Kim Possible: Barkin's Last Mission
Steve Barkin was glowering at the so-called English papers he was grading when the world around him shook violently as thunder filled the air. He cringed, his mind flashing back to things best left forgotten, and feared his own past was finally catching up to him.
Then the thunder boomed again, and a flash of green flame lit up the hall outside his office.
"Shego!" a manic voice growled as more green fire flew by his door. "Quit playing, and just get that dimensional do-hickey from those children."
"Doy!' a sleek, dark-haired woman grumbled as she suddenly slammed into the frame of his office so hard it cracked the frame after a bolt of yellow light flashed outside.
He gasped, thinking she had to be injured, but she only moaned, jumped up, and arched her spine with catlike grace as she turned to shout down the hall. "You think this is easy, you blue-skinned moron. Don't forget who they are?"
"Who they are," a blue-skinned man in a gaudy blue jumpsuit stomped up. "They're children! Just take the device, and let's get back to completing my greatest……!"
"And cue the rant," the green-skinned woman rolled her eyes as Steve heard the mocking laughter of twin voices that had become the most recent bane of his existence.
"As if," one of them drawled as yellow fire again slammed the green-skinned woman back down the hall as students shrieked, and fled the inevitable chaos.
"You're forgetting who you're dealing with, old lady!"
"Old!" Shego hissed.
"Meh. I forget nothing. Shego, who are these annoying children, and why are they not cowering in fear at my unremitting malevolence?"
The woman picked herself up again as the twins ran up the hall, ignoring Steve as he walked to his door, and stared at the utter ruin of his once orderly hallway. He shook his head, and didn't even feel like shouting as Shego told her foolish employer, "Don't you remember? They're Kimmie's brothers."
"Kimmie? Possible? They are Possibles?"
She nodded as Steve groaned when he mentally calculated the cost of damages this time. And he thought he was finished with these kinds of days after the last Possible finally graduated.
"Doy," twin voices exclaimed as the evil scientist turned to face the now fourteen year old seniors about to graduate with a dozen technical universities all vying for their presence.
"Look, you brats," Drakken got out just before the same yellow bolt of fire lifted him, and slammed him halfway down the hall to impact into a water fountain already drunkenly hanging from its brackets as a janitor stared in horror at the mess before him.
"May I offer a suggestion, Dr. D," she asked as Shego managed to get to his side, and helped him to his feet.
"What," he fumed as the smirking twins walked ominously toward them showing absolutely no fear.
"Run!" she yelled just before the boys pointed strange devices at them in tandem. The warning came too late.
Twenty minutes later, Drew Lipski was still bemoaning his family of nemeses as Shego sat glowering at all around her as the containment field bubbles held them for the GJ agents that had dropped by to pick them up for their latest incarceration.
"And I thought Princess was annoying," Shego huffed as Steve waited for the blue-clad agents to depart with their prisoners before bellowing, "Possibles. My office. Now!"
The boys only smirked, and sauntered toward his broken office door, asking innocently, "Yes, Mr. Barkin," in perfect stereo.
"First of all, stop with the pod-people talk. Inside."
He wrestled with the door and finally just shoved it over the passage on broken, warped hinges even as he marveled that Shego could slam into it that hard, and still get up and keep going. He had learned she was tough since that day he first met the alluring, and admittedly enticingly exotic woman, but he still had no idea how she managed half of what she did.
"Possibles. When your sister went off to Bonn to annoy the Germans for a change, I thought, finally! Peace and quiet. No more annoying chaos. No more super villains dropping by. No more crazed, monkey-obsessed morons. No more….. Ahem. Well, you get the picture. Now, we both know you're bright. Too bright, some might say," he added quietly to himself as they sat down behind his desk, and eyed the less than angelic boys sitting in chairs before his desk that might as well have their names engraved on them. "Still, I believe we had an agreement concerning weird gadgets on the school grounds?"
"What weird gadgets," they asked innocently in tandem.
Steve sighed wearily.
"Well, something brought that nut out here," he growled now. "And you didn't capture them with glue and glitter."
"No. I don't want to hear it. Just hand those….toys over to me, and maybe you won't spend the rest of the school year in detention. However unlikely that might seem," he added wryly.
The boys shared a grin, pulled out two, slender boxes that looked like remotes, and pressed a button on the end. Then, ignoring the vice principal/English teacher's cringe, they set them on the end of his desk.
