Four Weeks Later…
The day had started off normal–well, as normal as a day can be for a group of superheroes:
Everyone - except for Clyde, who was on watch - was sitting in front of the TV watching Stephen King's The Langoliers on the Chiller Network. Kyle was huddled on Stan's lap; both had gentle smiles on their faces - their relationship issues were finally beginning to smooth out as Kenny refused Kyle any sexual comfort when the couple fought. Token and Timmy sat side by side on the opposite end of the couch, leaned back against the back of couch, completely relaxed. And Kenny sat next to Stan's feet on the wooden floor in front of the couch - things were still very tense between them, but they were getting along.
As soon as the movie was over, a session of sparring was planned and carried out. Kyle was now on watch as the session began.
The group had been training tirelessly since Kenny and Kyle's bout with the unidentified redhead four weeks ago, and they were already getting stronger. Attacks were mixed up and turned to the unexpected as they each discovered newer ways to better their abilities or at least make them last longer.
Kenny's flame burned brighter and stronger, and he was working on turning himself into a human torch. Kyle had nearly perfected turning his wind into razor-sharp blades that could cut through anything. Stan had discovered how to control multiple electronics at once, (and actually have memory of it, unlike when he fixed the basement of the Cartman residence). Clyde's mind control had doubled in strength, and he was now able to use a person as if they were a marionette. Token's radioactive rotting leftovers were now able to burn straight through metal. And Timmy had discovered he could actually bend and control metal - including the metal spikes he shot from the hollow eyes of Iron Maiden, which could now grow just slightly.
Around noon, as the entire group was sitting on the edge of the tower's watch balcony eating ice cream and talking - their version of taking a "short break;" it normally lasted an hour - a short high-pitched bell sounded off from one of the supercomputers. It was one of the rare sounds that came from the machine, but they knew it nonetheless: a message from the Super Best Friends.
"I got it," Kenny said as he stood and walked to the supercomputer. He clicked a green button and instantly a projection appeared on a now darkened area of the window across from where the heroes had been relaxing. "Oh, hey Jesus," the blonde greeted to the screen.
"Hey Kenny," Jesus responded. "Where is everyone? They all need to hear this."
"Oh, hold on." Kenny turned and yelled out the others, "Hey, Jesus said all of us need to hear this one!"
Groaning from their break being cut short, the others stood and walked over to be standing around Kenny as they continued to eat their ice cream. Official business be damned! They wanted to finish their ice cream!
"Hi Jesus," Kyle greeted vacantly, "what is it?"
"You guys have been assigned your first mission. Moses is sending the mission file to you now," Jesus explained.
Kenny looked over at the received mail bin as a piece of paper dropped into it. "We got it."
"Great. This mission will mostly be a test of your strength thus far. It's simple, so you can't fail. Be sure to contact me when you've completed your mission."
Kenny switched the hand he was holding his ice cream in and saluted. "Yeah, will do." He relaxed as the image left the screen. "Well," he bent down and picked up the paper, "let's see here."
Location: Denver, Colorado
Mission Leader: Mysterion
Mission: Obtain Information On The Drug Cartel In Denver In Order To Take Down Their Leader
"Information?" Kenny sighed. Such a tedious mission. He looked at the name of the sender and smirked. "The Governor himself has given us this mission."
Kyle raised an eyebrow. "Really?" That's impressive for their first mission.
"What's the mission?" Stan asked.
"We're to retrieve information on the drug cartel in Denver," Kenny said in an official tone he, even now, rarely used. "That's all."
Token raised an eyebrow. "Why's the Governor hiring superheroes to do something a police or FBI unit could?"
"Maybe there's more to it," Clyde pointed out. "Is there anything else?"
"Uh…" Kenny read through the entire thing and said, "Not really. Just the year, the mission leader, and–"
"Who's the mission leader?"
