We still don't own these characters and we still don't own this premise.

Yeah, the story is still brought to you by the same three authors. Enjoy.

05: Thermopylae

"Why must you people always complain? Complain, complain, complain! We are so much better than you, you should be proud to be doing this labour for us!"

"Just please, let us rest for a few minutes! We've been working nonstop since dawn!"

"Then you should have enough energy to keep working until the end of the day!"

"Please! That monster of a woman doesn't even let us have wa-!"

"Monster? Hey, what's going on over here with the freaks?"

"Ugh, they just won't stop whining about how tired they are again!"

"Oh, for cryin' out loud, I've told you a million times there's only one way to get these losers to stop thinking they deserve to sit at the same table as us!"

"Oohoohoo! The savage beatings again?"

"Exactly. But, I get first shot at this one since he seems to think I'm not as awesomely cool and terrifying as everyone else knows I am."

"No! Please! I didn't mean it! I'll get back to work right now – I'll-AHHHH!"

-----

An appalled scowl marring her face, Shego looked away from the scene below in disgust. She knew GJ was a corrupt bunch of jackboot thugs, but this was far beyond what she'd imagined. It'd taken them the better part of the day to reach Adrena's village, and now that she was there, she was ready to march in and hand those bastards their asses. Painfully. "Ok, let's go tear these fuckers up."

Adrena Lynn scowled, snatching the green woman by the arm, shaking her head as she tried to drag Shego back from the edge of the cliff. "What, are you insane, or just plain stupid?"

"Alright, Wingbitch, first, take that hand off me or I'll burn it off," she snarled, lighting her green plasma energy. "Second, never, EVER say something snippy about me like that again, or I'll voluntarily hand you over to those GJ pricks. Third, you hired me to kick their asses, right? What's the fucking problem all of a sudden?"

"We need a plan! We need to decide what we're going to do so we can…"

"I have a plan, Wings. I walk in there, I kick their butts. Simple as that." Shego's grin as she spoke was almost feral, and it had Adrena questioning her choice of hiring her. Sure, the woman was legendary to those she often came into contact with, but no one had mentioned how violent she was… "As far as your shitty binoculars can tell, there's a bitch and a he-bitch, both overtanned—"

"Amelia and Junior."

"Alright, fine. Whatever. Go ahead and dignify the bastards with names, if you want to be so complimentary. I don't care who the fuck they are. I just care about sending them back to GJ with their assholes caved in." Shego scowled. "Damn…Why does the bitch have to be with GJ? Woman looks like she knows how to have herself a good time… Oh, yeah, and there's a third fucker wandering around down there, too. Carrying a coffin with him like it's his backpack or something."

"What?" Adrena snatched the binoculars from her. "Oh, shit! Of all the…Goddammit, why does he have to be here?"

Shego's hopes rose. She'd been a bit disappointed when she counted only three GJ agents, but the near panic in her employer's voice told her she might have some fun after all. "Lemme guess, a badass, right?" Her smile grew devilishly large as Adrena, looking like she was gonna run the other direction any second, nodded.

"Badass is being kind. This guy, Will Du…He's a killer. Most vicious person in the Lost Grounds. I'm lucky I haven't crossed him, but everyone else who has is dead."

Shego's skepticism rose. She'd been in the Lost Grounds since it was formed. There were plenty of murderous scumbags who were probably worse than this guy; hell, she made good money destroying most of 'em. And yet, she'd heard next to nothing about this Will Du. Her sources were probably more reliable than Adrena Lynn's, but she wouldn't put it past any of them to fudge the details about him. Judging by Lynn's reaction, they did seem to fear him only slightly less than they feared her. Might even prefer an encounter with Du over her. A smirk crawled from her lips. "Well, you paid good money for this. I hate to disappoint my clients."

Before Adrena could argue, Shego grabbed her arm and leapt off the cliff. If no one knew they were there before, Adrena's startled scream was quite informative.

-----

"So, this is how you handle security around these slaves is it? I should have known I couldn't leave such a vital matter to your incompetent hands, Amelia."

