Author's foreword: This story is complete, but it is not "Finished". It needs a lot of work in editing and rewriting. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless, but thank you for the time you spend reading.
The Utonium Trials
The City of Townsville
A fanciful - almost melodic - humming filled the room as Bubbles vocalized the tune she heard in her head as she drew. She was lying on her stomach, down at the foot of her and her sister's bed, as she carefully outlined the shape of the kitty she was drawing. She felt the animal of the day was definitely feline. She wasn't sure yet what kind. So she started with a house cat and might move on to a lion or maybe an ocelot. If she had time, she would draw until it came to her.
"Bubbles, stop making so much noise! I am trying to work here!" Buttercup snarled as she gazed at the desktop computer shared by the three of them, a gift and privilege given to the girls by the Professor on their last birthday. She quietly tapped a few letters, stared at the screen a moment, before erasing her meager progress.
Bubbles stopped her humming and her drawing to look at her relatively dour sister. "I'm sorry, dear sister, for slowing your work to please your adoring fans." She returned to the kitty, starting make lighter outlines for the stripes on cat. Buttercup "hmph"-ed and clacked a few more words. Bubbles continued with a small smile on her face, "All seven of them."
Buttercup growled and started to defend herself, "My stories have over a hundred fans each! What have you-" Bubbles interrupted before she could get too testy.
"Relax, relax! I was just joking with you, Buttercup. I am didn't mean to-"Bubbles stood suddenly, interrupting herself, "Mailman's here!" She heard him a block away, tuning out the rest of the neighborhood. Learning how to selectively tune their hearing was one of the first talents she and her sister had mastered. Bubbles would otherwise be constantly bothered by the sounds of sparrows and squirrels arguing or by new baby of the couple across the street. She blurred out of the room and down the stairs into the home's entrance hall, flying most of the way. A second was all it took for her to travel the length of the house, passing the living room where Blossom was sitting on the couch studying some subject. Bubbles opened the front door and paused to look out at the world.
Bubbles looked out at the sunny, glorious Saturday. She could smell the fresh air. She could see some neighborhood kids down the street. She could feel that there was nothing wrong in the city right now. It was almost second nature anymore, knowing when the city was in trouble. Strolling peacefully down the sidewalk to the street and to their mailbox, the blonde Powerpuff girl waited patiently for Mr. Mailman.
She had met the mailman at the mailbox every day for the last two years, except when she was fighting the next threat to Townsville. She knew that Mr. Derrick Sanders has delivered mail for ten years. He has been married for seven. He and his wife, whom he met in the sorting room of Townsville Post Office, had a daughter who was six years old and just entering the first grade, two grades behind the Bubbles and her sisters. He was driving up now, stopping at the house just before the Professor's, but she could see his grin through the windshield of the mail-truck. Bubbles grinned back.
He drove up and stopped at their mailbox, "Hello, Bubbles!" he jovially exclaimed, as he searched for their mail.
Bubbles cheerfully replied, "Hello, Mr. Mailman! How are you?" Six months ago, Bubbles had tried to call him "Mr. Sanders". She thought it sounded more adult than just "Mr. Mailman". His reaction to her new name for him had been dramatic. He looked shocked, and asked if everything was alright and if she was okay. She returned to calling him Mr. Mailman the day following. Bubbles didn't want to make him uncomfortable.
"Good as always, Bubbles. No troubles in the city today?" He smiled, as he finally found their mail, and handed it to the azure clad Powerpuff girl.
She took the three envelopes, and gave an honest answer, "Nope, nothing yet. But we are always ready for trouble if it comes! Thanks for the mail! Have a good day!" She waved to him as he rolled forward again, moving to the next house. She flicked through the mail as she walked towards the front door. There was an envelope with the logo of a magazine on it, trying to get them to subscribe again. There was a thank-you letter from a bike shop, which they saved from a giant ogre monster.
The last letter, however, was strange. It was far dourer than the usual mail they usually got. The manila envelope was addressed to the Professor and came from someone named Daniel Mitternach. His title was Chief of Police! He was from Citysville?
Bubbles closed the door behind her, her gaze not leaving the envelope. She could hear Blossom ask softly, "Anything interesting today?" as she turned another page in the textbook.
Bubbles blinked and looked up, now able to see her sister, settled on the couch. "The Professor got mail from the Chief of Police… of Citysville." Blossom stopped highlighting some passage in the textbook, and the distant clack of keys stopped coming from above. After a moment of comprehension ticked off, there was a soft "whoosh" and a green shape, as Buttercup appeared downstairs, standing before Bubbles.