Kyle raised an eyebrow. "Why'd you even ask that Clyde? We all know Kenny's the leader, hell, everyone knows thanks to our appearances around South Park the last few months." There have been a few minor things around the town, mostly robberies and other tedious things. Regardless, the townspeople seem more than grateful for the help and welcome the heroes with open arms.
Clyde shrugged. "Just wondering if they put someone else." Like me.
Stan rolled his eyes. He knew Clyde would be hoping that he'd be the mission leader, though everyone knew that would never happen. "What else was there?"
"The location. Denver," Kenny said pointedly. He dropped the last of his ice cream cone into his mouth. "We should prepare, we'll leave first thing in the morning."
Everyone nodded and left after finished their ice cream. Mostly, they went to get some rest. Tomorrow was going to be a rough day, they could all tell, even without Kenny having to tell them so.
…The Next Day – 1300 Hours – Denver, Colorado – Motel 6…
"Really?" Stan sighed and sat down on one of the beds of the old motel room the group had taken over for the time being. "Doesn't a run-down motel see a bit cliché to you guys?"
"Yeah," Kyle agreed, "it really does." He looked around. Dark, thin walls that needed to be painted, headboards that looked like they should've fallen to the ground years ago, a single small TV on top of a painted wood crate, and then the bathroom - it looked like it hadn't been scrubbed in nearly a year. "Plus I don't feel safe here, even though we are who we are."
"Sorry guys," Kenny said apologetically, "but this is the room Lao Tzu got for us. This is supposed to be the closest they could safely get us to the actual group we need to get information from."
"Well," Clyde sat down on the other bed and crossed his arms over his chest, "what's the plan then?"
The noirette raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"I brought along some clothes and makeup to transform you into Raven." The blonde looked over at his friend, beside him on the bed, Kyle's eyes widened with concern. "A goth buying drugs wouldn't be so farfetched. I do it myself, but unfortunately they know my face and what I have become. That's why I'm sending you in Stan."
Stan nodded. "I understand."
"No!" Kyle shook his head. When everyone looked at him, he hesitantly continued, "I'm sorry, I…I don't wanna sound like I'm questioning your judgment Kenny, but I don't want Stan in that kind of danger."
Kenny sighed. "I know you're worried Kyle, but I thought it through all last night and the entire trip here. Sending Stan in is the best and smartest option. The group we need to intercept is meeting in a warehouse just inside of the residential district, the suburbs. A warehouse is bound to have tools scattered everywhere, so if something goes wrong, Tool Shed can fight his way out." Kyle's eyes slid to the ratty carpet covering the floor, he knew Kenny was right. "And Stan," he turned his attention back to Stan, "should anything go awry, be sure to radio us as soon as you possibly can so we can get you out."
"Right," Stan said shortly with another nod.
"I'll do that," Kyle said before another word could be said. "I can swoop in and grab Stan, we'd be back quickly."
"Actually," Kenny said with an apologetic look, "I was going to have Mosquito do that."
"We can't risk your back splitting open mid-flight! I have no idea what that would do to you, and that's honestly not a risk I'm willing to take! It would not only put you in danger, but Stan also! Think of that!"
Kyle ground his teeth together and tightened his hands on the bedspread. His back hadn't acted up once since that first instance, but everyone did what they could to prevent Kyle from using his kite. "It won't happen."
"Kenny, listen to me! I'm tired of being left behind because you guys are afraid!" He stood and pointed at himself. "I'm not afraid of being hurt by those fucking micro-bots, so just trust me on this!"
Upon seeing the absolute determination on the redhead's face, Kenny sighed resignedly. "Fine. What does everyone else think on the matter?"
"If Kyle thinks he's up for it," Token said with a hint of doubt in his voice, "I say let him do it."
Clyde nodded. "I feel the same."
"Timmy!" Timmy yelled in agreement.
When nothing else was said, Kenny looked at Stan once again. "Stan?"
"…I don't like it. I don't want Kyle risking his safety and even his life for me. If anything happened to him, I might…" Stan rested his forehead in his linked hands. "I might die…"
"So that's a 'no?'"
