Disclaimer: I do not own the KND.
Space. He heard so many amazing tales about it. The ongoing vastness that made up the final frontier. It was supposed to be this grand spectacle of radiance and beauty that he got to explore every living minute from now on. He was the first human to get this opportunity, maybe the only one. Simpleminded folks back home would be saying he should feel thrilled. But even after a few years, it still felt the exact same. A cold emptiness that would forever linger in his soul.
Coal blue orbs gazed out from behind yellow glazed shades. Even after all this time, his fashion sense had remained unhinged. His optics continued to scan the massive blackness just outside his window. No sense of elation came forth. It just all looked so dead to him. Not even the glinting stars and planets could change his mind. To him, this place was just some void that kept dragging him down deeper. His chances of returning home dimming each passing hour.
Maybe that was what he was doing. Maybe in his moody state, he was trying to find that spec of blue. The blue that would symbolize his beacon of hope. He had served them well. Didn't he deserve a break? A visit to his old world, just to see his loved ones one more time? But no. They wouldn't have any of that. He was in this for the long haul. But that never really matter much to him until he became a teenager.
Thirteen. He was thirteen. Had been for almost a year now and would be fourteen in another month or so. He was Kids Next Door, becoming thirteen meant he was to be decommissioned. As much as he dreaded that, he looked forward to it sadistically. Decommissioning meant his service was over. Meant he didn't have to be here any longer. It meant that they had to send him home. The process may give him permanent amnesia, his childhood memories being all but erased, but at least he had the chance to start over. The boy had built up a almost childish hope that maybe the familiarity would cause him and his friends to reunite. Silly, but it kept him going until his thirteenth birthday.
But of course they would shot him down. He could still remember their words.
Decommissioning? That's a stupid Earth tradition that does more harm than good. You fight for our purpose for life. For we are the Kids Next Door. We shall vanquish the aging plague and find the cure for adulthood; be it in your lifetime or not. Because once we do Number 1, their will be no need for decommissioning. Because we shall be Kids forever.
His fist clenched at the memory. Those moronic buffoons. Never before had he wanted to blast his squishy superior then at that moment. Not only because they had stomped on his last chance to return home, but also because they wanted nothing more then immortality and were trying to justify it. Adulthood a disease. Poppycock. He heard his fair share of adult extremist theories, most of them coming from himself, but that was a step too far in his mind.
But his thoughts didn't hold any real merit. It was sad, but true. He was just another operative to them. It didn't matter that he was the best of his world, when ever he went out on a mission, he never step foot on his world. To the elite out here, he was some flesh bag who got lucky.
Nigel frowned as he suppressed his negative thoughts. Doctors told him his depressing state of mind was from reaching his race's adolescent stage. He didn't agree, but held it to himself. No, he just shrugged it off and went staring out the window again. Hoping to catch a glimpse of Earth.
He missed them all dearly. He had met millions of other kids here, even made one friend, but they would never be able to compare to his. Nigel craved one more mission, one more day with them. He wanted to try and hold in his chuckles and keep a stern face while Hoagie tried to make him submit with his own personal brand of comedy. He wanted to secretly smile while Kuki dragged him to shop for new rainbow monkeys and silly sunglasses when she knew he hated it, but enjoyed spending time with his friend. He wanted to shake his head in a humorous manner while he held Wally back from beating the snot out of some kid for insulting his baldness. He wanted to try and defend his views from a levelheaded Abby when they both knew he was just being ridiculous. He wanted all of that. He also wanted to see her.
His lids fell as he stopped right there. Even though he wasn't that fond of being here, he was still a Kids Next Door operative. That meant he had to stay on the alert and not dwell on what could have been. Besides, what chance would he have had anyway? By their last meeting, he doubted she would care about him.
Nigel spared one last glance to the coldness outside. But that was when he saw it. Just in the corner of his vision. A faint blue hue. It couldn't have been a star. It was a planet. His hands reached up and he pressed himself against the fame, not caring how outrageous he appeared.
