The applause died, all the kids settling, and with great hesitation--despite her legendary coolness--she stepped up to the podium. Glancing behind her, Numbuh 86 stood with her arms crossed, a blank expression on her face. Beside her, Numbuh 362 stood proud, amazed that this operative had come a long way from the scrawny little girl who trembling entered the transport that took her to the South Pole. Beside the Supreme Leader were her friends and teammates, all with sad expressions on their faces.
Finally, she faced the audience, and began,
"Boys and girls, the time has come for yet another KND operative to face the music. A rite of passage that there is no escape from, as there is no escape from the passage of time, at least, not until things go back as they were in the Time Before Adults.
"Numbuh 5 knows that there are plenty of you who look up to her, and admire her, wishing you could be all that she is now, and perhaps more. When Numbuh 5 joined the KND six years ago, she didn't think of the bitter cold as she stepped off the transport at the Antarctica Base, nor did Numbuh 5 mind the cramped quarters we were given, or the long training we all went through in the following months. Numbuh 5 only had one thing in mind: to be just like her big sister, fighting against adult oppression, freeing captive kids, making the world a better place for them, with liberty and candy for all.
"Then came our graduation day, when we stood here, entered our DNA on the Code Module, chose our numbuhs, and were assigned our sectors. And for the next six years, Numbuh 5 fought alongside the best fighters, the best nurse, the best technician, and the best sector leader that Numbuh 5 has ever known. We went through Hell plenty of times, we--Numbuh 5--" she faltered a bit, her voice cracking, "--made horrible mistakes, the scars of which we will bear for the rest of our lives," she glanced back at Numbuh 1's bald head, ashamed.
"We were faced with horrible tragedy--and unbearable pain--when Numbuh 5's sister--Numbuh 11--became a runner. Numbuh 11 called us traitors, mindless brats who didn't care for the work she did in her time here, brats who only wanted to throw it all away just because her 'time' had run out. And yet, SHE was the one who then tried to destroy everything the KND stood for. Numbuh 5 will let you all figure out who was the real traitor here.
"The day Numbuh 11 became a runner, Numbuh 5--didn't have much time to mourn or cry, though she did so later. Numbuh 11 left a big gap in Numbuh 5's life, knowing that Numbuh 5 would never again be able to have Numbuh 11 as a role model, and that Numbuh 5 would probably never find another one, either.
"Then came the day Numbuh 274 became a runner. Numbuh 5 doesn't know how many of you were devastated by that, with you also looking up to him as one of the greatest operatives ever, and then him turning around and betraying us all, taking everything he did for us and throwing it out the window.
"So it is with those two examples in mind that Numbuh 5 came to all of you today. Birthdays are supposed to be happy moments, when everyone celebrates you, and lavish you with love and gifts. It's not supposed to be a time of sadness, anger, grief, or betrayal. That is why Numbuh 5 chose, out of her own free will, to be decommissioned 30 days before her thirteenth birthday. On that day Numbuh 5 wants to have a normal party, with her friends, and not being shipped here to have her memory erased, crying because of the inevitable.
"There are those of you twelve-year-olds who will be decommissioned in the next months, and weeks. Perhaps right now you're thinking of running, sabotaging whatever you can before you run. Numbuh 5 urges you to re-think what you're planning. Do you really want to throw away everything you've accomplished in the last five or six years? Do you want to give kids everywhere another enemy? We went through Hell, literally, before finally defeating the Delightful Kids From Down The Lane, and--their father--once and for all--" her voice cracked, then she angered, "We made your job easier. And Numbuh 5, for one, is NOT going to throw that away, like her sister did. Let me tell you: Father's final defeat was a CAKE WALK compared to what we had to do in order to achieve the final capture of ex-Numbuh 11 and ex-Numbuh 274! And how many sectors did we need to do that?" She turned to her supreme leader, "Ten? Twenty?" She calmed down and turned back to the audience, adjusting her red cap. "The world--is a bit safer for kids--but there are still plenty of enemies that we're leaving undefeated--please don't make things worse for kids--for yourselves.
"For a long time Numbuh 5 wanted to be like her sister. Now, Numbuh 5 has no choice but to say this, and you don't know how much it pains her to say it, but Numbuh 5 has to:
"Numbuh 5 will NOT be like her sister now.
"Numbuh 5 will NOT become a runner.
"Numbuh 5 will NOT become another Cree."
She paused to clear her eyes. "Please, Numbuh 5 begs of you, don't become another Cree or Chad, either."
She paused again, removing her cap and adjusting her hair a bit. She kept the cap off this time, so the kids could look at her beautiful brown eyes. "Numbuh--Numbuh 5 really wishes she could say 'Numbuh 5 will never forget you'--but--that won't be possible now. Numbuh 5 is going to the decommissioning room now, by her own choice, by Numbuh 5's own free will. And yes, Numbuh 5's memory will be erased. Again. So those of you that have known her all this time, if by any chance we meet again, and Numbuh 5 can't seem to remember you--please don't think of her as rude. That is the reason why Numbuh 5 sent out her party invitations one month early. Numbuh 5 will--try to make her party fun for you--please forgive her if she asks you for your invitation when you get there." She smiled a bit, and there were a few chuckles from the audience, but everyone could still see her pain.
