Disclaimer: I do not own Codename Kids Next Door.
Numbuh 9-Film adjusted the settings on her camera as the final preparations to the broadcast were made. While fiddling with the settings, the girl looked over her shoulder to study the live studio audience. Kids and operatives of all ages sat within the semicircle of rising tiers of seats facing the set, keeping themselves entertained with excited chatter; they would be the first ones to see Sector L's latest program.
The camera-girl then looked to view the new set in all its glory. The plain wooden walls were lost in shadow and highlighted by dramatic ruby-red and sapphire-blue glows. Banners, flags and KND emblems billowed, waved and flowed through the darkness. Atop a dais stood a desk, glossy and modern.
To the other side of the dais and desk was a large table. To the other was a section of wall featuring a fake fireplace and sets of bookshelves holding a fascinating array of items, including several trophies and a prized edition of a rare rainbow monkey. There was even a crayon portrait of Numbuh 10 over the mantle, showing her dashingly clad in a dress better than any that a child beauty pageant contest would own, but unlike them, this portrait did not preen with desperate narcissism.
Numbuh 9-Film nodded, pleased with the set. Much effort had went into giving it an over-the-top feel that all in attending hoped would pay-off. The Supreme Leader had finally given them the go-ahead to shot the program, and the Sector L team would do their best to deliver. The camera-girl sent a thumbs up to Numbuh 10, who herself was seated behind the desk at center-stage. The redheaded beauty sent a pleasant smile, to which the camera-girl smirked.
"Okay," Numbuh 9-Film motioned. With a wave of her hand, the audience hushed, the staff scampered into place, and the camera-girl began the countdown. "We are go in, five…four…three…" her voice lowered with each count until she went completely silent, her fingers visibly finishing the countdown. When she reached zero, the feed went on and the camera-crew began filming.
"Tonight," Numbuh 10 exclaimed, snapping towards the audience. The leader of sector L had her vibrant hair done up in a professional bun while wearing a modest, royal blue button blouse. The girl raised a shrewd brow as she faced the crowd, a smirk playing lightly on her lips. "The age-old process of decommissioning comes under attack again, and I suddenly forgot what I was talking about."
The kids in the audience shared a light giggle as Numbuh 10 sharply faced another camera. "Then, Numbuh 11.0 goes vegetarian as he recounts his efforts to save the moose of Canada, and hamsters plot to take over the world. I for one, welcome our new furry overlords.
"And my guest from the UK tonight explains his stance of Library Book Awareness and Safety," she added while looking upwards to another camera. She suddenly began wagging her finger. "That means by covering that story, me and my local library should be square on my fees."
"They say age comes before beauty," Numbuh 10 pleasantly stated before smirking. "Clearly 'They' have never met me. I'm Stacey Kalbert, and this, is The Perfect Ten."
The audience gave Stacey a round of applause as the show's introductory theme hummed out from the overhead speakers. The lead operative folded her hands together, sitting them atop her desk as her eyes slowly closed; soaking in the cheers and chants the children fed her.
"Ah Children, consider my ego effectively stroked," Stacey laughed warmly. "Welcome to The Perfect Ten. Now I know what you must be thinking. You're wondering, Numbuh 10, what are you doing? You're already the head anchor-girl of KNN, what are you doing with another news program? To which I would say, you can never overdose on moi."
The statement was followed by a chorus of cat-calls, which Stacey motioned to cease before she continued. "But with The Perfect Ten, I'm not talking to you as Numbuh 10: the incredibly hot chick bound by KND protocol to only talk about approved topics, here, I'm just Stacey: the still incredibly hot chick, who while still relies on the KND for her bread and butter, is finally allowed to say whatever she wants within the next half-hour.
"And what am I going to talk about, you ask? Simple, the truth. I'm not going to lead a sissy news team who tip-toes around the touchy stuff, and is afraid of controversy like boogie-men in the closet. No no, as a reporter, it is my duty to keep you in-the-know. You hear a rumor about Global Command dropping one of the forty-three flavors of ice cream? Expect me to be all over that bad boy like me over a hot bad boy. Is is the Supreme Leader involved in a steamy office tryst with a platter of cheesecake? I'll get you verification faster then Numbuh 86 can say 'decommissioning'!"