The hope just kept bubbling inside of him. Igniting an old spark he thought had been doused for good. Once he had his look set on the small blue spec, his finger rose to tap his sunglasses on the left lens. "S.H.A.D.E.S, identify."
Galactic 2x14: S.H.A.D.E.S.
Rank: Level 5 Tech.
Spectacle. HUD. Adeptly. Defines. Equivocal. Surroundings.
As he gave the command, the left lens glowed brightly in the dark lighting and words flew across the tiny screen before his pupil. A small targeting circle closed in on the blue spec, and his sunglasses processed the information. Finally after what seemed to be an eternity of waiting, he got the results.
Location: Sol System, Quadrant 498-X Sub A.
Dominate Race: Human
Description: With a habitable atmosphere, the dominating humans of this world...
Nigel paid the HUD no mind as it went off to describe his world. He knew it all already. But he just stood there, a warm feeling overwhelming him. After almost four years, he was so close to home. So close to the treehouse, his friends, everyone. A very rare smiled graced his featuresas he suddenly felt all giddy. Maybe if the ship just flew a little closer, he could sneak off for a quick visit. Damn the consequences, it would be well worth it after all this time. 'I'm coming home guys.'
The startled boy jumped a bit and turned to face his surprise guest. Once he saw who it was, he sighed in relief. "What did I tell you about sneaking up on me like that Numbuh RN9?" He asked as he regarded the alien kid. What he saw was a female biped dressed in an ebony uniform. Her skin was a silvery gray and no hair was present. Her head was curved back and skin fell off loosely in tendrils in a fashion similar to dreadlocks. The only features on her face were two red oval eyes that took in his form. She had no nose or mouth, so she communicated telepathically.
RN8 nodded as her three fingered hands folded behind her back. "Sorry sir."
"Quite alright. I should have paid more attention." He replied in a kind manner. Nigel had met with RN8 two years ago and she had become, more than likely, his only friend. With so many kids disliking newcomers, he tended to keep to himself. But RN8 seemed so much like him. Alone and missing those closest to her. He stepped forth and they had become good friends. She wasn't a Hoagie, Kuki, Wally, or an Abby. But she had her own place in his circle of friends.
Nigel leaned away from the window and composed himself. "I have a feeling you're here for something important."
"It is." She spoke. Her voice an echoing whisper in his mind. Her eyes seemed to sparkle before she spoke again. "Haven't you noticed where we are?"
He arched a brow at that. Then his expression broke as he put two and two together. "You mean, we've come back near Earth on purpose?" He asked with atmost surprise. What was going on? Then a controlled frown appeared. "Are they enlisting another recruit?" Part of him felt insulted. Was the human not good enough on his own?
"No. The rules still apply. Only one operative per planet." RN8 answered to quell his thoughts. "But, it's not bringing someone up as much as you going back down."
The shock just kept coming. "Going back... I'm... I'm going home?" The prospect nearly brought tears to his eyes. He could finally go back.
"... Not exactly."
Her hesitant reply caused him to snap back to anger. "Then what do they want now?" He was tired of these aliens toying with his emotions. It was as if he was their plaything.
"You're being sent down to Earth on an mission." The girl turned to view out the window. "A very urgent one."
"The Important Ones are here to brief you."
His frame tensed as he heard that. The Important Ones were basically the council that ran the whole GKND. They never showed unless the situation was dire. In fact, he had never seen them before. But even with all that, he couldn't help but fear what The Important Ones would want with Earth.
Nigel stood straight as he adjusted his glasses. It didn't matter how old he got, the mission would always place itself at the forefront of his mind. The bald boy walked up to his extraterrestrial teammate and nodded. "We better not keep them waiting."