Amelia scowled. Oh, how she loathed her boss... It was humiliating enough having Will scold her for an hour over some "lost slaves" who'd just happened to turn back up, but to be slagged at for her security? If it weren't for the damned casket he carried like a trophy, she'd show him competence… She ignored his complaints about production, since he didn't want to hear her complaints about needing replacements for the ones Junior worked to death a week ago. Hell, she wasn't even sure why they wanted so much of that damned blue rock, but she wasn't in a position to debate or argue the issue, so she didn't care. Besides, her anger was being wasted. It was time to refocus and put it to use on the sonofabitch who'd decided to crash the party.

Junior gazed vacantly in the direction his fellow GJ agents were staring for a moment before returning his attention to buffing out the dust in his meticulously honed and polished fingernails. He could care less that some natives were daring to approach the compound. He was a lover firsthand, not a fighter. He would've been a fighter, but it was too much work, and he hated punching people. Except for the savage beatings. The savage beatings were always fun, and he didn't have to worry about any of the slaves savagely beating him back, because they were all so weak. As long as the savage beatings helped keep Amelia smiling at him. She always complimented him on the effectiveness of his savage beatings. Not like Will. Will never complimented him on anything. He hated Will with a passion at the moment.

Will stepped back as he watched the pair of figures arc through the air and calculated where they would land. He would've been impressed with the impact if the intruders had been male. Since they were decidedly female, he scoffed, moved his feet to stay balanced as the shockwave rippled the ground beneath him, and prepared to depart. After all, who better to handle the girls than the women who ran the place?

"Do not withdraw yet, agent Du," came the voice over the secure line in his earpiece. It was unusual for his superior to make such direct contact, but he chalked it up to the situation deviating from Gemini's explicit instruction.

"As you command, Sir."

Shego stood defiantly in the middle of the small crater she'd produced. She shook the dust and debris from her hair and let go of Adrena, her client faceplanting on the ground, sprawled out in temporary shock. That was the main reason that she didn't drag anyone along on her ventures often. As she stood up and regained herself, Adrena couldn't believe how cocky the Fire-Shell Bullet was. It hadn't occurred to her that she might be making a deal with a worse devil than the one she faced in the GJ agents occupying her village. "You're absolutely insane, you know that?"

"Thanks for the compliment. Now shut up and let me handle this." The green-skinned woman's eyes narrowed as she turned to the GJ agents and caught Amelia, Junior, and Will in her sights. "So, you GJ fucks are the ones I'm here to destroy? Oh, I'm being overpaid on this one, not that that'll stop me, however…"

Will made a step forward, and to his dismay, the earpiece crackled again. "Do not engage her directly. Let Amelia and Jr. handle this green one. You focus on the blonde. She may be of use to us. Take her out and see to it she is brought in."

Will turned to Amelia and Junior. "Amelia, the green one is all yours. Junior, you back her up." His gaze fell on Adrena Lynn. "Miss Lynn here is mine."

Amelia advanced on Shego, a wicked gleam in her eye. "This is the last day you'll ever get to fuck up, bitch, so enjoy the seconds you've got left. COOL WHIPS!"

Shego yawned as she saw the familiar rainbow iridescence emanate from the auburn-haired diva. She couldn't see any local mass disintegrate, so the woman's Alter was probably the weakest she would ever encounter. This wasn't going to be as fun as she had hoped. "Yeah, whatever. Bring it, I guess."

Then Amelia's hair shot out to lengths unreachable by normal, non-Altered hair. The strands thickened near her head, and tassels formed at their tips. Shego raised her eyebrow, and a sly grin slowly spread over face as she looked back up at Amelia. "So, you really do want me to enjoy our short time together…"

CRACK! She jumped backwards as the annoyed Amelia lashed out with her first attack.

-----

Damn…Dr. Director watched the monitor in dismay. Their covert investigation had been outed. She hadn't expected the Fire-Shell Bullet to be behind the slavery ring, even though it fit with the description she got from Kim about the last encounter with slavers. Shego had probably been there to collect the women, unhappy at how the Oh Boyz had so badly used her new slaves. "Wade, discontinue the scans, prepare to dispatch Unit 002. Mego, report to your scouter, head out immediately to the coordinates Wade will give you."