Half of the children shared apprehensive looks whilst the other half chuckled at Stacey's humor.
"That brings us to tonight's segment of Blah-Blah-Blah."
Beside Stacey, a large plasma screen lowered from the ceiling. After a moment, the screen flicked on, displaying a smooth blue background with the overhead caption Blah-Blah-Blah flaring in bold white letters. Beneath the caption, more letters appeared.
All at once, any chatters and giggles morphed into gasps of horror, moans of dread, and noises of dismay at what that one word meant to all present. Stacey, however, sat there with a confident smile.
"Decommissioning," Stacey said pleasantly, as if it were nothing of great importance. "A word that has a special meaning to us all."
On the screen, Decommissioning winked out and the words Brain Damage? took its place.
"No," Stacey stated simply, as if answering the screen's question. "It is a time where we operatives say goodbye to the Kids Next Door, and get our memories wiped in order to make way for new ones as we leave all that we once knew, and forgot about, behind. It's just like retirement!"
Except no Social Security kickbacks.
"But it appears some people just aren't happy with having their childhood being ripped away from them," Stacey replied in an overly condescending tone. "Today a group of Anti-Decommissioning protestors gathered at the fabled steps of Numbuh 86's front porch, and demanded the sacred process be abolished."
Along with earplugs.
"Those would come in handy," Stacey nodded in agreement. "Thankfully, no shots were taken at either side, and Numbuh 86 was able to peacefully break up the gathering. All female protestors were kindly escorted off the premises…we can only guess as to what became of the male protestors."
Not that anyone would remember them anyway.
"I know I don't," Stacey responded before tutting, disappointed. "But what did these protestors hope to accomplish? Showing what a bunch of free-riding hippies they are, that's what. Dear Children, it's obvious this was just some fabricated stunt to 'stick it to The Man'."
Wouldn't that be 'The Kid'?
"That name is already taken," Stacey corrected. The image on the screen was briefly replaced with a photo of Ace, to which all the swooning girls – Stacey included – shared a dreamy sigh. "Still waiting on that phone-call, Flyboy." She held her hand, thumb and pinkie finger extended, up beside her ear. "But back to these protestors, what's not to get? You fight adult super-villainy on an average after-school work week, get some tax cuts on your candy, and when you hit thirteen, we have to play Operation with your mind. It's all there under the fine print."
Darn those toddler recruits with their short – OOOH SHINY!
"I mean, yes, it might seem a little unfair to snatch up all your KND related memories as reward for service, but that's your own fault if that's all your childhood consists of. You don't wanna forget your childhood sweetheart? Try spending some time with her when not on a mission and outside the treehouse, pal."
We're talking to you, Numbuh 1.
"But in all honesty? I can guarantee the number we have on kids skimping out on their duty would drop if people would stop making it look so desirable with their 'romantic traitor fantasies'."
We're talking to you, dirty fangirls.
"Not that there's anything wrong with that," Stacey smirked. After seeing some of the crowd joining in, she tidied her hair bun before continuing. "And besides, Kids Next Door needs this process. Not because we don't want defectors, because we need this sort of saucy topic to add edge! I don't know about you folks, but I like my innocent crusade for kids' freedom evened out with some angst ridden farewell to all you knew and loved."
All the cool emos are doing it.
"Besides, where would we be as an organization if we just got rid of the decommissioning process? Do you know how lame we would look to all the other secret agencies if we nixed our overly complicated discharge routine?"
Not mention all the post-decommissioning drama authors would be out of a hobby.
"And that is why," Stacey trailed off, intoning for the screen to finish. "We need…?"
Deco– I forgot what we were talking about. Who are you people? Where's the nachos?
"Don't get smart with me…"
"In other words, a bunch of Blah-Blah-Blah," Stacey said satisfied while making the hand motion. Once the segment had ended, the children of the audience erupted in a bout of cheers, to which Stacey could only nod. "We'll be right back, after a word from our sponsors.
