Southdale Jr. High was abuzz with activity as the four Clark siblings gathered in one of the school's crowded hallways before the start of first period. Most of the chatter taking place centered around the annual homecoming dance, just three days away. As students laughed and gossiped about who was going with who, the gathered siblings had one thing on each of their minds… none of them had any idea who would be their dates to the dance.
"Three days left and I still can't find a date," muttered Lee, the eldest of the Clarks, as he pulled two thick books out of his locker. "Don't tell anybody, you guys, but I'm starting to get pretty desperate."
"You're the captain of all the sports teams and one of the most popular guys in school," said Megan skeptically, rolling her green eyes. "How is it even possible that you don't have a date yet?"
Lee stammered over his response, too embarrassed to reveal the reason he was currently dateless. As Megan stood with her hands on her hips and a smirk on her face, her older brother began to dance around the subject.
"Well you see, it's gotta be just the right girl, you know? She's gotta be cute, but she can't be TOO cute or I'll have set my standards way too high for the next dance, and furthermore-"
"Let me guess," replied Marc. "You got asked out by a bunch of different girls and you took so long to figure out which one you were going with that they all got fed up with waiting and asked other guys."
"….yeah, that's about it," Lee replied, sticking his hands in his pockets.
"I wish I had that problem!" blurted out Tony, leaning back against one of the nearby lockers. "Couldn't you have been nice enough to give me one of those girls before letting them all get away?"
"None of them would've gone out with you because none of them like dating younger guys," said Lee with a bit of a laugh. As Tony scowled at his brother's remark, Marc's eyes widened and he slapped his forehead suddenly. "Hey Marc, what's wrong?"
"All this talk about the homecoming dance reminds me, I forgot to ask Sheena Weston to the dance! I can't believe I forgot, our date last time went really well and she said she wanted to go out with me again sometime but I forgot and now she probably thinks I don't like her!"
"Don't worry about it, Marc, maybe she still hasn't asked anybody," said Megan, placing a hand on Marc's shoulder. "And a girl who would ask someone out knowing they're already dating a guy isn't a girl you should be in a relationship anyway."
"Speaking of relationships, I've gotta find a girl to take to the dance!" Lee said, his voice quickening with nervousness. "There's no way I can go by myself, do you guys know what it would do to my reputation around here?"
"Lee?" came a high-pitched voice from down the hall. The Clark siblings all recognized it, and turned their heads to see a girl with well-styled blonde hair walking over to them. The girl blew off the three younger Clarks and went immediately to Lee, coming close enough to him so that their bodies were almost touching. Lee quickly backed off, which only prompted the girl to lean in a bit more. "Did I hear you say you didn't have a girl to take to the dance with you?"
The girl was Tami, who usually spent most of her time picking on the Clarks and pretty much everyone else at Southdale who wasn't as popular as her. Her particular distaste for the Clark siblings was dulled by her serious crush on Lee, who tended to reject her advances with politeness or by dodging her remarks. This time, however, it didn't seem as if there would be any way to avoid a direct request.
"Uh… well… you see…" Lee stammered nervously, quickly looking over to his siblings for help. They all backed off, Megan wearing a 'you're on your own for this one' expression on her face. "Oh great, thanks for the help, guys!"
"Because I'll totally go to the dance with you," said Tami sweetly, making goo-goo eyes at Lee and leaning in even more. "I've been waiting for the perfect moment and this is it!"
Lee nervously gulped, tugging at the collar of his shirt as Tami continued trying to woo him. As she got almost close enough for them to touch, the bell to signal first period began to ring.
"Oh, bad luck, looks like it's time for class!" said Lee quickly, turning away so fast that it caused Tami to nearly lose her balance. He walked over to Megan and the others and gestured for them to hurry up as well. "I'll talk to you about it later, Tami!"
"Okay Lee, but remember, the dance is in three days!" Tami shouted at Lee as he and his siblings made their way down the hall.