Wade Load pushed himself out from under the Grounds Justice van he pampered almost as much as he pampered the intricate network of computers that he was mentally linked to. There wasn't a place within the Grounds Justice command centre that was out of his connectivity range. With a casual thought, he cast his mind out into the network and disabled the scanners he was currently running over the Lost Grounds and began focusing on the details of the energy signature that caught Dr. Director's attention. "Affirmative, Dr. Director scans disengaged, coordinates locked and downlinked to scouter 356."

He almost regretted having to inform Unit 002 of their orders, since he wasn't finished repairing Bonnie's precious van. "Excuse me, Dr. Director, but there will be a slight delay. I haven't finished the repairs to …"

"Better hurry then, Agent Load. You know Bonnie's already looking to tear your hide apart for taking this long.'

He could tell the Director was laughing, even if her laughter couldn't be picked up by the mic. Just as he was about to dive back under the van and finish assembling the drive train, he heard the last voice that he wanted to hear angry at him. He wished he were already finished, so he wouldn't have to listen to her ranting at him to move faster. When it came to her, he had far too many "almosts," but he wouldn't make much of it even if he wanted to. Of the entire GJ staff, she was the only one who ever talked directly to him as a peer, it didn't hurt that they shared a mutual lust for things that went fast. "Oh, well, best get this over with," he conceded as he turned to face the irate speed freak. At least she was good to look at, which made her acting like a demon when he fell behind on keeping her van in top shape tolerable.

-----

Mego dashed out of his quarters a bit upset; he'd been enjoying looking at himself in the mirror and imagining a particular blonde there with him when the order had come to head out. Luck was favouring him heavily, though because he all but ran over the blonde in his haste. A wicked idea came to him as he slowly untangled himself from the lanky young man. "Hey, Hon. We have got to stop running into each other like this."

Ron rubbed the sore spot on his ass as he accepted Mego's offered hand. He was slowly getting used to the way Mego was constantly hitting on him, but he still found it a bit unnerving. "Er yeah … sorry bout that."

Mego chuckled. Ron was so cute when he was embarrassed. "Say, Hon, how would you like to go with me to watch Kim kick some ass?"

Ron was torn over the answer to that surprising question. On one hand, it would certainly mean he'd get into serious trouble with the duty supervisor. On the other hand, it would mean he would have to put up with Mego hitting on him for however long they were out in the Lost Grounds, but it would also mean he would get to see how Kim had grown with her Alter and he very much wanted to see what she could do now… "Uh … yeah, why not?" he ceded. "It's not like I'll get yelled at anymore than I normally do. Why is Agent Jones so bitchy? And what the hell happened to his voice?"

Mego grabbed Ron's hand and proceeded to drag him to the vehicle hangar. The only way he could get Ron out was if they hurried, and he definitely wanted to get Ron. "Agent Jones? Oh, Falsetto… Yeah, funny story, his. I don't know all of the details, but he was apparently using a helium tank to inflate balloons for some dog banners when the, uh – incident - occurred. Basically, to make a long story short, Hon, you really don't wanna find out what Falsetto's Alter is. Trust me."

-----

Kim scowled. "It is about time, Tara. Why is Monique not with you?"

Tara swallowed nervously as she marched over to the small group, apparently still waiting for Wade to finish his repairs, as the steady barrage of insults spewing from Bonnie's overactive mouth at Wade easily gave away. "I have no idea."

Kim nodded. Technically, Monique wasn't needed for this operation, but she had still been ordered to come along for backup reasons. But now was not the time. She would deal with Monique later. "I see. At least you are on time, Tara. Remember: You are still on notice. Once more and you're off the squad. Is that clear?"

Tara gulped fearfully and nodded.

"Good. Now, since we do not have a vehicle just yet, I will brief you before we go," continued Kim, looking pointedly at Wade, who hurriedly ducked under the van again and began making a fair bit of noise to indicate that he was working. "Dr. Director informs me that a Grounds Justice unit working undercover to discover the source of the rumoured 'slave market' in the Lost Grounds has been outed, putting the agents and their mission in jeopardy. She also informs me that the Fire-Shell Bullet is responsible. We are to first extract the undercover agents from harm's way, then apprehend the Fire-Shell Bullet and bring her back to the headquarters for interrogation and assimilation into our ranks. Some of you here undoubtedly want to say they think that is a waste of time and energy - that such a wild creature cannot possibly be reformed, and is better off being sent straight to Go City for permanent incarceration - but let me remind all of you that nothing is impossible, and that it is not our position to question the orders we are given. I will handle the Fire-Shell Bullet personally when we arrive. The rest of you will focus on her accomplice."

