A/N: Ladies and (gents?) we are following a multi-shot prompt system! Yay! Basically, I am given a random prompt and I write about said prompt. I figured I'd have fun messing with Numbuh 362's character is all. :)
Disclaimer: I own nothing of KND. Except Numbuh 24k. Yep.
Prompt 1: Jewel-Encrusted
Rachel was not amused. No sir.
She only allowed this terrible tradition to come to pass because it pleased most of the female population of operatives. It was something they looked forward to yearly and who was she, their beloved leader, to deprive them of said tradition?
But it was horrible. So horrible.
She granted clearance for the super secret, hush-hush spacecraft to land at the Moonbase docks, but even that secret didn't remain one for long. Word got out and now there was a mob of girls cheering and screaming as the spacecraft engaged at dock.
But the great Supreme Leader of the Kids Next Door expected this. Since it happens every. Single. Year.
Security operatives were, as usual, convulsed into by the swarm of high-strung females and Rachel once again wondered if she should raise the ice cream pay a bit more this year for their hard work and dedication. This was their least favorite day of the year as well and they dread it as much as they dreaded Brussels sprouts at home. You should not underestimate the underlying strength and resolve of women. At least they learn this early in their lifetimes.
Rachel watched from the safety of her office through the monitor briefly as she filed paperwork, sighing tiredly as she could allow herself to. She can hear their shrills that were echoed immensely throughout the base. The attendance of male operative count was low today. She expected that too. No boy would ever want to be around when girls formed a swarm of giddiness and excitement.
She really didn't want to watch the proceedings, but it was a protocol she must uphold in case things went out of hand (at least not as bad as what was happening now), and she always followed protocol. Always.
A few minutes pass and the swelling of high-pitched wails and cries escalated. Rachel knew that it was about to proceed and turned away from her work at last to change the channel to the special news bulletin of the KND Afternoon News. The beautiful Numbuh 10 graced the screen, looking just as giddy as the mob behind her.
"They are about to unveil it, ladies and gentlemen!" She cried happily. "And the crowd here couldn't be happier! Oh, I just hope I'm chosen!" The mob then erupted into cheers and she turned abruptly. "Oh! They're out! They're out!" Rachel watched in boredom as the camera shook unprofessionally as the cameraman tried to race after the hysterical anchor-girl, who pushed her way through to get a better look. The blond leader leaned against her chair as she watched.
Rachel wondered if Fanny was there. She didn't see her today, so her suspicions surfaced little by little as the day slowly passed by. Not that she was surprised of course. She personally knew that under that tough guy---girl, exterior lie the heart of a girly-girl. Even Rachel herself felt the mounting excitement of the unveiling slowly rise in her chest. She just wisely chose to ignore said urge is all.
Numbuh 24k, donning his usual dramatic dark coat and glasses with multiple lens attached, emerged from the shuttle, eliciting a deafening roar from the crowd. He arranged his glasses and snapped his fingers, summoning an operative from the shuttle who was carrying a velvet case.
Rachel's throat became very dry and her inner self screamed to look away, but she knew she couldn't. She never could. The cheers in the monitor seem to break the sound barrier itself.
Numbuh 24k cleared his throat and almost at once the cheering fell silent. It was almost eerie.
24k smiled. "Yes, yes it is that time again. The time that lays in infamy among the traditions here of the Kids Next Door." Claps and cheers echoed the docks. He shushed them. "But of course, there could only be ONE." He carefully detached the package from the operative's hands and laid a hand over the top. "Once a year, this is unveiled and only one day does the lucky operative get to wear it," He unclasped the top. "The names have been put in our box. Only those chosen by the high command can be entered…"
Rachel gulped guiltily at the last sentence. It was tradition that the Supreme Leader and other higher-ups sent in the names of the girls worthy of the raffle. Only those responsible, punctual and dedicated were chosen to be sent in. Not because of so-so, but because of how IMPORTANT it was to have these skills if they win. It was something so special, so precious…if it was lost or stolen…!