"It's a no."
"Everyone knows my stance on this matter, but it seems that me and Stan are outnumbered." Kenny looked at Kyle. "Kyle, you will be Tool Shed's emergency lift should anything go wrong."
A small smile rested on the redhead's face and he nodded. "Nothing will go wrong."
"I'll be sure of that," Stan nearly growled. When Kyle glanced at him, he sharply stood and stepped outside.
"Stan," Kyle mumbled with a sigh. He didn't know why Stan was making such a fuss about it; he wasn't going to just stay cooped up because of the micro-bots.
"Kyle, you don't understand Stan's position," Kenny said. "I know you're restless, but it would just be safer for you if you stayed here."
"I know that, but you guys can't keep trying to keep me safe just because of some fucking robots." Kyle stood up. "I'll go talk to him."
"Get him back in here. We need to get his makeup on him."
"Okay." He opened the door and stepped outside to join Stan. "Hey."
Staring at the ground, Stan asked, "Why did you insist on doing this? You know you could get hurt."
"I can't let you go by yourself and I want to be the one near you." Kyle crossed his arms over his chest. "Besides, if things go bad to the point where you could die, I want to be there so that we can fight together until the end."
Stan sighed. "I understand that you want to be by my side for this, but couldn't you try to understand how I feel about it?" He cupped Kyle's cheek and looked seriously into his eyes. "I don't want you hurt."
Kyle held Stan's hand against his face and smiled softly. "I know you're worried, but please don't be. I'll be fine. Besides, nothing gonna go wrong. I'll just be there a precautionary lift out for you. And even if something does go wrong, I will be okay, I won't let you or anyone else down, and refuse to let you guys think I'm useless anymore."
The noirette sighed again. He could see the resolve in Kyle's eyes, there was no changing his mind on the matter. "Fine, but I still don't like it."
"I know Stan, I know."
…2245 Hours – Denver, Colorado – Warehouse 7…
Slowly, a pale teen in a black trench coat and painted in black makeup skulked into the metal warehouse with the white 7 painted over the open bay door. Attached to his right ear, what appeared to be a hanging black inverted cross earring sounded off lowly in his ear.
"Tool Shed–err, Raven," Mysterion's voice said quickly, "remember to get the information we need and get out. Do not engage the targets unless they attack first. Do you understand?"
Raven pressed one finger absently to the side of his head and mumbled, "Yeah, I understand. Don't worry Mysterion; I'll make sure Human Kite doesn't have to exert himself."
"Hey," Human Kite's voice sounded annoyed, "that's not cool! I'm out here just in case you need a lift! You could at least sound grateful!"
"I am," he mumbled, "but I don't want you flying."
Human Kite sighed, "Yeah, I know."
"Okay," Mysterion intervened, "Raven needs to stop talking now, I'm sure he's getting close to the targets. The last thing we need is an immediate extraction. Raven, don't use the radio again unless you need a lift out of there, okay?"
"And Human Kite, don't contact him at all while he's in there. Got it?"
"Right. Over and out."
Raven continued forward, stopping briefly only to be sure that the shotgun, nail gun, and dagger he'd hidden under his trench coat were still there. Hey, you can never be too careful. He turned a small tower of boxes and saw the targets then. A small gathering of four people - five if one more was hiding behind the boxes they were standing next to - standing in a tight group muttering something about crack and money, nothing out of the ordinary for drug dealers.
When none of the men noticed his approach, Raven made his footsteps heavier, causing his boots to echo off of the ground and the metallic walls of the warehouse. That caught their attention; they all looked over at him.
"Hey," one of the men, a blonde, turned to him as the other pulled guns out, "what're you doin' here, punk? Get lost!"
Raven pointed with one finger at the man - his hands were covered in fingerless black gloves - and said evenly, "You're Vincent, and the other three with you are Rick, Xavier, and Mike. You're the warehouse seven dealers."