Bonnie stalked her way over to where Kim was standing and tried to force the redhead to turn and face her. She knew it was futile since nothing yet had been able to move Kim if she wasn't willing to move, but she tried anyway. "Hold it right there, Kim. That green bitch is gonna pay for hurting my ride! No one – NO ONE hurts my van, got it? Got it? Do you?"

The scowl on Kim's face when her team leader turned around was enough to let Bonnie know she'd made a grave mistake. "First, Agent Rockwaller, never lay a hand on me again. Second, if you do not quickly learn to stop questioning your orders and just obey them when they are given to you, I will personally see to it that your vehicle is impounded AND that you are demoted back down to the Janitor position you began your tenure here at. Have I made myself clear?"

Bonnie's voice choked. "Yes, Ma'am."

"Alright, van's done!" announced Wade.

"Give me the keys, Bonnie. I will drive us this time," Kim ordered, her hand already outstretched. Bonnie nodded, handing her superior the keys to the van and Kim was in the driver's seat in the blink of an eye. "We will not return from this mission until we have accomplished what we have been ordered to do. The Fire-Shell Bullet escaped from us last time. But, now we know what she is capable of. There will be no excuses for letting her escape a second time. And we will NOT allow a fellow Grounds Justice agent to be slaughtered." The garage doors opened and to everyone's surprise, Kim gunned the car away at speeds even Bonnie didn't think her ride was capable of reaching. No one dared comment on it, though, the furious glare in Kim's eye meant that reasoning with her was out of the question. Kim hated failure, and that glare meant she was determined not to fail the mission this time around. Especially with lives of fellow GJ agents on the line.

-----

"FREAKY WINGS!"

Will Du stood and watched as Adrena leapt into the air, the rainbow iridescence swirling around her. It stabbed into her back, then exploded outward from her shoulder blades, solidifying into a massive pair of silver wings, which glinted brightly in the sun. Attached to the undersides of the wings on both sides was a battery of missiles. Adrena looked down at Will, her fear of him diminishing as her rage grew. "Now - YOU PAY FOR ENSLAVING MY VILLAGE!"

Will smirked derisively as she plummeted straight towards him. "Hmmph – This is too eas-AH!" He threw his hands up and leapt backwards as she suddenly righted herself, blinding him with her wings just as she fired a volley of missiles. Forced to dodge the projectiles, which were unnervingly accurate for a weaker Alter power like hers, Will frowned. This was going to take just a bit longer than he'd expected. Quickly masking his annoyance, he looked up at her, twisted his face into a bitingly sly grin, and calmly dodged the second run of missiles as he walked over to the coffin he carried everywhere, ducking away from surgically sharp metallic feathers as Adrena swooped over and tried to slice him in two. The coffin in his hands, he turned back to his opponent. "You should have flown away like the coward you are, Ms. Lynn. Really, such a weak Alter power. You're just wasting your energy trying to blind me with those enormous wings of yours."

Growling, Adrena launched herself at him again, but just as she was too close to get away, he opened the coffin. Adrena screamed in pain as something lashed out of the wooden box and slashed at her wings too fast for her to even see it move. Gritting her teeth and summoning every ounce of strength in her body, she rocketed back up away from him. When she righted herself, the razor sharp edges of her wings were gone. Looking down, Will was now holding a massive pair of scissors he'd taken out of the coffin and he'd extended the length of their blades with her missing wingtips. Shoving the pain deep down inside her, Adrena gave a bloodcurdling war cry and plowed back down at him, spinning like a drill as she fired off every last missile she had, throwing up a huge cloud of smoke and dust as explosion after explosion cratered the land. Sure she'd hit him this time, there was no possible way anyone could have missed with a barrage of that magnitude, Adrena had no time to react when Will exploded out of the smog she'd created, jumped onto her back, and plunged his scissors into her shoulder blades, digging the wings out of her flesh like he was shoveling dirt. Shrieking in agony as her wings disintegrated in Will's hands, Adrena dropped from the sky like a two-ton boulder, blacking out immediately upon crashing into the ground. Will calmly stepped off her back and circled her unconscious form. "Hmmph. Pity this had to happen. In another time, I may have considered you attractive. Oh well," he sighed as he picked her body up. "No good spoiling new specimens before they've had time to prove any usefulness. Come along now, Ms. Lynn." He opened the coffin, placed her inside, and walked away, vanishing into the still-lingering cloud of dust.