The walk through the long metal hallway seemed to go one forever. Not a word was spoken as the two made their way to meet the illusive leaders of their organization with differing thoughts racing through their minds. On the outside, Nigel played it calm and cool like he always would. But the inside was a whole other tale. His emotions felt like the were blitzing across his insides; twisting him up like silly string. How else was he supposed to feel about this? He returns home on some mission given to him by shady higher ups who are barely seen. He wanted to play this off as another mission. A simple mission were he would win like he always did.
But things are never simple anymore.
The trip ended when the two halted in front of a massive kid. It was a large gorilla-like alien, its red fur bristling with agitation. He was stuck with guard duty when it was his day off. Four eyes blinked angrily before the viewed the tiny human before him. He snorted out smoke from his nostrils before he growled. "Number 1."
"That's Numbuh 1." Nigel challenged back with the same vigor. The kids here preferred to use Number instead of Numbuh. Maybe a way to seem more serious. He thought it was odd for a bunch of people who wanted remain kids forever. Number was an adult word. It was used in school lessons, boring business factors, and figments of authority. To him, Numbuh showed part of what he fought for. It showed that the child in him was still present and ready to fight. At times, he felt like people called him Number to insult him. The only one to address him as Numbuh was RN8 due to how much they respected one another.
The gorilla kid grunted. "I have no time for your pathetic Earthling tongue." He rose one of his massive paws and grabbed the bottom of the door he was guarding. He grit his teeth as he hefted it up revealing the entry. "Don't keep them waiting, Number 1."
Nigel glared at the kid as he walked passed him. After he had stepped into the room, he curiously looked back to RN8 who hadn't moved a step. "Aren't you coming?"
The girl just shook her head. "They don't want me." He was about to protest, but the door had slammed shut, causing the the floor to tremble in its wake.
Nigel lowered his hand as everything settled. The room was pitch black all around him but somehow he managed to step dead center in a beam of light. The boy scanned the area for the Important Ones.
"Number One." Three voices called out behind him. He did an about face and watched as the light finally illuminated the room. Before him were three figures, but they were hidden behind a blue screen. He could make out their shadows and no more. Some people sure did enjoy their secrets.
No matter what he thought of them, the teen saluted. "Why do you need me, Important Ones?"
"Yes, straight to the point." He assumed the one in the middle spoke. The shadow shifted for a moment then began. "As you know, we are approaching Earth to send you on an important mission. You are the best of your world which why we are sending you."
The Brit could tell the praise was hollow, so he paid it no mind. His yellow shades gleamed in the lighting as he peered upwards. "What's the problem?"
"Within the time you have been with us, an operative of your world has gone rouge."
He stopped his eyes from rolling but couldn't bite down the retort that spilled from his lips. "Operatives go rouge all the time."
"Hold your tongue Number One." A snippy one replied. "Remember who you are speaking to." A paused insured before the voice spoke again. "We are aware that your planet has dozens of rouge operatives every year due to its incompetence. But believe or not, there is a reason why this one has our full attention."
Nigel held his anger at bay despite the insults the Important was spewing about his planet. "And that reason being?"
"This operative knows of the Galactic Kids Next Door."
"What?" Nigel questioned bewildered and frightened at the same time. The only ones he recalled who had knowledge of the GKND on Earth were Chad, Numbuhs Infinity 74.239, and his team. He gulped and silently prayed the rouge agent was one of the first three. "It's... shocking, but why is so dire that the Important Ones would get involved?"
"Because the operative has secured solid evidence of our existence." One of them spoke gravely. "They wouldn't work this hard for it unless they planned on using it. And if they reveal us to Earth, then we don't need to inform you of what would happen."
Nigel nodded. "I understand." Indeed he did. As much as the thought of kids in the KND going nuts worried him, he didn't want to think of what the adults would do. It was bad enough they were already on the moon, but in the far reaches of the galaxy? Father would have a field day. The teen turned to his superiors. "So I am to go and stop the operative?"
"Not only that, but you must also destroy the evidence." They added. "This will probably be one of your most important assignments for us Number One. Too many people of Earth know about us already. We cannot risk exposure to a planet that isn't ready. We are sending you to stop this because it is better than the alternative."
