! It was fun!" went Bubbles enthusiastically. "We met lots of kids!"

"And we learnt things!" added Blossom.

"Played tag!" further added Buttercup.

"And found out we have even more sisters!" finished Blossom.

The happiness of his daughters was just too much. It tore through his bad mood and brought him a smile. A ray of sunshine in the wake of what had happened. "Well, I'm glad you had so much fun because tomorrow will be a busy day too. So let's get your nighties on and into bed. Once your sisters arrive, there is something we should all talk about."

Before long, his excited daughters were ready for bed. Before long, he had all nine girls present and accounted for. The second trio was nearly identical to the little girls in the bed, outside of the fact that they still wore their dresses. The third trio had slightly larger, even rounded heads with slightly larger eyes. The one that looked similar to Blossom, Twerk, had an even larger hairbow, while the one that looked closest to Buttercup, Bling, had unruly hair, with a visible cowlick. The third girl, Swag, who looked most similar to Bubbles, had higher pigtails, the hair decorations more readily visible.

"Everybody's accounted for?"

Nods and cheers from every assembled girl. He now had everyone's attention. It suddenly became very difficult for him to maintain his smile. He could clearly see Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup's expressions as they learnt that they had yet more sisters. He could also see the cheerful expression of his other daughters. All of them so glad, so happy. In a way, that only made what he needed to announce all the more painful. How could he possibly explain it?

"So what's up daddy-oh?" Buttercup having just called him by an affectionate nickname only made it harder. He couldn't tell them... but maybe he could find a way to indirectly explain himself.

"Everyone, listen. It's about your super powers. I'm not sure how to say this..."

He froze. How could he possibly explain to his girls that they had brought destruction to so many people with their game earlier? That everyone might now hate them? That they may end up associated with one of humanity's worst enemies and his greatest mistake? Or even worse, that they may be mistakes themselves?

The more he thought about it, the more he knew that a happy ending was likely not possible anymore. Not after they caused so much collateral damage. He tried to think of a way to make this better. Maybe have the girls help rebuilding? Or record them removing mutant infestations through some of the ruins? However, all those solutions relied on everyone trusting the girls to be stable enough to use their powers without causing collateral damage or, worse yet, going berserk.

As fast as they learnt, they were still little girls. How could he possibly break upon them that everybody might hate them? That the mayor and his secretary may demand soon that he terminate the project and, by extension, kill them?

He couldn't. He just couldn't. It would break them, completely shatter their psyche. Maybe... maybe if he just had them lay low, have them not use their powers, prove to everyone that they could act normal and that they weren t degenerating...

They... weren t degenerating, right? They were... sane, right?

But then, it's only been a week or so at most. Far too little time; everything had been happening far too quickly for him to be sure...

He couldn't tell them. But he had to say something.

"... but I don't think you should use them in public anymore."

"Why?" asked nine voices.

"Well, your powers are very special and unique and although we have a lot of fun doing unique things around the house, out there, people don't really understand how special you girls are just yet. And unfortunately, people often get scared or angry when they don't understand something special or unique."

Largely because every 'special' or 'unique' creature that had popped up in the last twenty years had spent their time killing them and all that they loved, with the total human population now numbering to below a billion worldwide in the most optimistic estimates. But if he told them that, it would break their hearts, and make them think they're freaks. He didn't want them to spend what could possibly be the last few days of their lives thinking that.

... they were just kids. Less than a week old for six of the nine. This was so wrong...

"That's silly!" said Blossom, suddenly smiling in an amused manner.

"Well, I think so too." Actually, he understood perfectly why everyone else was freaking out. But given it was likely everyone would start hating them, if they even thought they d lost the support of their father figure, if not even he would show them love... he didn't want to think about the effect it would have on their minds.

"But nonetheless, try to take it easy with the powers tomorrow. Just give everyone a little time to understand your specialness, okay?"

It was obvious that they didn't quite understand that this was all damage control, that they didn't grasp just how serious the situation was. Still, he saw the expressions of the girls turn back into smiles and they all nodded, going "Okay!" at him. He glanced to his other daughters, who also nodded and approved, despite not understanding either why he was telling them to cut down on their use of powers.

He desperately hoped that spending time being normal girls would indeed drive home to everyone that they weren't monsters to be feared, that they were different from Mojo Jojo. Because they were different from Mojo Jojo, weren t they? He wasn t lying to himself. He didn't just get attached to a failure that he should just flush before it truly got dangerous, right?

"But people here are nice, everything will be fine!" Blossom said, smiling widely, something that all the assembled girls agreed upon.

He just wished it would be the case. The collateral damage caused by that little game had been... quite severe. By how many years did the girls set back humanity's hopes of restoring the ruins above into something that could be lived in? How many people were injured or, worse yet, killed by the collapsed buildings and flying debris? It wasn't a matter of being nice; after what the girls had done, a lot of people would carry grudges against them that would last until the grave.

There was nothing they could do, and nothing that he could do, either. Other than hope, against all odds, that humanity would forgive them and recognize that they aren't monsters, that they can live in harmony with human beings. He just hoped that after the tag disaster, people would give them a chance in the first place; chances are, he would soon receive the order to terminate the project...

High above the Earth was an old satellite, heavily damaged and with its orbit in an advanced stage of decay. Still, while the machine had seen better days, this relic of the pre-Impact days was still functional and in particular, its advanced camera was still recording.

While the old human communication networks on the ground had been destroyed years ago, it did not mean that no one retained the technology necessary to interact with the remnants that remained in space.

A furry figure, clad in blue and wearing an incredibly long vertical helmet, stared at his console's screen. Looking at the video feed, a large fanged smile formed itself as his glowing red eyes stared at the images, a cybernetic monocle on the left side of his face feeding details directly into his oversized brain.

Several primates, each wearing a similar helmet that hid, and protected, the gargantuan brains that spilled out of their skulls turned to look at the central figure. A slightly asian, deep voice came from the monocle-wearing chimp as he addressed the other primates.

"So he has survived. And produced new ones. This may be an opportunity that I will be able to seize and take advantage of. Prepare for me a suitable vehicle, not noticeable, unarmed, not of a style that would look out of place among the other hairless' choices of transportation."

Yes, he had noticed an opportunity and had decided to investigate this new event himself. If the Professor had done what he thought he had done, then he would finally be able to come up with a course of action that would fulfill the goal that he has been trying to achieve...