"Talk about saved by the bell," Lee groaned, wiping away the beads of sweat that had formed on his forehead. He continued to walk for a few more seconds, when he suddenly remembered something he'd forgotten to do. "…oh crud, I left my locker open!"
Lee ran back to his locker with Megan and the others, hoping none of his stuff had been taken while his locker had hung open for more than a minute unattended.
"Come on, Lee, you're gonna make us all late!" shouted Tony impatiently.
"We really didn't have to follow him back to his locker," Marc said, turning away as his older brother made sure that nothing was missing. "I think we should leave Lee to his-"
Suddenly, a powerful force began sucking the four siblings into the open locker. They barely had time to scream before they were pulled in through a tunnel that had opened in the back, leading to a long, twisting chute through the darkness.
"Just our luck to get WOOHPed right before class!" exclaimed Megan.
"Now I'm really feeling stupid for following Lee back to his locker…!" Marc cried.
The four children continued down the chute until they landed on a couch in a large, clean office. The familiar office was usually an unwelcome sight for them, and today was no exception.
"I hope you arranged for a way to keep us out of trouble for being tardy!" Marc said, both worry and anger in his voice. "I've got a perfect attendance record in Mrs. Londes' first period chemistry class and I don't want it ruined by a surprise WOOHPing!"
"Never fear, Marc," said the mustached man behind the desk, whom the four youths knew as Jerry. "The standard holograms have been generated to take your place until I'm finished with you."
"That's a relief," said Megan, "but why call us in so urgently?"
"Yeah," Lee added, "you usually wouldn't call us in before first period unless some really bad stuff was going down."
"Really bad stuff is right, Lee," Jerry replied, his voice quickly growing serious. "I've got some quite distressing news. It seems the twin criminal masterminds Alpha and Omega have escaped from containment once again."
The announcement shocked all four spies, whose simultaneous startled exclamations filled the office.
"Quite right," said Jerry, bringing up an image on the computerized screen hanging above his desk. On the screen were images of Alpha and Omega's dramatic escape, which involved the destruction of several WOOHP helicopters and saw dozens of agents incapacitated as the twins wreaked havoc at a WOOHP prison facility. "As you can see, the twins remain as dangerous as ever, especially now that they're at large."
"How the heck are we gonna stop 'em?" asked Tony, blinking his eyes quickly.
"Last time we fought Alpha and Omega we had mom and dad helping us," Megan noted, "but I doubt Jerry can restore them to active WOOHP duty again…"
"I have another plan," said Jerry. "I've decided to take on a new agent. She was recruited from your school and she passed all the training courses with ease."
"She?" Tony blurted out. "There's a new girl in WOOHP?"
"I hope she's cute!" said Lee excitedly.
"I hope it's Sheena!" Marc chimed in.
"I just hope it's not Tami," Megan said, causing her three brothers to look over at her.
"Tami? Get real," said Lee dismissively. "The day Tami joins WOOHP is the day I give up weightlifting and protein shakes!"
"Spies, I'd like you all to meet the newest member of WOOHP," said Jerry, as a clear glass capsule was lowered into the room, containing a silhouetted figure. The four Clark siblings leaned forward in anticipation, curious to see just who their newest teammate would be. "Here she is, Ms. Tara Prefontaine."
The capsule retracted into the ceiling, leaving the person it had deposited standing before the spies, a proud smile on her face. Megan's eyes widened and she was the first to give a big smile at Tara's arrival.
"Awesome!" said Megan, once again awestruck by the highly athletic girl standing before her. "Welcome to the team, Tara!"
While Megan was happy, and Marc and Tony were mostly indifferent, Lee stood with his mouth agape, wondering how his athletic rival could've possibly gotten into the world's greatest spy organization.
"Hmm, looks like someone's not happy to see me," said Tara, continuing to smirk at Lee. "Or did your face just get stuck that way?"