She shook her head. No, there was nothing to worry about. It would never happen, but she knocked on her desk just in case.
Numbuh 24k opened the case and an almost ethereal shine of light escaped, causing everyone (and Rachel too even as she watched on the monitor), to shield their eyes from the light.
The beacon faded almost instantly and the crowd "ooohed" at the sight. Rachel had to keep herself from dropping her jaw, failing slightly.
On top of the soft plush of the opened case lay the most beautiful candy necklace any child had the pleasure to look at. Golden beads of yellow gumdrops hung in a skip fashion from the string of silver, small jawbreakers that resembled pearls. In the center of the necklace was a complex embroidery pendant with candy string that weaved a multitude of colorful Jolly Ranchers together until the tip was a beautiful rare swirl mint.
Cooing and awing commenced amongst the crowd and Rachel didn't blame them one bit. While she admired this complex piece of candy jewelry, her real beef was the tradition that pertains to it. One lucky girl was to wear it for one full day and be the envy of the entire female populace.
She snapped out of her reverie when 24k shushed them a second time.
"A buhmillion years ago," He started dramatically, enticing everyone to sigh as he repeated the same story that was said every single year. "There lived a boy who was a dedicated operative of the third era of the KND. But his heart belonged to his greatest enemy, the Spoiled Brat from Three Floors Down…" Collective shouts of 'boo' echoed angrily, already knowing how the story would turn out. He shushed them again, a bit more impatiently this time.
"I'm not finished!" He shouted childishly. Rachel noticed that a few girls stuck their tongues out at him in retaliation. "The Spoiled Brat took advantage of his love and told him that the only way she'd go out with him was to create the best candy necklace in the history of the universe…" He leaned forward and his voice dropped hauntingly. "…and he DID…"
He straightened up. "…but it was at the cost of his own freedom. You see, the candy used in the construction of this necklace came at a terrible price. He risked his own team around the world to search for these priceless bits of candy and it cost him his dishonorable decommission and an indefinite grounding by his parents!" Absolute silence followed.
"Knowing that his time would be cut short, he presented this necklace to the Spoiled Brat and begged her to find him after his decommission for he would not remember her. She took the necklace and promised…" He created another dramatic pause and Rachel admitted that it was a good bit of drama to do so. "…but she didn't."
A couple of young operatives who found their first time with this tradition gasped in horror at these words and some started to cry.
"Oh yes, yes," He admonished quickly. "She went back on her word. You see, she never cared for him, only for the necklace. And he was decommissioned eventually and she never tried to find him." Some of the girls began to sob more. "But have no fear, for this story does not end here…"
Numbuh 24k smiled gleefully. "One girl operative who belonged to his sector at the time, knew of his deed to impress the girl he loved. She secretly harbored feelings for him but was too scared to act upon it. But she sought revenge from the Spoiled Brat and stole the necklace from her." The crowd cheered. "Once a year, she wore this necklace on this particular day…the day of his decommission…so she can remember the sacrifice he made in the name of love." Rachel smiled slightly as she saw Numbuh 3 in the crowd swooning slightly at the romantic undertones of the story. She wondered if Numbuh 5 was among the crowd since her name was sent in to the ballot. Maybe not. She never seemed the type to care for this sort of thing.
"The tradition lives on to this day!" 24k continued. "This female operative left the necklace to the KND so it would live on forever and ever and today…" He carefully lifted the necklace from the case and raised it over his head, the candy jewels glinting beautifully in the stray light. "We will decide the girl destined to wear this symbol of KND history!
Cheers erupted at full force, girls clapping enthusiastically and jumping in excitement. Rachel took a deep sip of her soda. She prayed to high heaven that whoever was chosen would take good care of this rare artifact. Numbuh 101 was probably in a fetal position underneath the necklace's case back in the museum, sucking his thumb and praying for the next day when the jewelry returned.