------

Staggered by the concussive force of Adrena's barrage, Amelia spun around and sent her hair whips flying, missing as Shego dodged and leaped around the striking whips, rolling into the fog of dust, leaving Amelia's attacks to dredge up nothing a series of deep trenches in the ground. "You haven't used your Alter yet, Fire-Shell. Why? Are you scared of my so totally cool and absolutely awesomely devastating Alter power?" she sneered, looking around for the green-skinned woman.

"Oh, you think I'm scared of you, now?" Shego's voice broke out of the haze. "Well, think again, bitch," she snarled, her voice changing to its familiar icy menace. "Keeping these innocent people as slaves – you people make me SICK! I don't need my Alter to defeat you – I can do that with the power I have ALREADY!"

Igniting her plasma in a brilliantly green plume as she burst out of the smog, Shego screamed with all her anger and plowed her fists into Amelia's chest. Completely caught off guard, the punch, combined with the discharge of plasma energy, sent the GJ agent flying backwards, completely collapsing one of the slave's quarters when she slammed through its roof in a hail of splintering wood and debris. Storming over while the slaves ran screaming out of the way, Shego yanked Amelia up by her hair when she reached the agent lying in the rubble. "Oh no, you're not getting out of this one, you GJ freak. What you've done to this village is despicable beyond words, so now I'm gonna do what you did to them. I'm gonna take away everything that makes you what you are. See how YOU like it for a change!"

Unable to attack her with her Alter, fear began to leak into Amelia's mind as she watched the rubble disappear around her with a loud SNAP and the rainbow iridescence swirl around Shego's arm until the Fire-Shell Bullet's Alter power had solidified. "Please – No! Stop! I'll leave! I-We'll let the freaks go!" she pleaded.

"Aww…" Shego leaned in close. "Too late. Flaming first BULLET!" One of the spines on her back disintegrated, her arm once again enveloped in a swirl of green fire. But this time, Shego aimed her arm so that her momentum took her streaking backwards past Amelia, who realized all too late her hair was still firmly in her grip.

The sickening sound of millions upon millions of nerves uprooting was followed by the most bloodcurdling scream ever as all of Amelia's hair was violently pulled cleanly out of her head. "MY HAIR! MY TOTALLY AWESOME SUPER COOL HAIR!" she screeched, collapsing to her knees, clutching her now-bald head, writhing in pain as blood began to faintly seep from the involuntarily emptied pores on her scalp. "YOU RUINED IT! YOU RUINED IT, YOU BITCH!"

Shego ignited her plasma, burned Amelia's hair up, kneeled down, and blew the ashes in the GJ agent's face, watching the woman's horrified stare as the glorified soot floated away in the wind. "And you've ruined The Lost Grounds," she snarled, sending a viciously swift kick into Amelia's face to knock her out for good.

------

Mego gawked openmouthed at what he had just seen through the display on his long range visual scanner: The Fire-Shell Bullet easily destroying Amelia, with only the first level of her Alter power! And Amelia was one of the highest-ranked officers, up there with Dr. Director, Will, and Kim. He looked at Ron, whose face was in an equal state of shock. Frantically, Mego put his crush on the blonde man aside and hastily hit the commlink. "Mego to Unit 002: You better damn well get here FAST, Kim! Amelia's just gone down, Will completely disappeared about, uh, five minutes ago and Junior'll be lucky if he's still alive before I get there myself!"

------

Kim scowled deeply as she watched the footage piped over from Mego. The Fire-Shell Bullet was nothing more than a savage beast as far as she could see. The green-tinted woman seemed to revel in the pain and suffering she inflicted on others. Amelia would never be combat capable again, as the source of her Alter power had just been brutally pulled out of her head. "Unit 002 to Mego: Do not directly engage the native Alter. She is far too dangerous for you to handle. Copy?"