"Alternative?" For reasons unknown, a chill ran down his spine at that word. "What's the alternative?"
"If you do as we expect from you, then you won't have to fret about the alternative at all." The snippy one answered indirectly. "We can only allow you two Earth months to complete this mission. Report to the armory and leave as soon as possible." Once said, the Important Ones spoke no more as the lights of room died.
Nigel was left alone processing his mission. Suddenly the door behind him opened and he turned to face the light. After setting his sunglasses, he made a confident stride out to suit up.
Hours later within the transport bay, Nigel stood with RN8 as he looked down. Below them was a glass floor that they could gaze right through. Further down was the white clouds and blue ocean that made up Earth. His home. Only a few more minutes, and he would return.
He stood dawned in his red striped spacesuit gripping his backpack full of 2x14 weaponry he thought might come in handy. But what he gripped in his hand was 2x4. His fingers held the smooth wood of the modified S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R Hoagie made for him. The power behind the weapon was much more than standard issue and he found out it had the strength to leave a very noticeable dent in the hardest steels of the universe. Etched into the front was his sector's symbol, but the letters KND had been replaced by a large V. Nigel held the weapon proudly and it had brought down more foes in the past few years then any other blaster the GKND could come up with.
Looking at the S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R caused him to think about his friends. Sadness washed over him as he wondered what became of them. If his math was right, all of them were teens now. Except Kuki. If he was right, then her thirteenth birthday would be here soon. But what about the others? Were they one of those teens spies he had heard about? Were they just regular citizens now? Or were they traitors and was one of them the rouge he was hunting down? If that case came to be, then he didn't know what would he would do.
As much as he tried to ignore it, he also kept thinking about Rachel. She had been a good friend as well, and he would be lying if he said he didn't feel strongly about her. But he never acted on it. Not after Lizzie. Things felt strained after their breakup. He got the feeling Rachel had tried to make him move on that night, but he didn't think he would want another girlfriend after Lizzie. Part of him felt that Rachel took it the wrong way for they never really spoke much and the last words from her was her taking him off the cake mission.
But maybe since he was going back, maybe things could be different. Supreme Leaders were shoe-ins to be teen spies so she had to of remember him. Maybe he could make things right. Perhaps their was a chance this time, move on from Lizzie and-
"Are you listening?" RN8 snapped him from his dream world and brought him back to the situation. Then he frowned behind his shades as he remembered. He was here for the mission only. After this was done, he would be gone. There was no reason to try and start something only to have to leave it behind. He would spare them both that pain. So with a heavy heart, Nigel decided not to see Rachel or any of his friends. No matter how much he desired otherwise. It would be too much to say goodbye a second time.
"I'm sorry, I'm feeling overwhelmed."
"I understand. I would feel the same way." The alien responded in condolence. "So, I'm guessing you didn't hear me?"
"What is it?"
"I said once you reach planet side, an operative will be there to greet you?"
Nigel looked to side as he tried to assume who it would be. "Numbuh Infinity right?" The ambassador would be a teen by now, but he was still connected to the Galactic KND.
"Not him." Seeing the Brit's surprise, she elaborated. "Due to your... apparent dislike of him, the Important Ones sought it better for you to meet with the Supreme Leader."
"But... Earth's Supreme Leaders don't know about the Galactic Kids Next Door." He stated as he recalled Chad's words at the trap treaty all those years ago.
RN8's eyes sparkled once more. "This one does."
"Well who is it?"
"It'll be a surprise."
Nigel rolled his eyes at the alien's antics. A breath escaped his lips as he glanced to his S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R once more. "Speaking of surprises, who exactly is this operative I'm tracking down?" It was a question he dreaded, but knew it had to be asked.
RN8 glanced to side and let out something similar to a sigh. "I don't know."
"Don't know? Or can't tell me?" The girl said nothing and he got the answer. He groaned as he turned to the transport door. He hated suspense. The light above the door switched to green and it was his que to move out. "Wish me luck."