She set the can down on top of a few junk pages of reports and began sorting the mess on her desk meticulously, trying her hardest not to pay attention to the proceedings. Numbuh 24k summoned a box with names inside of them and began announcing that he will draw the number of the lucky operative and read it aloud.
Before she had the chance to shove the remaining cease and desist letters into the already overfilled file cabinet, a loud message noise sounded on her monitor. Sighing, she vaguely wished she remained on spy detail (less paperwork, more fun) and opened the incoming link, her professional voice hiding her bored feelings.
"This is the Supreme Leader's office, Numbuh 362," She answered the snowy screen. "What do you want?"
The screen's visual was cleared and a familiar British commander sat boldly through the screen, his half-hearted salute made only for her.
"This is Numbuh 1 of Sector V, Numbuh 362," Nigel responded, his face completely serious to an untrained eye. Rachel could easily see the amusement bubbling underneath it. "I am in need of assistance.'
A small curl started to tug at the corners of her lips, but she suppressed it, cocking her head coyly at the rambunctious operative. "What seems to be the problem, Numbuh 1?"
"Two of my operatives seem to be missing. I'm wondering if they are a counted for at Moonbase," Nigel raised his eyebrow. "In actuality, it seems that a lot of the female operatives have gone missing back on Earth as well."
Rachel played along, now leaning forward with a teasing smile. "Numbuhs 3 and 5 are missing?"
"Actually, it's Numbuh 3 and Numbuh 4," Nigel admitted, smiling just as much as Rachel was, which wasn't much. "Numbuh 5 is present as usual."
Figures. Abby was too tomboyish to be swooned by something like the Necklace of Candy-Ann, named after the female operative who retrieved the necklace from the Spoiled Brat from Three Floors Down. She secretly wished she had as great of a resolve as Numbuh 5 did.
"I saw Numbuh 3 here," Rachel said. "But I didn't see Wally anywhere as of yet…of course, he's quite the short dude…he might've been swallowed up by the mob?"
Nigel furrowed his eyebrows. "I beg your pardon?"
Rachel blinked. "What, you didn't know?" She grinned. "It's the day of the Candy-Ann."
"Oh…oh!" He sounded surprised, but Rachel knew better. Something was up. "Why aren't you at the proceedings, then?"
It was her turn to raise the infamous eyebrow. "The same reason why Abby didn't go. It's not my thing."
Strange enough, he looked disappointed. "Well are you going to watch it?"
"I was until you messaged me," Rachel answered guiltily. "We both know how things go out of hand on this day."
"Yeah, nothing beats an ocean of girls fighting for one thing…" He looked thoughtful. "Especially the jealous ones once a name has been chosen."
They both shared worried glances. That was always the worst part.
"It's most likely over now," Rachel smiled slightly. "I'm gonna check the monitor."
Nigel nodded as he was put on transmission hold and she was greeted with an angry mob screaming "that's not fair!" and "redraw! REDRAW!". The usual after-ceremony bickering.
"Who won…?" Rachel wondered aloud as the yells escalated. She didn't see the winner gleefully run up to wear the precious necklace as per usual. Did something happen?
Numbuh 24k was jumping up and down childishly, yelling for order so he can speak. "SHUDDUP! SHUDDUP ALL YOU BRATS!" He was then pelted with open fire from all sides.
He angrily wiped a bit of egg from his face. "I hate this day! I HATE IT! You are all unworthy to wear the Necklace of Candy-Ann! You are all BRATTY GIRLS!" He was attacked again by enemy fire.
"For gum's sake!" Numbuh 10 righted herself up as she tried to pull herself from the enraged crowd to return to the camera. "Someone ELSE cover this event next time!" She yelled hotly. Rachel surmised that she wasn't the winner due to her indignant tone. "The lucky girl who gets to wear the infamous Necklace of Candy-Ann has been announced and, as usual, no one likes the outcome." She swatted a bit of disheveled hair from her face. She straightened regally and finally caught her breath.
"Will Numbuh 362 please report to the docks to receive the prize?"
Rachel laughed. The winner has got to be the unluckiest girl in the world! She'll have the whole female population after her now!