Josh blinked and looked over at Yori, who also blinked. Kim rarely gave Mego orders that didn't include direct confrontation. Though he had the least powerful Alter of their unit, the majority of the most powerful native Alters would stand just a few minutes against him. Only a few elite natives could hope to beat Mego.

"Copy that, Kim. Ron and I'll play decoy 'till you show up to cuff… well, 'her' isn't be the best description of what I just saw, but it does for right now… Oh, yeah, but what if she decides she doesn't recognize the fact that I've been ordered not to engage her?"

Kim pushed the gas pedal of the van down further. "Then I'll be showing emotion when we arrive."

Everyone else in the van looked at each other, blinking.

-----

"Well, that oughta be a sight…" Mego mused once he'd moved his headset mic out of pickup range.

Ron whirled to look at the purple-hued man. "G – Get there? You mean we…We aren't gonna go down there, are we?"

"Look, Hon, as much as I'd like to sightsee up here with you, MY colleagues are down there getting their asses handed to them. I am a GJ officer, and even my egocentrism will not allow me to just sit here and watch until people I know end up dead! So grab your puke bag, Hon, cuz we're about to go a bit airborne."

Before Ron could protest, Mego stomped on the gas pedal and launched his scouter over the rim of the hill. Silently, he prayed that it wouldn't take Kim much longer to arrive because while he wanted very much to impress Ron with his bravery, he wanted to be that type of brave hero who survived his acts of heroism.

Much to his relief, the moment the scouter went airborne, he saw his team's van join it in cloudsurfing not far away. "Oh, thank, god…" he sighed.

-----

Hearing movement, Shego looked up with a growl, catching the frightened Junior like a deer in headlights, right in the middle of the act of trying to escape past her. "So, pretty boy…" she snarled, igniting her plasma energy and advancing on him, "We gonna dance or are you just gonna let me ruin those billion dollar teeth?"

Junior backed up in terror from the demon approaching. "Oh, how do I end up in these situations? I must ask Father to reassign me to Go City after th-AHH!" he screamed as she lunged at him, barely dodging her. As the Fire-Shell Bullet faceplanted, he bolted for his life. "Corinthian Adonis!" he shrieked as she got up and tore after him, stopping as the rainbow iridescence flowed over him. When it was done…His tan had deepened, his skin taking on an almost unearthly perfection.

Shego pulled up and dropped back, waiting for him to attack. When he didn't, she began to laugh uproariously. "Ahaha – THAT'S your Alter? A tan? Ahahaha – forgive me for being amused, but that is the weakest fucking Alter I have ever seen! No wonder you only beat on the innocent people who can't fight you back!"

"A tan? My Alter is not a tan! Corinthian Adonis is a shield! It just happens to look like a perfect tan, is all! But now I can stand here and not be harmed by you!"

"Uh, okay, whatever. Fine. Just stand there. Makes it easier for me." Not wanting to waste the second stage of her Alter, Shego lit her other hand up with her plasma energy and smashed her fist into his gut, easily shattering his "tan" into pieces as he screamed. "Ah. Another one of you sissies who feels pain when your Alter gets destroyed. I need to start running into more of you pansies. It's fun." She yanked him up by his shirt collar, raising her fist to knock him out for good–

"Native Alter, halt your illegal activities and surrender now!"

Shego grinned. Now the fun really began.

She dropped Junior, who by now had fainted, and turned as she stood, staring at the small army behind her. "Took you long enough to show up, there, Princess. Jeez, I thought you cared about your fellow agents. Well, then again, I suppose if your fellow agents don't care about protecting The Lost Grounds like you, then-"

Kim scowled. The native Alter was despicable. "This time you will be brought to Justice for your crimes, Fire-Shell Bullet."

"Justice? You think you're delivering justice with this shit?" Shego spat. "Fuck, if this is justice, I don't even wanna know what your definition of corruption is."