The television screen fizzles, and soon Numbuh 10's beautiful image is replaced by Numbuh VO5 strutting down a catwalk.
The boy walked down the isle, chin up high as the cameras flashed and music pulsed all around him. Once he reached the end of the runway, excited girls reached upwards, but he only turned away with a sassy cold shoulder. His gaze snapped forward, his hand producing a lone, slick comb from his sparkly belt. After flipping it between his fingers, he ran it through his gorgeous locks, only once. It was all that was needed to give his hair a sheen shine that caused all girls to blissfully faint.
"Look at your hair," Numbuh VO5 spoke. "Now back to mine. Now back to your hair, now back to mine. Sadly, you no have my hair. But if you stopped using adult's bland shampoo product and switched to Numbuh VO5's Young Fabulous," he paused, holding up a shiny bottle of hair conditioner, "you could have hair that makes it look like its mine." He suddenly pointed to the floor. "Look down."
The camera looked down.
"Back up. Where are you? You're at KND Haircut Headquarters, with kids whose hair yours could look like." The scene had suddenly altered, Numbuh VO5 now walking down the salon of Sector HH. He passed Patton getting a sharp military style cut, Abby relaxing while her hair was being lathered, and Lizzie reading a magazine while a stylist spruced up her pigtails. He stopped, instantly pointing towards the camera. "What's in your hand?"
You look in your hand, there's nothing there.
"Back to me. I have it. It's your most cherished item in the world," VO5 went on, a blinding light radiating from his hand, making it impossible to tell what he was really holding. He suddenly closed his fist "Look again, the item is now chocolate!" A chocolate bar seemingly rose out of his palm. "Anything is possible when you use Young Fabulous and not have Crazy Cat Lady hair. I'm on a pony."
He was, indeed, on a pony.
"So come down to Sector HH for free sample of Numbuh VO5's Young Fabulous, now with forty percent more element D…which is most definitely NOT dog poop. Whoever told you such lies is most UN-fabulous!"
The television screen flickers again, and the camera now sweeps over The Perfect Ten's set before coming in to zoom in on Stacey.
"Welcome back to the Ten, everybody," Stacey greeted as the crowd calmed down. "Children, as you know, I am in total sync with nature. Yes, it's true. Under all this fine looking high-maintenance is a gritty, rugged tree-huger. And when I heard mother nature's moose children were under attack up north, I knew I had to take action!" she emphasized by slamming her fist down.
"So I did what any up-standing KND operative would do in this situation. When trouble reared its antlered head, I responded with a swift and affirmative, 'Eww! I'm not going to cover moose! Those things are gross!' and sent Numbuh 11.0 instead," she waved off, to which the audience chuckled. She then held up a remote, and pointed it towards a monitor in the wall. "So let's sit back and watch Top Moose Correspondent Numbuh 11.0 recount his mission to save the moose of Canada."
Everyone sat patiently as the recording began to play. The clip then started out with a glorious backdrop of a Canadian forest, a stray moose roaming free.
"The Moose," the voice of Numbuh 11.0 spoke out in a dramatic voice-over of the clip. "A majestic creature indeed. So wild, so passionate, so free-willed. So…"
The moose began pawing at the ground, then squatted over.
"So…eww, that is nasty! Edit that part out. Anyway, yes. The Moose, a most beautiful animal; truly nature's gift to us all. But is there bad winds on the way for our antlered friend?"
The screen showing the moose suddenly went black and white as startling music began to play.
"Sector Q, the leading Canadian sector in heavy moose territory, believes our animal friends are in for a rough time. I sat down with sector leader, Numbuh 361, to get the proper scoop."
"Numbuh 361," Numbuh 11.0 began. He was in dimly lit room, the light only focused on him, and the similarly dark skinned boy across from him. The sector L reporter tapped his pencil against his notebook as posed his questions. "What exactly is the deal with all the hate on the moose recently, eh?"
"It's more about Chester, than the moose," the sector leader felt the need to correct. "His latest get-rich-quick scheme is centered around his new 'Moose-sicles'; popsicles made from moose."