Her emerald-eyed sister looked at her impatiently and said, "Well? Read it. What does it say?" They all remembered that fateful two days they spent in the town of Citysville. None of them remembered it with pleasure. It was the only place their powers were banned by law. Whatever came from Citysville could not be good news.
Blossom spoke up, "Tampering with the mail is a federal offense, Buttercup." Blossom was always mindful of keeping her sisters out of trouble. She had closed the text book she was reading, a third grade English book, and stared at the pair of them, to demonstrate she was serious.
Buttercup waved her off, saying, "I didn't say open it. Use your x-ray vision, Bubbles. Or have you forgotten how again?" Buttercup would never let Bubbles live down the time she forgot she could see through walls and stuff while she pestered the Professor about what gifts were under the Christmas tree. Bubbles still maintained that not using her x-ray had made opening the gifts far more exciting.
Still, Bubbles frowned and tilted her head back, not going to take such sass without comment, "Of course not! I was just checking to see if you remembered." And as if to prove the point, she lifted the envelope in front of her eyes, flat, so it was easiest to read.
She had just about gotten to where she could read the first line when Blossom flew over and snatched the envelope from her grasp Blossom levitated about three feet above them as Bubbles crossly reacted, "Hey, I nearly had it!"
The rosy-eyed leader of the sisters looked down at the pair of them, "Yes, but we shouldn't be snooping in on his business. He works hard enough and we agreed to make his life as easy as possible, right? That includes not reading private mail."
Bubbles and Buttercup looked at each other. The green one sighed, "All right, all right. We will give it to him when he comes out for dinner." Buttercup floated back upstairs, while Blossom landed, handing the letter back to her blue sister.
"Put it on the kitchen countertop, we will give it to him later." Bubbles nodded in response to her sister's words and drifted in the direction of the kitchen. Her bright mood was returning rather quickly as she remembered that she had secreted away three cookies at the back of the pantry just for herself. She absentmindedly threw the mail onto the counter and started towards the door to their small, but well-stocked, pantry. Now, where were those cookies, she pondered as she searched through the boxes and containers in the food closet.
Bubbles had only settled back where her art sat unfinished, the trio of cookies in hand, when the hotline beeped its clarion call. She put down the drawing pencil. With a mental sigh she looked to the jaguar she had just started. She already felt it wasn't the animal of the day anyway. From downstairs, she heard Buttercup's eager cry of, "Another monster is attacking the town!" and the sound of her sisters speeding off.
Only a moment behind her sisters, she zoomed out of one of the open windows in their room. She had to fly a bit faster than usual cruising speed to catch up. She was quick enough to catch them before her sisters got three blocks away. They were only half way to the center to the town when they saw it. Whatever it was, it had crawled… No. It had rolled its way up from the harbor. That was not new, she had seen monsters with wheel-like appendages, or even entire monsters shaped like spheres. This one definitely was the second type.
From what Bubbles could see, it looked like a massive ball of snakes. The snakes looked like they were eight or so feet wide and their coils were so tangled up and knotted that she couldn't figure out where one snake started and the next ended. It might not even end. Maybe it was all connected to some center. The entire mass barely fit between buildings on the five lane street. It was rolling slowly but unimpeded, simply crushing entire cars beneath its coils. As it rolled, its many heads flattened in front as the heads in the back lifted again to observe its surroundings. At any given moment, there were seven or eight heads up and looking around. It was making good progress, already a mile from the coast.
Bubbles didn't have much time to examine the beast however, as the heads were snapping at the fleeing citizens of Townsville. The girls had to act. Blossom shouted out her orders in fast succession, "Buttercup-stop-and-disable-the-heads-Bubbles-try-to-slow-it-down-I-am-going-to-get-people-out-of-here!" And they broke apart, each to their respective tasks.
The blonde girl raced to the "front" of the snake thing, its sides scraping the buildings on each side as it moved further into the town. Bubbles wasn't sure she would be able to stop the thing. It was massive and, unlike two legged monsters, it really couldn't lose its balance and fall over. She could see from here that the scales on the monsters were not really scales. They seemed to be able to move independently of each other and would push off of walls and the ground to move forward.