Kim leveled a diamond-hard glare at the fiery woman before her. The audacity of the Fire-Shell Bullet was unbelievable. "Resisting arrest is the least offensive of your charges. Causing a disturbance, abuse of Alter Power in the 3rd degree, assaulting multiple GJ officers with intent to murder, and participation in the practice of trafficking and enslaving of innocent native normal citizens of The Lost Grounds are all heinous crimes that will not be tolerated by any Grounds Justice agent."

"What? Oh, you did NOT just accuse me of what I think you just accused me of!" snapped Shego, her anger rising exponentially.

"The evidence is not in your favour, native Alter. Give yourself up."

"You wanna hear something, Princess? I've had a horrible, no good, really bad day. First, while minding my own business this morning, I hear from one of the escaped girls you 'freed' yesterday who managed to crawl away from you that her friends, who I'd just been in the process of rescuing from those arrogant Oh Boyz fucks until you bastards showed up, were going right back to being slaves for the GJ agents who had taken over her village – THIS village. She says she'll pay me to free this place, and I agree and then when I get here, I see your fellow 'colleagues' beating a weak old man to a pulp, all because he asked for some water. And NOW, not only am I not gonna get my pay for doing this job because she disappeared with that casket-carrying bastard, you guys show up and accuse me of crimes I didn't commit? I don't know what balls you think you have, you redheaded little snatch, but I'm pissed enough to rip them off, so bring it on, cocksucker."

"Your stubborn pride will be your downfall, native," Kim replied as she summoned her Alter.

"Hey, I may be stubborn, but at least my stubbornness didn't come out of being brainwashed. I'll bet you didn't even know GJ was pulling this shit here, did you?"

Shego couldn't even react to the speed and efficiency with which Kim moved. All she knew was she was lying on her back in a pile of rubble, and her head was swirling. "Ow. Fuck – that was a first, Cupcake. You attacking me. Fast moving, you little minx. Now taste my Blazing Second BULLET!"

Her arm aglow in green fire again, Shego shot forward and careened into the shield made by the 4 spheres of Kim's Alter and grinned as sparks flew upon the impact. Which meant only one thing, the GJ bitch's Alter had absorbed the brunt of the impact. That, or…"Gee, sweetie, you must be so pissed you can't concentrate on keeping your Alter in top shape. I wouldn't happen to have made you very, very angry by inflicting all that pain upon your fellow GJ officers?" she sneered.

Sure enough, Kim's eyes snapped into fury and she attacked the Fire-Shell Bullet again, only this time, Shego blocked the blow with her plasma-ignited other hand. "Like it, you GJ freak? That's a power I had long before The Lost Grounds became The Lost Grounds. Maybe you heard of Team Go as a kid? I see you've got my brother on your staff. I wonder did his brainwashing take an hour or a minute?"

Kim moved with the same speed and pinpoint accuracy again, and Shego found herself flat on her ass with eight spheres lined up like a sword at her throat. "I would advise you to stop now, native Alter. The more you continue with this rhetoric you are spouting, the more you prolong the length of your eventual sentence."

"Oh, so I can't even criticize you fucks anymore without getting arrested for pissing you all off? Damn. Whatever happened to a system of checks and balances?" Shego grabbed the "sword" with her bare hand, igniting her plasma again to sear together whatever wounds holding the weapon gave her as she started to fight the resistance. "You didn't catch me before. Now get that damned sword OUT OF MY FACE!" she screamed, sending a brutal kick at Kim's hips, which, much to her surprise, connected, sending the GJ officer sprawling. "Hah! Not so powerful as you think, eh, self-righteous jackass? I coulda' blocked that at 2 years old!"

Kim stood up. "Perhaps, but that does not mean I have weakened in any way. You will notice that despite your attack connecting with its target, my Alter remains."

Shego double-checked. Shit…The bitch was right. "Well, I beat you at something. Which means I CAN BEAT YOU WHERE IT COUNTS!" Sparks suddenly flew like crazy from the hand clutching the "sword" as Shego increased the intensity of her plasma energy – until Shego felt it bend. "Oh, yes. This works. Now, let's see how you like the medicine I gave your sissy boy Junior earlier! SOLAR STORM, FINAL BULLET!" Summoning all her willpower, she rocketed forward, bending the "sword" while she felt the redhead's resistance crumble. Finally, with all her might behind her and sparks showering her with what she knew were going to be painful burns later, she managed to bend the "sword" so much, she smashed her Altered hand and the GJ bitch's own weapon into the shield.