Numbuh 11.0 frowned. "Barbaric!"
"Uh, sure," Numbuh 361 muttered. "We're scouting the local perimeter where moose have the densest area of activity. We're hoping to catch him in the act, and put a stop to his plans for good."
"Agreed. We have to do all we can to save those poor, innocent moose!"
"What? No, we're just in it to stop Chester," Numbuh 361 tried to explain, "If he gets his hands on all those moose and is able to mass produce his popsicles, then the parents of Canada will stop buying all the REAL ice cream treats and make us kids eat those disgusting 'Moose-sicles' because they're cheaper and 'healthier'. Yuck!"
"So we stop Chester," Numbuh 11.0 repeated. "And save the moose from terror?"
"…Yeah, sure. Whatever."
"Now united in our cause to save these poorly misunderstood gifts from the lord, I settled in with Sector Q in order to prepare for our upcoming mission. As such, I felt the need to immerse myself in their strange, backward way of life here north of the border. It would be long and enduring, but sacrifices had to be made."
"Man!" Numbuh 11.0 stretched on the couch, leaning over towards Numbuh 359, who was in the middle of plotting a proper assault on Chester's base camp. "I sure love that hockey, eh?" Numbuh 359 grumbled as the reporter left him.
"Those mounties sure do a good job, don't they, eh?" Numbuh 11.0 asked Numbuh 360. The platinum blonde looked at the boy as if he had a few screws loose, then went back to her math book to go over a few stray calculations.
"Hey," he started again as he came up behind Numbuh 361. "How about we fry up some of that Canadian bacon. I sure am hungry. Eh?"
"Okay. Firstly," the sector leader grumbled as he turned to the reporter. "We just call it bacon up here. Got that? And secondly: stop emphasizing eh at the end of every sentence. Not every single Canadian talks like that! It's stereotyping and it's very rude, eh?" The boy blinked, then cursed as he realized his slip-up. "Aw, dangit! Can we cut that part out?"
"I did not cut that part out. Finally, after many days of planning, heartfelt bonding, and getting in tune with nature herself, we fled to the field; acting as the only defense the moose have left on this planet. It was a battle that would be talked about in legend."
"Ah ha ha ha!" The scene switched to the battle, Chester laughing gleefully as his machines collected wild moose and attacked Sector Q. "It's useless, Kids Next Door! Once I've harvested enough moose wild-life, it's off to Chester's Happy Moose Processing Plant! There, I'll turn all these juicy meal tickets into my soon-to-be world famous Moose-sicles! Then I'll slap on some bogus health label, then sit back and watch your parents buy, buy, buy while I make ooooooodles of Canadian cash! AH HA HA HA – "
"Huh?" Chester spluttered, looking down to see Numbuh 11.0 poking at his side. "How did you get up here, brat?"
"Yeah, this'll just take a second," Numbuh 11.0 hurriedly said as he tucked his microphone away. "Yeah, ya see we're filming this right now, and I think it would be best if you toned it down a bit. I mean, you're doing a great job and all, but Numbuh 10 doesn't like when an equally radical TV personality tries to conflict with her own. Get what I'm saying?"
"…wait, are you saying I'm gonna be on TV?" Chester dumbly asked while motioning towards the camera. When Numbuh 11.0 nodded, the evil, mustached entrepreneur broke out in excited squeals. "Yes! I know this day would come! We did it, mommy! Your little Chessy-poo is finally on the big screen! If dad could only see me – GAH!" He was interrupted in his speech when Sector Q suddenly snuck up and tackled him from behind. "H-Hey! What are you doing? That's not a toy! Point that away from – YEEAAAGAGAGA!"
"We got him!"
"And now with Chester put away behind bars, the moose of Canada can roam free once more. No one threatening their way of life and habitats now."
The clip then cut to a scene of a man walking up and placing a sign on a tree, declaring it open-season on moose.
"…Nevermind. Mmm, you know, these Moose-sicles aren't that bad…"
Back within the studio, the screen flickered off and the camera swerved to focus on Stacey again. The redhead was currently occupied with a manicure, and when she noticed all eyes on her, she smiled, but never stopped filing her nails.