With a heavy German accent, the black-haired one asked, "How do jou know zat?"
"I was told by Karen McCormick of South Park where to find you and who you are. She says you sell the best shit. Am I right, Xavier?"
Xavier smirked. "Vy jes, ve do."
"Enough talk," Vincent said quickly. "Karen is an old friend and constant buyer, I trust you enough. So, what do you want?"
"I need some crack for me and my woman," Raven said with a practiced tone of absent emotion, "so how much of your stuff would you recommend?"
"Do you two snort or shoot up?"
"I snort, she shoots."
Vincent chuckled. "The little lady's got more guts than you, I like that."
"I wouldn't say I've got more guts than Raven," a girly voice sounded off, echoing through the warehouse, "but I do appreciate the compliment."
Raven whipped around in time to see a redhead, hair pulled back into a low ponytail with their bangs covering their right eye, strut up in a black trench coat open at the top, short shorts that couldn't be seen, and knee-high black leather stiletto boots. An earring mirroring Raven's hung off of the left ear. He couldn't believe his eyes. It was Kyle! And, somehow, the dude had cleavage! Raven was astonished, simply at a loss for words at his boyfriend's appearance.
Kyle stopped next to Raven and put one hand delicately yet firmly on his hip, truly mimicking the girl persona he was dressed for. "And I'm not little," he continued in his girly voice.
Vincent smirked again. "You're his girlfriend?"
"Kylie, eh?" Vincent grabbed onto the hand of Kyle's not resting on his hip and kissed the top of it. "Beautiful name for a sexy woman."
Raven grabbed on Kyle's arm and pulled him back away from Vincent. "Don't touch her," he said threateningly.
Vincent threw his hands into the air. "Whatever you say Raven."
Before Raven could demand an answer as to why Kyle was there, Xavier said, "Vy Raven, vat an incredibly sexy voman jou haff. Jou are lucky. And if jou are villing, I vill trade jou ze crack for her." He laughed with the two brunette twins, Mike and Rick, standing behind him.
Raven sent a glare at Xavier. "No, ass–"
"Sorry boys," Kyle said in a teasing tone, he added a playful wink for extra measure, "I'm not for sale." He hugged Raven. "What would my beautiful Raven do without me?"
Vincent chuckled and grabbed what he had been told. "Here you two lovebirds go. Pure grade. For you," he gestured to Raven, "to snort, and for you," he gestured to Kyle, "to shoot."
Raven dug the cash roll out of his trench coat pocket and traded it for the crack. "Thanks." He grabbed Kyle's hand and pulled him back out the way they came in. It was hard not to turn around and attack the four drug dealers when they started to make sex jokes about "Kylie" too loud.
When they were far enough away from the warehouse, Stan stopped and whipped around to face Kyle. "What the hell is wrong with you? What were you thinking?"
"Well, not something smart," Kyle said absently, his voice back to normal, as he rubbed the soles of his feet through the boots. "These shoes are killing me. How do women wears these things to clubs?"
"Kyle!" Stan snapped his fingers to catch the redhead's attention. "That's not what I'm talking about! They could've seen through that and saw you're a guy! Did you not think of that?"
Kyle crossed his arms under the fake, b-cup boobs Kenny had fabricated out of latex and stage makeup. "Don't look at me, this was Mysterion's idea. He thought it'd make the story more believable if I walked in there. Besides, I felt better knowing that I could help you if something went wrong quickly."
"Godammit!" Stan pressed the earpiece. "Mysterion, did you–"
"Yes Stan, I did," Mysterion said evenly. "Granted, it probably wasn't my smartest idea, but it was sound. Everything went by without a problem though so don't worry about it. And if you want to continue to worry about it and yell at me for this decision, that's fine, but at least get back to the hotel first. And Stan, don't blame Kyle, it wasn't his idea."
Stan sighed heavily and grabbed Kyle's hand. "Come on," he led him along the road leading back to the hotel, "I need to give our leader a piece of my mind."