Bubbles remembered she had a job to do beyond monster watching. She zoomed to a spot about one block in front of the thing. Facing the monster, the azure hero pushed forward, flying in the standard flight pose: fists forward and looking straight at her target. There was a lot of momentum she could build in a block's distance. She hit one of the many coils, going subsonic, about the speed of a jet airliner.
Had Bubbles had a choice, she would have preferred to hit a brick wall. She could get through brick walls, even most metal walls. Whatever the monster was made of, it had about a foot of give, before all her momentum was absorbed. The recoil was painful, her elbows bucking and her shoulders ached fiercely.
The blow knocked the breath from her lungs and she bounced off of the scales. She was stunned for half a second but recovered far before she hit the ground, just before one of the undulating snake heads open mouth full of sharp needle teeth could close on her. She zipped away, giving herself a block of space to think.
Breathing hard, Bubbles frowned at the monster, which had the courtesy of being at least slowed by the sudden impact. Of course, its deceleration could also have been because of Buttercup, who was darting, lighting fast, amongst the heads, giving the occasional smack when one got too close. Blossom was carrying away a sedan filled with kids and their parents. With a blink, Bubbles didn't spare any more time looking to her sisters. She gave herself another block to charge, as the monster even now recovered and was accelerating forward.
This time, Bubbles attacked feet first so she was able to fold her knees as she hit. She pushed off from the monster's pseudo-scales, just as another head tried to snap at her. The teeth were surprisingly white and numerous; nothing at all like a real snake. Out of its reach and another block ahead, Bubbles came in for a third strike, this time low and upwards, like an uppercut to the jaw.
Each blow slowed its speed. Bubbles could see it was having a hard time recovering its velocity down the street which gave Blossom time to carry three more cars to safety. Bubbles turned her gaze again to the monster, who was getting closer. She could see that three of its heads at the "front" was staring at her. Once they saw her looking back, they screamed an atonal challenge at her.
Bubbles took a deep breath. She didn't usually like to do this, but she had been told to slow it down. Bubbles opened his mouth and really screamed. The massive sonic blast shattered most of the windows as it traveled down the street, channeled by the buildings between her and the monster. Several cars were rocked on their side, and the city wildlife fled the sound. The effects on the monster were dramatic. Her sonic scream blasted back the snake heads that had been watching her, and the whole ball seemed to writhe in pain. It twitched a few moments, one or two heads looking around befuddled, as if just waking up. As it finally rolled to a halt, winded Bubbles flew up above the rolling mass to meet up with Buttercup.
Buttercup was looking cross, saying, "Whatever it uses for bones, they don't break easy. I can knock the head almost completely around, but I barely even phased it." Bubbles have the breath to respond, still sucking in air. Buttercup was rubbing her left ear in discomfort, which made Bubbles feel a little bad. The pair looked down at the still stunned monster as Blossom made her way up to them.
"Anything else to report? I hadn't time to watch you two." Blossom was looked a little tense, probably because she hadn't been able to watch their progress.
Bubbles spoke up between gulps of air, "The tangled body- is heavy! I hit the-center mass at just below- sonic speed. It barely slowed! It doesn't- seem to like my scream though." She chuckled, happy to see she had an advantage over the monster. The blue-eyed sister's levity fell, however, as the monster already began to recover. It looked agitated too, worse than before, with eleven heads now rising from the sphere of flesh. Several were lashing out at the surrounding buildings, caving in several walls without more challenge than an adult had with a piñata.
Blossom was glaring down at the monster and took only a moment to react, "Bubbles, keep stunning it. Strafing runs with heat, Buttercup."
Buttercup looked happy with the attack plan and replied with a cheerful, "Got it!" The girls broke from their mini-conference. Bubbles moved to the back of the monster, and took in a deep breath. As she did so, the snakes facing her, just two, suddenly retracted, and she screamed. The sound waves battered the snakes. As they extended again, the heads looked a little dazed, but not as affected as before.
Bubbles quickly tried to regain her breath enough for another blast, it took a few seconds. Seconds her sisters didn't have. Blossom and Buttercup were darting along the tops and sides of the snakes, burning red lasers lancing from their eyes. At first, it looked like the sustained heat was going to work against it. The scales on the snakes' coils were all extended, as if in pain. Even faster than before, the snake heads recovered from the aural assault and were snapping at the girls as they flew passed.
Bubbles screamed again as soon as she could. The snakes, all in concert once again, retracted to brace themselves against their massive knotted body. Dazed, they had trouble snapping at the girls flying above for at least a few seconds.