"Miss Prefontaine broke the record on the WOOHP obstacle course during her initial examinations," noted Jerry proudly.
"That was my record!" Lee shouted, his eyes still wide in amazement.
"Guess that makes another of your records I've broken," said Tara, walking over to Lee and placing a hand on his shoulder. "I'm sure it was a nice long ride at the top for you, huh?"
"She also beat me at the science fair with that computer of hers…" said Marc, the annoyance in his voice betraying his dismay.
"And she beat my record for highest jump at the skate park!" Tony added.
"She planted more trees than me in the Young Arboreal Competition, but you don't see me whining about Tara being here," said Megan, groaning at her jealous brothers. "I think Tara will be a great addition to the team!"
"You're just happy because it means us guys don't outnumber you three to one," said Lee, crossing his arms over his chest. "But we still outnumber you three to two!"
"Awww, you can count?" Tara cooed tauntingly. "I don't mind being outnumbered, I bet I could take all three of you on!"
"Oh yeah?" Lee shouted back, leaning forward and clenching his fists.
"Great comeback," said Tara casually, "but don't make me mad or I'll-"
"Both of you need to calm down," said Jerry, "and focus on the mission ahead. It's a very dangerous mission and I was reluctant to assign a rookie agent to the job, even one with Tara's talents. Tara, you're to follow the instructions given to you by Lee and the others during the mission, it's of utmost importance that you stay safe and learn from them during this time."
"Yeah yeah, okay," said Tara, turning away from Lee to face Jerry. "So, what's the mission?"
Jerry filled Tara in quickly on Alpha and Omega's recent activities, adding that they were last spotted robbing a rest stop on the highway leading into Southdale.
"It looks like they're coming to your hometown, spies," said Jerry, noticing that WOOHP's GPS trackers had placed the twins about twenty miles from the city and closing quickly.
"Probably to get revenge for us stopping them last time," said Megan.
"You must intercept them before they reach Southdale, who knows what kind of havoc they could cause? For this mission, you'll all be receiving the suction cup dart guns…"
"A kid's toy?" Tara said dismissively, picking up what looked like a blue plastic toy gun off the gadget table. She pointed the gun at Lee's face.
"Careful with that, Tara, it's not a toy," said Jerry. "The suction cup darts it fires can expand into rubber encasements to trap any criminal they touch. The gun can also be set to grapple mode, the suction cups will stick to buildings and you'll be able to climb up on the rope that fires out."
"Awesome!" said Tony, posing briefly with the gun before pointing to a small, orange switch on the side. "But what's this one-"
Tara had already flicked the switch to its third setting and fired at Lee's face, causing a small dart to emerge from the gun. Before Lee could react, the dart expanded so that the suction cup was the size of his face, and the rubber quickly affixed to it, causing his entire face to be covered. An eight-inch foam handle stuck comically out from the suction cup.
"That can be used to cover up a criminal's face and prevent them from seeing," said Jerry in a monotone, as Megan and Marc both tried to help Lee pull the large dart off of his face while Tony began laughing loudly.
"Or speaking," Tara remarked, smirking at the fact that all of Lee's angry exclamations were muffled by the suction cup. "Guess this toy is pretty cool after all."
After Marc and Megan finally managed to pry the dart off of Lee, he stood glaring at Tara with a large, circular red mark on his face.
"That wasn't funny!" shouted Lee, "and the next time you use a WOOHP gadget on me is gonna be your last, got it?"
"You really should be more careful, Tara," said Megan, in a much calmer tone. "If that had been something more dangerous, Lee could've been seriously hurt!"
"She's right, Tara, consider this one of your first lessons, never be reckless with WOOHP equipment around one of your fellow agents," said Jerry.
"I know, I know," said Tara, nodding her head. "Can't we just get this show on the road?"
Jerry nodded and quickly described the other gadgets that the spies would be using, passing them out and reminding them that they didn't have very much time to catch Alpha and Omega.