"Television remotes? You did all that damage with television rem…..? Hey! Those are school property," he complained as he picked one up and spotted the familiar logo etched into the back of it.
"It was just a quick upgrade we finagled to stop those two goofballs," Tim told him with a shrug.
At least, he thought it was Tim.
"Please tell me this isn't like every thing else you've built, and it isn't going to explode any minute?"
Both boys shrugged, and Steve, wise in the ways of experience, tossed both remotes into his metal trash can, and snapped, "Wait here!" before jerking his door open and running down the hallway holding the small waste can way from him shouting, "Fire in the hole!" It was a familiar sound, and people gave way as he raced down the corridor, out the back exit, and rushed to the cafeteria dumpster to drop can and all inside before slamming the lid down on the potentially dangerous devices.
He quickly put ten feet between him and dumpster, and waited, fingers in ears.
Five more minutes, and still the dumpster remained undisturbed.
"Maybe they're finally getting……"
The explosion spun him around, and knocked him flat as the concussion wave lifted the dumpster ten feet off the ground, and spread garbage around the area like a manic piñata come to life. Steve heard metal hitting and gouging the soft tarmac around him, but nothing hit him.
Nothing except tons of reeking, dripping trash from the wasteful, ungracious brats that invariably tossed more than they ate. He groaned as cold pasta, suspicious gray masses of greasy globs and worse rained down on his head. Finally the fetid hail stopped, and Steve picked himself up, covered in garbage and leftovers from the café, and stared up at the sky that began to rain on cue.
"Perfect," he muttered. "Just…..perfect."
Steve walked into his house, slammed the door, and locked, latched, and bolted all nine security devices just in case.
In all the years since his retirement and relocation, only one man had ever penetrated his home security. Well, one person.
Stoppable, however, was not exactly normal.
He was of the opinion that half of Middleton were freaks. Some, more than others.
He sighed, and went to shower in earnest after pulling off the spare clothes he had learned to keep in his office long before the Possible twins had come to Middleton High. To think, too, that he had thought that cheerleader and her sidekick were bad news. Considering some of the things he had seen, he was of the opinion there was something seriously flawed about that entire family.
Twenty minutes later, not even thinking of eating, (not with his ulcer!), he leaned back in his favorite chair, and let his body relax as he lay back in his favorite robe, and soft slippers as he flipped through the news.
Big surprise. More lunatics had escaped prison.
Some midget had tried to hold Scotland for ransom. Scotland, for God's sake! Who did that?
Then he saw a familiar redhead grinning at the camera.
"Jeez, I thought she retired, or something," he muttered as the sleek, willowy woman in a weird white bodysuit stood beside a more somber man in black pajamas.
Thumbing the volume, he heard, "…….be going back home to Middleton for our wedding this summer. But we'll still have plenty of time to do the important things," she was saying as Stoppable just stood there and looked…..positively masculine.
Behind her, Steve noticed, the midget in a skirt was being dragged off in a straitjacket. No surprise. The man was babbling and ranting like a kindergartener on a sugar rush. And what was with that accent? Flipping the news, because the last thing he really wanted to see was another Possible, he found a basketball game on, ignored the fact it was a replay, and settled into blissful lethargy.
He was just starting to finally relax when the phone's ringing jarred him from a pleasant lethargy.
"Figures," he growled, but forced himself up, thinking it might be a chance at overtime at the Smarty-Mart. In this economy, every little bit helped, though, so he picked up the receiver.
"Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep," an obviously masked voice rasped.
Steve didn't even bother to groan.
"Not again," he muttered, and searched his memory for an ancient counter phrase he had not used in….almost five years.
Not since his last assignment had almost cost him his sanity. He still wasn't sure it hadn't.
"Uh, but Black Sheep are always available. Or something like that," he grumbled.
"Nice to know you haven't changed, Steven," the voice snipped, the sardonic twist audible even over the electronic masking.
"Look, I've had a hard day. Just spit it out, and let me get to bed."
"Not that simple, my friend. The powers that be have decided you're not going to retire just yet. One last mission, and then you'll be released."
"That's what you said last time."
"Well, there's a shock," Steve drawled, rolling his eyes.
"The usual place, Agent Barken. Don't be late. I abhor lurking in dark alleys."