"Computer, rewind ten seconds ago."
"Rewinding…" the computer monotonously answered, replaying Numbuh 10's last words.
"Will Numbuh 362 please report to the docks to receive the prize?"
"Will Numbuh 362 please report to the docks…"
"Will Numbuh 362 please report…"
She blinked. That can't be right…that's HER codename. Unless someone from the KND Title Office changed the roster…?
She turned to her desk in a futile attempt to see if there was any paperwork that stated the said name change. After a minute of throwing files and folders around, she panicked.
No, nothing. It must be somewhere!
During her temporary insanity to find an imaginary file about an imaginary name change, the monitor continued to beep and there was only one person on line two.
She distractedly turned on the transmission while searching. "Sorry Numbuh 1, but I'm busy right now. Can you call at another—"
"You won!" He can hear the lilting tone in his voice that made her frantic movements stop. "You actually won, Rachel!'
"No I didn't," She retorted back. "They must've changed my code number recently."
Nigel stared at her as if she grew a second head. "They don't reuse numbers until after decommissioning, Rachel. Oh, I get it," He smirked. "You're in denial."
"Am not." She argued. Though she knew she was only delaying the inevitable, she just couldn't believe it. Out of three hundred names…!
The door to her office was blown off the hinges and she jumped, her spy reflexes taking over as she gracefully jumped over her desk to hide, much to Nigel's amusement.
"Awright, ye chikin! Imma comin' for ye!" Fanny blew smoke from her F.O.S.S.E.Y. with a flourish.
Rachel shakily looked up from her desk. "Now, now, Numbuh 86, as your superior officer, I order you to stand down at once!"
Fanny gave her the 'ye think Imma gonna listen to ye stoopid boy?!' stare and found herself flanked by Numbuh 24k and surprisingly, Numbuh 3.
"Rachel! You're gonna look so pretty with the necklace on!" Kuki chirped happily. "I'm so jealous!" She pulled out a frilly blue-green dress from her bag.
Numbuh 362 looked at it in horror. "You can't expect me to wear that, Numbuh 3?!"
"You don't think that you'd wear such a beautiful piece of jewelry on top of that horrid outfit of yours, do you?" 24k wrinkled up his nose at her blue and orange number.
Rachel folded her arms stubbornly. No one ever talks about her wardrobe like that. Ever. "I humbly revoke my prized winnings graciously to the next participant chosen." When they looked at her in confusion at her elaborate vocabulary, she irritably dumbed it down for them.
"Let runner-up wear the stupid trinket!"
There was sharp silence. And then...
"How dare you slander a piece of KND history!" 24k cried out.
"Dunna be such e' spoil-spoat!" Fanny retorted waving her weapon threateningly.
"Can I wear it then?!" Kuki asked excitedly.
They all said this at once and Rachel was almost sure that they'll cause enough ruckus to lure in more disgruntled people into her office. That, or Nigel's tenor laugh ringing through her ears.
She had almost forgotten about him for a second.
Fanny nudged her weapon briskly, indicating that she move her butt away from the safety of her desk. She obliged reluctantly.
"I really, really, REALLY hate this tradition." Rachel muttered to herself as Kuki sized her up for the dress. Fanny sported a devil's smile as the weapon poked Rachel in the back.
"Les' move on out!" Numbuh 86 chirped as all three of them began to shove her out the door.
"We'll see you later, Mr. Screen who looks like Numbuh 1!" Kuki waved back at Nigel's amused expression. "I'll take really good pictures for you just like you asked!"
It was then that Rachel started to add two and two together. "Wait! You were in on this?! Did you cheat the ballot, Numbuh 1?! Answer me! That's an order!"
But her cries went unanswered as she was dragged out of her office to dress up for the day.
Nigel stared at the empty room and gave a broad smirk.
"You'd be surprised with what you can do with an Australian prankster and a Japanese sneak, Numbuh 362."
And with that, he signed off.
Next Prompt: Virtual