"Okay then, let's go!" shouted Lee, striking a familiar pose. The four Clark siblings quickly changed into their spy uniforms, punctuating the instantaneous appearance of the uniforms with quick poses and loud battle cries.
Not one to be outdone, Tara threw a series of punches and kicks as she began changing, punctuating everything with several elaborate flips, the final one propelling her several feet into the air as she landed in a victorious pose, her arms outstretched high in the air as she stood in a shimmering gold bodysuit similar to that worn by the other spies. She was also standing right in front of them. The four Clarks looked over at her as she posed, all of them silent and blinking.
"Uh… a little much?" Lee said quietly.
"You WISH you could pose as awesomely as me," Tara replied. "Now let's go kick some twin tooshy!"
Meanwhile, in a big 18-wheel semi truck that was barreling down the highway toward Southdale, sat two of the world's most vicious criminals… the wicked and creepy twins Alpha and Omega. Alpha sat at the wheel, a smirk on his face matched by his twin brother.
"Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" Omega asked jokingly before launching into a burst of laughter. "Oh, I can barely contain my excitement!"
"We'll be in those spies' hometown in fifteen minutes, and then we'll be free to wreck up the place to our hearts' content!" Alpha declared, pressing his foot down hard on the gas and pushing the truck as fast as it would go.
The truck continued on until the twins could see five specks toward the top of their windshield. The specks grew larger and larger, and could soon be identified as people. Omega gave another gleeful laugh as he realized who was coming.
"Brother, it seems the spies have decided to come to us instead!" shouted Omega, twitching in anticipation. "That'll shave off some of our driving time!"
"Oh, we're still wrecking their town," said Alpha, continuing to drive even as the kid spies approached. "The only difference is that now they won't be there to see the aftermath!"
Up in the air, the Clarks and Tara could spot the truck speeding down below. They began swooping down to meet it, all except Tara feeling a familiar nervousness creeping up as they prepared to engage the dangerous twins.
"Remember, these guys are capable of anything," said Lee.
"And so am I!" Tara interrupted, increasing the thrust on her jet boots and plummeting down toward the truck. "Man, these things are awesome!"
"Tara, wait!" Lee shouted as Megan let out a gasp. "You can't take those guys alone!"
Thinking quickly, Megan increased the thrust to her own boots and flew down after Tara.
"You guys stick to the plan!" shouted Megan as she briefly looked back up to her brothers. "I'll make sure Tara doesn't get herself killed!"
Inside the truck, the twins could see that one of the spies had broken off from the pack. It was a figure unfamiliar to them, but they weren't intimidated in the least by their unknown attacker.
"Seems this girl's a glutton for punishment," said Alpha.
"Well then, let's feed her!" Omega replied, leaping out of the passenger side window and up onto the top of the truck's cabin. "Oh little girl, come and catch me if you can!"
"All right then, if you insist!" Tara said, smiling and pointing her dart gun at Omega. She'd set it for containment mode, and soon, a small dart was heading right for Omega's forehead. On contact, it expanded into a large sheet of orange rubber that completely encased his body, causing the twin to roll onto the top of the truck's cargo container. "Ha! One down already!"
Tara did a victorious pose as the bag containing Omega began to squirm on top of the truck. Megan stopped and did a quick double-take, wondering if Tara really had just captured one of the world's most dangerous beings that easily.
"Wow, I guess they really weren't expecting that…"
Meanwhile, Lee, Tony, and Marc had split off into a triangular-shaped attack formation to wait for the truck's next move. They too could see that Tara had incapacitated Omega, and Lee couldn't help but be both a little impressed and a little jealous.
"Beginner's luck," said Lee to himself, continuing to watch as the bag squirmed on top of the truck. "…huh?"
The bag was beginning to flex and distend, though Tara was preoccupied with the truck's cabin, flying backward to get a good shot at Alpha as he began to pass beneath her.