And watched time seem to slow down as it broke open wide enough to let her fist through with a loud CRACK.

The jaws of everyone watching dropped.

-----

Gemini, watching the fight unfold from his lair in Go City, raised an eyebrow. "Yes, my silent friend. Very powerful, I agree."

-----

Shego grinned as time seemed to come back to normal, but then a fiery menace shone behind the redhead's eyes and in a flash, Shego was wrenching in pain as the shield snapped back to form, trapping both of her arms behind it. "NO! GODDAMMIT! YOU DON'T GET TO DO THIS!" She wrestled against the shield using every ounce of strength she had left. "DAMMIT! GODDAMMIT! I BEAT YOU! I BROKE YOU! WHY WON'T YOU JUST ACCEPT THAT?"

Kim sent an icy stare at her. "Because it's called a trap. Agent Rockwaller! Ram the Fire-Shell Bullet! NOW! That is a direct order!"

"YES!" Bonnie cheered, jumping into the driver's seat and gunning the van's engine. "Yes yes yes yes yes yes! Thank you Kim, thank you!"

"DAMMIT! DAMMIT!" Shego furiously struggled against the shield, but as Kim stepped aside and the shield widened in front of her, and the headlights behind her got brighter and brighter, she realized there was nothing she could do. She stopped struggling. Shit…Joss, I'm sorry. Keep Drakken eatin' for me, will 'ya?

She only saw the headlights get brighter for a few more seconds before the impact shattered her Alter from her arm and knocked everything into black.

-----

"Unit 002 to Dr. Director: We have subdued and apprehended the Fire-Shell Bullet, and safely retrieved our fellow Grounds Justice officers. A medic is requested, as injuries have been sustained. We will return to base as soon as we have them aboard and have securely incarcerated the criminal native Alter."

"Request for Medic noted, Unit 002. Prepare for debriefing and prisoner transfer upon your arrival." Betty sat back in her chair. Trusting Bonnie more already… She smiled to herself. Well done, Kim. Well done, indeed.

-----

Kim slowly dissipated her Alter, the pain from the destruction of one of her spheres was bordering on unbearable. It would not linger for long, but that was of cold comfort to her. She was thankful her training had prepared her for such an instance, but she was still furious with herself for lying about what had happened. However, what had happened was of no concern to the others. They had no reason to suspect that the untrained, undisciplined native Alter had actually broken through her defenses. That was her problem, and her problem alone. She knew now that she had to seriously re-evaluate her training, in case stronger Alters were out there.

"KP? You okay?" asked Ron, seeing her bent over and wincing.

"Yeah, Kim, you okay?" Josh strode up aside her.

Kim immediately stood straight back up. "I am fine. I thank you both for your concerns. However- " Kim suddenly grabbed Ron, spun him around, forced his hands behind his back, and locked them in a pair of handcuffs.

"Ow!" Ron protested. "Hey, what - KP, what are you-"

"I am ashamed to know that you and Agent Go would ever think that your rather blatant and utterly inexcusable acts of insubordination would be tolerated, Mr. Stoppable. Defying orders is as much a crime as the slavery the native Alter was apprehended for. You are under arrest for the violation of Grounds Justice Directive #479.-8B.13-C4. Tara, as you are standing closest to him, please apprehend Agent Go, for violating Grounds Justice Directive #125.03-6Y.2-A12."

Tara turned around and put Mego up against the side of the scouter. She sighed, but said nothing as she locked the cuffs. Mego knew an order when he heard one.

"Agent Mankey, you and Yori get the wounded officers onboard the scouter. I will drive them back." The two nodded as Kim authoritatively stormed past them. "Tara, you and Bonnie secure the prisoners. Take Mr. Stoppable and Agent Go to Dr. Director when you return – she and Agent Jones wish to talk with them."

Ron gulped as the other agents nodded. Mego said nothing as they were put in the van's temporary holding cell, with the unconscious Fire-Shell Bullet beside them.

------

The tiny house was empty, the evening sun that spilled into the room through the window disappearing, fading into moonlight in silence as the door opened.

"…Shego?"