"There--may be a chance--that later on, Numbuh 5 just might remember a good deal of you, my friends, as well as the great times she's had here--though there are plenty of sad memories that Numbuh 5 really WOULD like to have erased, and there are some--that Numbuh 5 knows will never go away. As a teenager, Numbuh 5 will do all she can to NOT give the rest of you a hard time.
"Numbuh--Numbuh 5 will see you in her dreams--I guess.
As Numbuh 5 turned and stepped away from the podium, several thousand boys and girls, ages 6-12, stood and clapped like never before, with plenty of tears splashing on their clapping hands, and not just those in the auditorium, but all who were watching the ceremony on Earth. However, none of that mattered to Abby. All she could do was break down sobbing, the last of her coolness having crumbled down, hugging tightly her teammates of Sector V. Moments later, Numbuh 362 joined in the group hug, and much to everyone's surprise, so did Numbuh 86.
Sector V, along with Numbuh 362 and Numbuh 86, walked in silence toward the decommissioning chamber. Though they were silent, the auditorium continued to roar with cries of "Let her stay!" "Don't decommission her!" "Let her keep her memories!" that echoed down the corridors of the Moon Base.
Numbuh 5 hugged each of her teammates, her tears still flowing. "Numbuh 5 will try to remember you. She really will," she sniffed. She gave her final hug to Numbuh 362, and surprisingly, to Numbuh 86. "Now Numbuh 5 knows why you're like you are. You're like a nurse: you can't get emotionally attached to your patients."
"Oi wod nevah survive othawise, Abbeeh," sobbed the redhead with her thick Irish accent.
With a shivering sigh, Numbuh 5 stepped to her seat, but stopped when something else happened. "Hey! What are you guys doing? Your decommissioning isn't up for another six months! Kuki, you've got ten months to go! What is it with you guys?"
Numbuh 1 sat down, removing his sunglasses. "Sector V won't be the same without you."
"There will never be a Sector V like ours ever again," added Numbuh 2, removing his leather helmet and goggles.
"You're my bestest friend, Abby. I don't want to spend the next months sad because you don't remember me," said Numbuh 3.
"Ah dun wanna faght next t'anyone but yew, Abbey," said Numbuh 4.
A fresh shipment of tears poured out from the African-American. And for the first time in a long while, she did not speak about herself in third person:
"I----I love you guys!"
Moments later, Numbuh 86 did the job she had done hundreds of times before--many times with an evil smile on her face. Only this time was the first time she did it with tears in her eyes.
Over time, Sector V-2002-2007 became legendary. Numbuh 5's speech had been taped, and it was played over and over whenever decommissioning came near, making the desertion rate drop dramatically after that year. KND operatives around the world now looked up to Abby, and the others, and never to Cree or Chad again. Early decommissioning became common after that, even Numbuh 86 set herself for early decommissioning as well, and when Numbuh 362's time was up, she also set an example for the next generation of kids. Gradually, the teens became less oppressive to kids, and years later, adults became less oppressive as well.
It was one of the many things that led to a happy and peaceful time 75 years later, where boys and girls played together, and in the distance, a super high-tech tree house stood tall, with the Codename: Kids Next Door banner flying high,
THE END / DAS ENDE / DIE EINDE / EINDE / EL FIN / O FIN / LE FIN / IL FINE / SFIRSIT / KONIEC / KONEC / BEIGAS / LOPPU / TELOS / SOF / TAMAT / LIAU LIAU / DANEH O' / WAN-LE / OWARIMASU / SLUTT / SLUT / UXUL
Numbuh 5 is Cree Summer Franks
Numbuh 4 is Dee Bradley Baker
Numbuh 3 is Lauren Tom
Numbuh 2 is Ben Diskin
Numbuh 1 is also Ben Diskin
Numbuh 86 is Jennifer Hale
Numbuh 362 is Rachael MacFarlane
"Codename: Kids Next Door" and all related characters and indicia are © Tom Warburton. Used without permission, but with the utmost respect.
I came up with this speech shortly after reading the review of "Operation: M.A.U.R.I.C.E." on TV-dot-com (has not premiered in Mexico just yet), thinking, "What would Abby say if she had to give a farewell speech before decommissioning?" Considering all she went through, the ideas and speech topics kept coming to me, until I could stand it no longer and I just HAD to write this, and in my O.F.F.I.C.E., to boot! The speech itself was fairly easy to write, but the really difficult part was transforming it into third person, typical of Abby's character! Her last line: "So long, farewell, and amen" is a throwback to the series finale of MASH, "Good-bye, Farewell, and Amen". Naturally, I didn't want Abby to say "good-bye" because there was no total finality here just yet.
I've gone through most of the 1,000+ fanfics posted so far in this archive, amazed at the talent (and deviousness, he he) of you all. I hope to be good friends with everyone here, and everyone of the KND fandom, as I have been with the Rescue Ranger and Tiny Toons fandom (read my fanfics!).
Until next time, remember:
(a.k.a. Numbuh i. Just because I'm imaginary doesn't mean Idon't exist)