"And now for the other one…" Tara said quietly, reading her shot. On top of the truck, the bag containing Omega suddenly ripped open, and without warning, two long arms stretched toward the oblivious rookie spy.
"It's never that easy!" Omega shouted with a laugh.
"Look out!" Megan suddenly cried, flying at Tara and pushing her out of the way. Omega's double punch missed Tara and landed a glancing blow on Megan, bruising her cheek. The impact send her plummeting to the road below, where she took a hard landing in the middle of one of the lanes, letting out a loud cry of pain. "Nnnnngggh!"
"MEGAN!" Marc shouted at the top of his lungs, his eyes wide with terror as he watched his sister impact the pavement. Tony and Lee were both equally frightened, and as Tara looked down to see why she had been pushed, she too couldn't help but gasp and feel a twinge of fear go down her spine.
"That… that could've been me!" thought Tara, her confidence wavering for the first time. "Megan, I…!"
On the ground, Megan let out a groan. Because of her spy suit, the impact against the hard asphalt had only dazed her, but she wasn't out of the woods yet. She looked up to see a red Chrysler barreling toward her at seventy-five miles at hour, unable to brake fast enough to avoid hitting her. The girl looked up and gasped, realizing that within a few split-seconds, she'd become a smear on the pavement.
"Oh no…!" Megan thought, placing a hand to her lips.
Just an instant before impact, Megan was lifted to safety by her brother Marc, who had broken formation just in time to reach Megan and carry her up into the air, preventing a horrific tragedy. Megan and Marc both breathed the biggest relieved sighs of their lives, while Tony had already decided to go after Omega, wanting to make the twin pay for nearly killing his sister. The youngest of the Clarks landed on the truck and faced down Omega, swallowing his fear as he engaged the criminal in a one-on-one staredown.
"You're not gonna make it to our town, you big jerk!" shouted Tony, putting up his fists. "And you're not gonna get away for hitting Megan!"
"Blah blah blah, so much talk, but can you back it up?" asked Omega, crouching down into a fighting stance. "Well, can you?"
Tony ran at Omega and threw as quick and as powerful a punch he could at the villain's head, only for Omega to disappear completely, as if he'd teleported away. As Tony whirled around, the villain emerged right behind him, stunning the boy with a kick so fierce it knocked him all the way to the back of the cargo container.
"Unnnh… maybe this was a bad idea…" Tony groaned, picking himself up from the metallic floor. While Tony was getting ready to try again, Tara and Lee flew over to Marc and Megan, whose brief flirtation with danger had left them far behind the truck… and far behind Tony.
"What were you thinking?" shouted Lee as Tara came over to talk to Megan. Tara nervously rubbed the back of her head, but her proud nature wasn't about to let her admit fault.
"I thought I had a good shot, okay?" Tara replied. "I hit him, didn't I?"
"It's gonna take a lot more than some rubber containment bag to keep those twins down, trust me," said Marc, still holding the dazed Megan until she could support herself and stay off the ground. "It was really reckless to break formation, Tara…"
Tara let out a long sigh.
"I'm sorry about what happened, Megan… if I had gotten you hurt-"
"Don't feel bad, Tara," Megan replied with a smile. "We're all okay and that's all that matters."
"But-" Lee stammered, clearly wanting to continue his tirade. "Come on, Megan, she nearly got you killed! I'm not just gonna let her get off with half a talking-to!"
"There'll be time for yelling later, right now the twins are getting away… and Tony's missing!" Megan said, her eyes widening at this last realization.
"Tony…! He must've stayed back to stop the twins!" said Lee, quickly getting his mind back into determined leader mode. "Okay guys, we have to catch up with those creepy twins… and Tara-"
"I know, I know, do everything you say," said Tara, rolling her eyes. "Tony needs our help, let's go save him!"
The spies gave quick pursuit, flying off as fast as their jet boots would take them. Back on top of the truck, Omega was giving Tony everything he could handle, and then some. The young boy had been battered around the small battlefield and was now favoring his right arm after it had been the target of a vicious sweeping kick.