RN8 looked on as the human teen stepped into the pod. Once it closed, Nigel held out his arm and prodded out a single finger. After a series of count movements, he placed it up his nose. The girl winced in disgust as the green substance spread out and encased his body with it. She was never more thankful she didn't have a nose. The outside door opened and Nigel disintegrated into a boogery mess and it frittered to the planet below.
"Good luck Numbuh 1." RN8 turned to exit. As she reached the door, her hand graced the frame as she spared Earth one last glance. "You'll need it." With that, she left and the massive carrier shipped zipped off out of range before the moon base's systems could pick up on their trail.
The wind billowed up grains of sand across the desert terrain. The sun was setting in the west, leaving a faint golden glow to the ground below. Life was quieting down, but other things were stirring up.
Sitting atop of a random rock, tapping her knuckles against in impatience, was a girl. Her eyes darted from the sky to her watch. She was so frustrated. There was too much on her plate right now. Paperwork was probably piling up on the moon base, her communicator was beeping with the whines of a thousand new operatives, and her cell phone went off every few seconds because her boyfriend wouldn't stop worrying about her safety. It was sweet, but not what she needed right now.
Her hand combed through her ebony hair as tried to calm down. She brushed the sand out of her ponytail and glanced to the sky again. Why in the world was she the one dealing with all this? Is this what she got for being the last of them? No one would have ever thought out of them all, even herself, that she would be where she was right now. The girl had changed. They all did.
But everything would be okay now. Nigel was coming back. He was coming back and things would be right with the world again. They had to be. He would know what to do to make everyone think straight and pull their heads out of their butts.
But when was he going to get here!
Suddenly she caught something falling from the sky. Floating green specs collecting together in a mass at the ground. It slowly molded up and her hand stayed ready above her hip blaster. But once the green stuff blew away, it revealed the one they had all missed dearly. Her eyes glowed as excitement bubbled up inside her for the first time in years. Holding in a giggle, she ran to the bald teen.
After his landing, Nigel groaned a he wiped his sleeves off. "First thing I'm going to hunt down is a shower." Booger Transport was quick and effective, but he seriously hated it. It didn't leave anything behind and he was as clean as he was before he used it. But honestly, would you enjoy feeling your whole body being covered head to toe in boogers?
Nigel let off a good shakey shudder to complete his experience. He then peered out to the surroundings before and grinned. Stable footing, fresh air, and the dim orange-purplish glow that was the sun setting in all its glorious splendor. His arms stretched out as he tried to absorb the remaining sunlight's warmth into his pale skin.
Nigel Uno was home.
The boy let down his arm, but his smile only grew. For moment he forgot about why he was here, or what was happening. He just wanted to be able to take in all the nature around him. He had been on all sorts of planets. Humid rainforests the size of six New Yorks. Subzero tundras that could white out the sun. Bountiful oceans that flowed the entire planet over. He had been everywhere. But nothing could compare to the feeling of returning to the place you started from.
As much as he craved to bask in the feeling, the boy knew he had to start his trek eventually. Nigel finally reentered mission-mode and scanned around him for the Supreme Leader. Where was the kids? He thought they would already be here.
The exited shout caused him to jump. He quickly turned to face his would-be attacker, but instead he rushed tackled to the ground and glomped to death by a speedy green blur. His arms frailed around wildly as the girl tried to hug the life right out of him.
"You're back! I knew you'd come back! We all missed you!"
"ACK! G-Get- GET OFF ME PLEASE!" He yelled as he felt the last of his oxygen dwindle. Thankful the girl heard him for she muttered a quick 'sorry' and leapt right off of him. As soon as his neck was free, he gasped and sucked in air like it was going out of style. "I don't know who you think you are, but I-" He stopped as he glared up at the girl, but the glare left as he took in her figure.