Bubbles could hear Blossom yelling, "Its scales are acting as heat sinks!" Bubbles looked towards where her sisters were aiming their fiery gaze and saw, sure enough, the scales were all fanning the air quickly, the air around hazy from heat.
Buttercup shouted, "I can fix that!" before sweeping down low over the coils on the snake. Bubbles, still trying to catch her breath, saw her sister grip one of burning hot scales and rip it from the monster's body.
She had removed three more of the scales before Blossom yelled, "Buttercup, move!" Two of the snake heads were roaring in pain and coming straight at her green-eyed sister. Buttercup pushed off from the monster, zooming straight up, as the two heads crashed into each other, a tangle of teeth and coils.
Buttercup shouted to Blossom, "Keep burning it! I'll make an empty patch!" and she zoomed down low for another lightning fast pass at the monster. Blossom continued to try to burn through the monster's skin, as Buttercup snatched up a scale on each of her six hyper-fast flights.
It was the seventh scale-grabbing flight that got Buttercup caught. It happened just as Bubbles was about to scream again. Not paying attention to the reptilian head watching Bubbles, Buttercup had no chance to dodge as it suddenly whipped around to swallow her whole. Bubbles shrieked, "BUTTERCUP NOOOOOOOO!" as monster snapped its mouth shut, and was knocked senseless by the sonic blow.
Buttercup was in serious trouble. Bubbles knew that while she and her sisters were strong enough to lift over five tons, they were only a little stronger than a normal human when bound, unable to move. Blossom explained it once, saying that they didn't actually have super strength, but some sort of energy field that magnified their momentum. If the girls were bound, whether in metal shackles or a monster's claws, they couldn't break free unless they were able to move. Buttercup was currently moving down the gullet of the snake and being crushed by its esophagus. They had to save her fast, or she might suffer real damage.
Blossom was flying down to the head, Bubbles just ahead of her. Blossom shouted, "Pin-it-down! I-will-try-to-pry-its-mouth-open!" Bubbles sped up again, arms forward to push the senseless head down into the pavement below. She hit it hard, going faster than Mach two. Much like the center of its tangled mass, the snake head's body was dense and there was only a little give before she started to slow down. But not before the monster's neck and head were slammed into the pavement. The asphalt cracked like an egg. Blossom was already at its mouth, prying it open. "She-isn't-in-here. Try-to-brace-it-against-the-ground!" Blossom spoke in her ultrafast command voice. Bubbles complied, pushing harder against the ground, wondering how much time they had before the other heads recovered.
Blossom's hands were gripping the top of the monster's jaw. Bubbles saw her sister pull hard, away from Bubbles. Blossom was trying to rip the top of the monster's head off. Bubbles, now aware of what her sister was doing, tried to keep the struggling coils beneath her tamed and trapped. Bubbles was thrown off suddenly as the snake coils she held began to thrash wildly and uncontrollably. She bounced off the ground then landed on the sidewalk, shocked for a moment, before looking to see what was happening. Blossom was thrown off as well, and could be seen tumbling through the air, and the monster looked like it was going into a seizure.
That's when Bubbles saw something odd at the neck of this coil where it met the big center of the beast. It looked like it was… bulging? Suddenly, a red light lanced out from the bulge, and began cutting through more of the flesh on the monster. It took only a few moments for Bubbles to guess what was going. She raced raced over to the spot where Buttercup must have been.
All the other heads were also thrashing in pain, and didn't hassle Bubbles as she reached the growing tear in the snake's body. She gripped the edge of the burned meat and pulled hard, knowing that Buttercup was trying to lase her way out. A pink blur showed that Blossom had recovered, as the pink sister appeared to reach into the wound, ignoring the burning pain from the red light. The red light shut off. With a yank, Blossom pulled her green adorned sister free of the monster's neck. Bubbles and her sisters shot straight up, out of the monster's reach.
Buttercup, covered in slime and blue monster blood, was looking pleased as punch, shouting, "Ha! It doesn't have heat sinks on the inside, now does it! Hahaha!" She zoomed over to one of the other heads, now recovering from the pain. Stopping to hover just in front of its face, she challenged, "Come on! Eat me now! I'll eviscerate you all from the inside!"
The snake head was not stupid enough to take the bait, having learned its lesson. It stared at her with much trepidation and with, Bubbles thought, a little fear. One of the other heads came swinging in to slam against Buttercup as she sat still, and she turned to face it. With a well-timed punch, she deflected the head, and levitated up several feet, turning again to face the challenged snake head. Bubbles and Blossom were well out of range of the other heads, watching their sister and waiting for when something went wrong. When the monster clearly wasn't going to eat them again, they knew they had this monster beat.