"I'm surprised you're still standing!" Omega taunted, watching as Tony staggered toward him.
"I'm not giving up!" Tony shouted fearlessly. "Oh man, if the others don't get here soon I'm as good as roadkill!"
Tony took out his dart gun and fired a shot at Omega's face, hoping to blind him. The dart flew quickly at its target, but Omega swiftly dodged and the projectile sailed harmlessly past him. Tony tried several more times, but Omega dodged each dart, and soon, the gun was completely out of ammunition.
"Aw, crud!" shouted Tony, trying to switch settings on the gun, only to have it suddenly kicked out of his hands. "!"
"Enough of that now!" said Omega, lunging forward and grabbing the boy by the throat. "I think this is where you get off!"
Tony struggled as Omega pushed him backward toward the edge of the truck. His eyes grew wide and he tightly gripped around Omega's wrist, desperately trying to keep a grip on him before being flung off. He could feel his feet starting to lift up off the back of the cargo container.
"This is it…!" thought Tony, snapping his eyes closed.
"Tony!" shouted Lee, appearing seemingly out of nowhere and flying toward his younger brother and Omega. He withdrew another gadget from his belt, a handful of Clingy Static Sticky Burrs. "Eat this, Omega!"
Lee threw the small red objects, which somewhat resembled toy jacks, down at Omega from above. The objects stuck to Omega's clothing like burrs, dispensing a quick electrical shock that temporarily stunned the villain and paralyzed his limbs.
"Eeeeggghhh!" grunted Omega, dropping Tony from his grip. Tony's feet hit the edge of the truck and the boy wobbled for a brief moment, nearly falling off before a gentle hand pushed him forward. The yellow-clad boy looked back and up to see Marc holding him steady and keeping him from falling.
"Whoa, thanks!" said Tony, who then looked up to see Megan and Tara sweeping above his head. "Are they going to stop Alpha?"
"Heck yeah we are!" said Tara, looking over at Megan who was flying alongside her. "Aim for the tires, right?"
"Right!" Megan replied. The two girls flew down along both sides of the truck, while Lee, Tony, and Marc quickly flew up and off.
"Let's hope this works," said Lee, while a worried thought echoed through the back of his mind. "And let's hope Tara doesn't get reckless and screw it up…"
The two girls flew in perfect formation, holding small aerosol cans in their hands. Out of the cans came a blue substance that coated the wheels of the big rig in slippery ice, causing them to quickly lose their traction. Once all the tires had been coated, Megan and Tara flew up and over the truck to join the other spies.
"Neat Instant Icing Spray," said Tara as she looked at the can. "Why couldn't I have just used this on Alpha and Omega from the start?"
"Very limited range, you have to be real close to what you're spraying," replied Megan. "And by the time you got close enough, those two would probably be able to beat you."
"Not likely," said Tara.
As she and the Clark siblings watched, Alpha and Omega's 18-wheeler began to run off the road. Still somewhat paralyzed atop the truck, Omega let out a loud gasp and raced to climb inside the cabin just as the truck rolled off the side of the pavement, hitting the grass hard and breaking through the guardrail. The truck tumbled into a field and kicked up a spectacular cloud of dust, rolling over several times before coming to a stop in the middle of the field as a twisted heap of metal.
"Wow, that stopped them dead in their tracks," noted Tara with a smirk.
"Yeah, we really should've done that sooner," Tony added.
"We had to wait until there weren't many other cars on the road, and until the truck had reached a spot where it wouldn't hit anything or anyone when it rolled off," said Megan. "Come on guys, let's go catch them before they get away!"
The five spies flew over to the site of the wreckage while a quizzical look appeared on Tara's face.
"Catch them?" Tara asked, raising an eyebrow. "I think after all that we should probably be more worried about whether they ended up in one piece! I assume WOOHP wants all the bad guys it captures to be taken alive."