Her hair was still the same midnight ebony as it was when he left, only now it was tied in a tight ponytail. Her face glowed with happiness and her smile was even brighter than he remembered. She had forgone the overgrown sweeter and wore a green t-shirt with white combat shorts. But what really caught his attention was the necklace dangling from her neck. A simple black string holding up a circular golden emblem with the number 3 on it.
Nigel couldn't believe who he had ran into. "... Kuki?" He asked as he slowly stood to his feet. "Is... that really you?"
Kuki giggled as she saw his expression. "Of course it is, silly!"
For a moment, Nigel did nothing. Then suddenly he moved and gave her a hug of his own. "I can't believe it!" He happily proclaimed as she hugged back. He pulled away and continued to smile. One of his friends, his team was right here. "It's great to see you again."
"Great? Of course its great! I mean they said you would never be back and now you are! And we could go to the old treehouse and you can tell me about your space missions and everyone you've met! Hey did you met an alien rainbow monkey? Because that would be so cute and-and...whew." She gasped as she finally calmed down. She took in a few breathes before letting out a relaxed laugh. "Sorry, I'm just really happy."
"I can see that." The Brit chuckled as the girl relaxed herself. "You haven't changed a bit."
"I have too!" She argued back playfully. "I am way more serious these days. It's just that everything came out in one large excited babble."
"Using big words huh?"
"Hey! Watch it mister. If anyone hasn't changed it's you. I mean you're still bald." Kuki pointed out with a smirk. "What? Space doesn't have hair-in-a-can?"
"It's what makes me, me." He stated proudly as he crossed his arms.
"Just like those sunglasses... Hey!" She suddenly proclaimed as she noticed. "You have new sunglasses."
Nigel nodded as he took them off to display. "Yes, they're actually some 2x14 equipment called S.H.A.D.E.S that..." He trailed off once she saw that she was glaring and tapping her foot. "What?"
"So you take sunglasses from those space guys, but wouldn't wear the ones I got you for Christmas?"
"Well, these aren't the size of my head with pink." He smiled as he recalled the memory.
"Whatever, they were still just as nice." Kuki huffed as she turned her head away with that cute pout she was famous for.
Nigel shook his head with a fond feeling as he put his sunglasses back on. But as much as he wanted to get reacquainted with his teammate, he had other matters to attend to. "As much as I've missed you all Kuki, I can't stay long. I'm here on a mission."
Kuki chuckled low as her eyes remained closed. "Of course you are. Numbuh 1 is always on a mission." Her lids snapped open as she looked towards the oncoming stars. Her smile dropped as she just stared. "The mission always comes first for Numbuh 1."
Nigel arched a brow at the girl's change in attitude, but made no comment on it. "Yes. But my mission can't start until I meet with the Supreme Leader. He or she was supposed to rendezvous here, but it's just you and me." Kuki lowered her serious looked and stared at him. Finally after a few tense seconds, she nearly bust a gut laughing. He must've missed the punchline. "This is serious Numbuh 3! Why isn't the Supreme Leader here?"
"She is here silly!" She managed out between chuckles.
Nigel's eyes widened as he looked around. "Where?"
"Right here." He stopped as Kuki said that. His shades nearly slipped off his face as he saw her place her hands on her lips and smirk. "I'm the Supreme Leader." Once she saw Nigel's jaw drop, she laughed again. "Got you!"
For a moment, he stood there. But the laughter was contiguous and soon he was joining her in her merriment. The two friends just stood there in the desert. Just laughing until the night befall the land. Slowly it all came a halt and silence came over them both. Smiles were present as Nigel looked and Kuki shuffled her foot in the sand.
"You really are the Supreme Leader, aren't you?"
Another story from me. This one was to replace Operation A.F.F.A.I.R. I'm really sorry to those of you who wanted to read it, but I couldn't get it to go anywhere plotwise. Maybe I'll try again in the future. I will update Operation M.A.S.S. E.F.F.E.C.T. It'll just take a while since the story is so large.
But enough about that. This one already has a solid plot and will be updated soon. Probably next week. Depends.
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