Steve had nothing to say to that. He couldn't if he wanted, as the caller had hung up.
"Steven," the gaunt, hawk-nosed Brit smiled as Steve Barkin in his best jacket appeared at the Cow & Chow at just after seven. "Punctual as ever. That is one of your better qualities, I confess. So few…."
"Just get it over with, Steed," the bigger man growled as he dropped into the booth across from him. "I've got insomnia lately, and I can't get to sleep without a mind-numbing dose of reality television, so I really hate to miss it."
"Droll, Steven. Still, the Council has agreed that you are the perfect man for this mission."
"I seem to recall they said that the last time. Etc., etc. Ad nauseum."
"Quite, and you did a fine job keeping young Stoppable on the right path until he could....mature. For the most part," the Englishman smiled wryly.
"Yeah? I'd like to see anyone keep that fruitcake anywhere. You might as well have conscripted Possible to watch him, since she dragged him around after her anyway….. You didn't, did you?"
The man in a dark suit sipped his tea, grimaced, but said nothing to his question as he remarked, "You Yanks still can't brew a decent cup, can you?"
"Just get on with it," he growled again.
"All right. Last mission, Steven," he said, sliding a small, manilla envelope over to him. "The council is really worried this time. We have….bad feelings over this one, so it is imperative that someone begin immediately to intervene in this case."
"Now I'm really getting a bad feeling," Steven groaned.
Steed merely smiled as Steven opened the five-by-seven envelope and pulled out a single black-and-white photo of a pair of very familiar looking twins.
"Just shoot me now," he ordered his colleague somberly when he recognized the less than cherubic faces of the Possible twins.
"You know the rules, Steven. You cannot let them stray too far. They must remain on the correct path, or they are to be rehabilitated by the most stringent means necessary if required. You did a passing fair job with Stoppable, considering, but now you have one more job before you retire."
"You do know they might end up killing me first?"
"Every job has its risks," Steed smiled. "You should see the silly little blonde I've got to go shape up out in California," he informed him. "Draws vampires to her like you wouldn't believe."
"Want to trade," Steve asked seriously.
The Englishman laughed. "Sorry, old friend. Even I've heard of the Possibles. You're on your own. But I have faith in you. So does the Council, or they wouldn't have kept you active all these years. Now, I really must be going. That silly blonde is about to jumpstart another apocalyptic scenario if I don't go straighten her out again. Really, you think she'd learn after three of them!"
"You didn't really read my reports on Stoppable, did you," Steve asked dryly.
"Well, I heard you did a good job keeping him in line, so why sweat the details. Right, Steven," the man grinned, showing surprisingly strong, white teeth in a perfect smile for a Brit of his age. "Good luck, old friend."
"Yeah, you, too. Blonde California girls? You could be in over your head there, Steed," he snorted.
"You have no idea," the man sighed, reaching for his umbrella he always carried in spite of the clear skies outside.
Steve glanced at the cup of coffee the waitress had brought him earlier, and diluted it with cream. He slid the photo back into the envelope, and into his pocket.
Why, he wondered morosely, did he ever think transferring to intervention sector of Global Justice's Watchman Council would be a good fit? He thought he could slap a few kids in line, go home early, and draw a pension. But, nooooooo. He got a crazed redhead, and a fruitcake that had the power of ancient mystical warriors in his empty head. And now he got a pair of delinquents sure to blow up the world by accident if someone didn't take away their Chem-lab privileges.
Oh, snap. He had to sub Mrs. Plume's Chemistry class tomorrow, and the pair were in that class, too!
Paying for his coffee when he couldn't delay his departure any longer, he walked out into the night, heading home at a leisurely pace. He wondered if he could just….?
No, he couldn't just run away. He'd lose his 401K. Whatever was left of it. Besides, he used to be a hero. And heroes didn't run. He wondered if that one-eyed harpy would issue him Kevlar, though. He had the feeling he might need it this time.
Not to far in the distance, in the direction of a familiar neighborhood, he heard the muted rumble of thunder, and a small plume of smoke rising.
"It's official," he complained, knowing who lived in that direction, and what had probably happened. "God's a woman, and she hates my guts."
A cat paused in his path, eyeing him briefly, and then bolted off into the darkness.
It was, of course, black.
"Figures," Steve Barken muttered, and trudged home to face whatever else was coming. Knowing his luck, it was bound to be bad.