"Trust me, they're in one piece," said Marc, a worried tone in his voice. The five landed near the crash site and began walking toward the battered, crumpled truck as smoke and dust filled the air around them. The five split up to perform a thorough inspection of the wreck. "They should both be in the cabin…"
"Well, they're not," said Tara, peering inside. "There's nothing in here at all…"
"That's not possible," said Lee, quickly going over to inspect the cabin himself. "…maybe they got into the back somehow?"
"Nope," Megan replied, looking over the big, twisted piece of metal that used to be the truck's cargo compartment. "No sign of them in here either!"
"You gotta be kidding!" Tony shouted, looking over the side of the wreck. "There's no way they could've gotten out that fast!"
"The wreck kicked up an awful lot of dust, they probably slipped out in the dust cloud," said Marc, prompting Lee to give an exasperated sigh.
"They got away," groaned Lee.
"Look on the bright side," replied Tara. "We wrecked their ride and bought ourselves some time. The next time they show up, we'll pound them!"
"The next time they show up, they could be destroying all of downtown Southdale!" Lee said, sighting again. "I guess we better call and tell Jerry that Alpha and Omega got away… maybe he can help us track them down before they reach the city."
Lee took out his communicator and informed Jerry of the situation, to which Jerry responded with a bit of disappointment, though he'd anticipated that Alpha and Omega wouldn't be caught so quickly.
"At least they're not racing toward Southdale in a speeding truck," said Jerry, prompting Tara to lean her head into view.
"That's what I said! We'll find those two jerks and kick their butts faster than you can say-"
"Tara was really reckless today," Lee said, pushing the girl out of the way. "She charged into the fight without any order from me and she nearly got Megan and Tony hurt!"
"I wanted to stop them!" Tara shouted, clenching her teeth and her fists. "If you'd just let me kick their butts before, they wouldn't be on the loose now!"
"You can't kick their butts, they're too strong for any of us to face alone! Last time it took all of us AND our parents and even then we just barely-"
"Who's the one who set all the new WOOHP records, huh? If anyone can bring them down it's me!"
"We work as a team!"
"Enough, both of you!" shouted Megan, pushing Lee and Tara away from each other. As they tried to get in each other's faces again, Marc and Tony tried to hold them both back, with very little success. "This fighting isn't getting us any closer to taking down Alpha and Omega!"
"I agree with Megan. You all need to return to school immediately. I'll keep tabs on any sign of the terrible twins and you'll be notified as soon as I've spotted them. Get some rest and try to work out your differences, I'll need all of you working together on all cylinders to recapture these two!"
Jerry's words managed to calm down both Tara and Lee, and the two of them turned away from each other after Lee had put up his communicator. Though Tara was proving to be a skilled spy and a potentially valuable member of the team, Lee's mind was filled with doubts, and he knew that he couldn't let the headstrong girl endanger any of his siblings again.
"The next time she messes up, it's over!" thought Lee, his arms across his chest. "It'll either be her leaving WOOHP, or me!"
Meanwhile, Tara was equally steamed, her eyes focused on the sky in a cold glare.
"Who does he think he is, anyway? Bossing me around? If anyone should be leader of the team, it's me! Next time, I'll show him!"
The Clark siblings and Tara resumed their normal school day just after lunch, the holograms having provided them enough cover for their absences not to be noticed. They tried to get through school smoothly, but their minds continued to drift back to Alpha and Omega and the serious threat they both posed. Lee and Tara's minds were focused on each other. They tried not to speak or look at each other as they sat in classes together or passed in the halls, but they couldn't help shooting each other glares throughout the day.
After the last class ended, Megan, Marc, and Tony went to the bus to head back home. Lee stayed behind, looking for Tara. He still had to tell her how he felt about what had happened earlier that day.
He spotted Tara behind the school, staring across the back parking lot toward the athletic fields. As he went to confront her, she raced off to the running track and began sprinting around it as fast as she could.