It took them another hour but the girls kept the upper hand, taking enough scales off to use their heat vision on the body of the beast. With little real resistance left, it wasn't long before it was feebly swinging its heads in its death throes before finally stilling. Bubbles and Buttercup remained in the area to clean up and move the body back into the ocean where it came from. From there, it would either sink further into the ocean, or one of the companies along the docks would try to gather its body to see if any part could be sold. Blossom headed off to survey the rest of the city for criminals. The little criminal element that existed in Townsville usually tried to make their moves when the monsters attacked, as the whole city was usually distracted.
All in all, it was not until nine at night that the girls could make it back home, tired and unwilling to go to the effort of cooking. They stopped off at a Buttercup's favorite Chinese restaurant, taking enough home for the whole family. The house was exactly as they left it. Each of them took a shower, with Buttercup's shower longer than her sisters, for good reason. After that, they went downstairs to get dinner ready.
Bubbles and Buttercup went about the kitchen, setting up the dinner table while Blossom went to get the Professor. The Professor would forget to eat most nights if the girls didn't keep an eye out for him. It was family tradition any more, to eat dinner together, since the Professor had so much work lately. Bubbles knew whatever he was working on stressed him out, because each night his hair would be mussed and oily, as he ran his hand through it.
She could hear him come up from his underground lab, and he appeared in the dining room doorway, "Hey, girls. How went the fight?" How messed up his hair, Bubbles rated, was about a three on a ten point scale, so his work had been going well. He did look tired, however. In the past three years, he had changed more in appearance than the girls had. He there were tired lines under his eyes, a noticeable stubble growing, and there was even a hint of grey in his hair. Work had really picked up in the last year and a half. He was usually working seven days a week anymore, from seven in the morning to ten at night. There were bags under his eyes, and his lab coat was slightly askew and wrinkled. Bubbles wished that he could get more sleep, but more importantly, she wished that he could spend more time with them.
Buttercup spoke up first, as she doled out the Chinese food, "Good! It looked like a giant ball of tangled snakes, and was nearly too wide to fit down Parsnips Avenue. We took it down after the snake thing found out that its dinner bit back." She grinned to herself, still very pleased. She didn't sit down herself until everyone had their food.
The Professor swallowed the bit of eggroll he had been eating, and said with a proud chuckle, "Ha, that's my girls. There's nothing you can't handle." They all sat and ate quietly for a moment, savoring his praise, when Bubbles realized she nearly forgot the big news of the day.
"Oooh! Professor, you got mail today!" She paused, and leaned forward, speaking conspiratorially, "Mail from Citysville." She glanced over at the kitchen counter to where the mail sat, still unread.
Professor Utonium frowned a bit, "Hmm… I sent that data dump to their lab almost six months ago. What else could they want?" He put down his fork and stood, moving to the counter to take a look.
Bubbles continued, "No, it's not from Citysville lab. It's from the Chief of Police!" She was a little excited to see what it could be for. Her best, most optimistic, guess was that it was a request for the girls to come back and help with a problem and that the law banning their powers was no longer in effect. She couldn't help but hope it was something so positive. She left the sour thinking to Blossom and Buttercup.
The Professor looked a little uneasy when he saw that Bubbles was right. With a little effort, he opened it, and pulled out the folded up documents, what looked like two or three sheets worth. Their maker began scanning the note, his face turning paler after a few seconds.
The girls asked in sync, "What is it, Professor?"
It took him a moment to respond, still reading the letter, before looking over to them, as if remembering they were there. There was silence.
He finally spoke, a little faint, "I have been summoned to talk to one of their officers next week. You three are requested to come. They might have a few question for you as well, it says."
Dinner finished in almost silence, and the girls headed upstairs for bed. Bubbles looked down at the drawings she had left abandoned. She realized what today's animal must have been. She was right from the beginning. Today was definitely a cat. A black cat. Now, Bubbles knew plenty of black cats, and liked them a lot. None of them ever brought her bad luck. Until now.
Bubbles settled into her spot on the bed, holding Octi, something she only did to ease herself when times were rough, anymore. She couldn't sleep for a long time. All she could think about was the Professor's words and the letter.
Whatever the police chief wanted, good or bad, the letter still seemed bad. The girls were returning to the town of Citysville.