"What's she doing?" Lee asked himself, running after Tara. "Didn't she hear Jerry say that we had to keep our strength up?"
Lee continued to run, but Tara was somewhat faster, and soon, the redheaded boy found himself further and further behind. Tara shot Lee a smile as she looked back, acknowledging his presence… which only seemed to make Lee more and more angry.
"She's ignoring me on purpose!" thought Lee. "Tara… wait… wait!"
After several attempts to call out to her, Lee redoubled his efforts in catching her, but was soon more than a hundred feet off the pace. Letting out a loud sigh, he decided to stop and turn around, racing off in the other direction to meet her at the finish line. Tara continued to sprint, her powerful legs bursting with speed, shuttling her around the track at a prodigious pace. She saw Lee standing still about a hundred feet in front of her.
"What is he doing, is he trying to get me to run into him? I'd better see what he wants…"
Tara came to a stop just a few feet away from Lee, putting her hands on her hips and locking eyes with him.
"What do YOU want?" Tara asked, raising an eyebrow. "I thought Jerry told us to stop arguing."
"I don't want to argue with you, Tara…" replied Lee, trying to inject some calmness into his voice. "I just want you to know that if you're going to be a part of WOOHP, we have to work as a team."
"I don't mind being part of a team," said Tara. "I'm on the track team, I'm on the swim team, I'm trying to get them to let me be a part of the basketball and football teams…"
"I meant that we have to work together, stick to a plan, one of us can't just go off on their own, okay? No matter how good you think you are, there's always someone better."
"Like how I'm better than you?" asked Tara, leaning down and smiling.
"I'm not even getting through to her…!" thought Lee, continuing to resist the urge to raise his voice. "Tara, I know how you feel… I'm just as competitive as you. Sometimes I feel like I just have to do stuff on my own, but it can get me into trouble…"
Lee was having a hard time admitting his faults, especially to someone like Tara, who he knew would probably just make fun of him afterward. He thought that perhaps if he put his pride aside, he could make her do the same. He continued.
"Like this one time, there was this guy called Mel, and he captured some of the older spies. I was really mad because, well… it's complicated, but I ended up trying to go after him myself, and I got caught too. So-"
"So you were careless and you got caught. Or maybe it's because you weren't good enough. Do you actually think I'd let something like that happen to me? I'm Tara Prefontaine, the best athlete, mathlete, computer genius, skateboarder, scholar, young environmentalist, citizen, and all-around achiever at Southdale Junior High! I never back down from a challenge or a fight and I never surrender! And if you think you're gonna scare me with some story about how a bad guy caught you, you can think again! Next time we see Alpha and Omega I'll show you how good I really am! Now… got anything else to say?"
Lee couldn't believe what he was hearing. He'd poured his heart out to Tara, he'd tried to be calm and not get into a fight with her, and she still dismissed him and everything he'd told her. It was clear to Lee that Tara was going to be a huge danger to herself, to him, and to his three younger siblings by completely wrecking their team chemistry.
"Someone like her doesn't belong in WOOHP at all…! I've got to tell Jerry how I feel about this before Alpha and Omega have a chance to take advantage of this and destroy us all!"
Lee's eyes narrowed and he opened his mouth to tell Tara everything he was really thinking. It was then that his and Tara's communicators both went off at the same time.
"Spies, it's an emergency! Alpha and Omega are attacking the city! I've already sent Megan, Marc, and Tony to deal with the situation but you two have to head downtown immediately!"
"Jerry," Lee began, looking over at Tara. "I have to-"
"There's no time! Suit up and get downtown on the double!"
"You heard him, Lee," said Tara, pressing the red button on her communicator that caused her to instantly change into her gold spy suit. "Time to beat those twins down!"
"…right," Lee said nervously, changing into his own red outfit and getting ready to move. "I just hope Tara doesn't get us all killed…"
To be continued…