"I don't know what all the rage is about moose, baby seal is what's big on the market, I hear," Stacey shrugged as she tossed away her nail filer.
"Children, if you plan on fighting the adult evils that threaten our kid way of life, you need two things: guts, preferably Numbuh 4's, and to know what those threats are. I'm legally bound to say I can't help you with the first one, but what I can do, is rank the top kid threats for your convenience. How? Simple, by using our Ranking System…" she trailed off, ducking under her desk.
When she popped back up, she was wearing a camouflage helmet, and glittery war-paint across her flushed cheeks. Without warning, her hand reared up and slammed down on a button labeled 'Emergency'. "…of DOOM!"
A whooping alarm klaxon resounded through the dark set. Blood-red pulsing lights flashed and flared. The children gazed up with a mixture of wonder and fear as they awaited for Numbuh 10's next bit. Slowly, the large screen from earlier lowered beside the redhead beauty again, only this time, the caption read, Ranking System of DOOM!
"Coming in at Number Five, the Teen Tornado," Stacey solemnly warned. The image on the screen showed a large, navy blue numeral five with a mug-shot of the Teen Tornado. "That's right Children, the wild spirited teen-villain with a bad hairdo is at it again. According to the latest rumors in Evil Teen Weekly, the Teen Tornado and his on again-off again, on one more time, then off, a followed by brief restraining order, then kissy make-up girlfriend, the Prom Queen, is officially off again. Details reveal that it was the Prom Queen dishing out collateral damage this time, leaving the double T as the dumpee. Now distraught, he is on a rampage where no kid is deemed safe, and we all know how dangerous emotionally ridden teenagers with superpowers are. Still, I know how hard this must be…for Prom Queen, that is. Ugh, some guys just won't take a hint."
The screen changed to display a bright yellow four. Underneath the number was a blueprint for a piece of recognizable 2x4 tech. "Number Four, S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R.'s. These pieces of user-friendly 2x4 equipment are quickly becoming a double-edged sword. During a resupply run, Sector NY was ambushed by Count Spankulot and the spank-happy vampire was able to get his oversized mitts on a few S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R.'s, which he then reversed-engineered into new extensions of his spanking capabilities." Everyone within the studio shared a cringe at the information. "So protect what your mamas gave you the next time you see one of those things, because who knows whose hind they'll end up hitting."
"Number Three, the Negaverse." As the screen displayed a emerald green three, Stacey held a hand to her ear. "You hear that? That is the sound of legions of sci-fi nerds clamoring to the internet to flaunt how right they were all along. Yes Children, all this talk of alternate universes and bent reality is true. Last week, moonbase scientists looked further into sector V's report, labeled operation: POOL, and found signs of 'highly erratic spacial distortion' within Numbuh 4's swimming pool. But even though the threat of DNK has passed, why does the Negaverse get such a high doom ranking, you ask? Because if facts are true, then in that universe, there exists a butt-ugly version of yours truly. And that, Children, is a crime against nature."
Stacey's face relaxed a bit as the countdown lowered to a sky blue numeral two. "Number Two, Numbuh 2," Stacey uttered seriously as a photo of Hoagie appeared, only with a sinister mustache photo-shopped on. The crowd broke into fits of giggles at the thought, but Stacey continued on, nevertheless. "Under the lovable, wisecracking front we've all come to know and adore is a budding criminal mastermind. Not only does he harbor feelings for a known fugitive, Cree Lincoln, but he also constructs wild experiments every other week! Just last month, he built me this hairdryer that exploded in my face and completely RUINED my dress! 'It was an accident!', yeah right, and I'm the princess of all the cloud rainbow monkey people! I'm on to you, Gilligan, you hear me?"
There was a pregnant pause as Stacey's nails dug into her desk, her face curled into a snarl. She suddenly blinked, remembering where she was, and flashed a dazzling smile to her audience, pretending she just didn't just snap back there.
"Heh heh, so watch out for him. Anyway, that bring us to número uno of tonight's Doom Rankings." The screen played out an exploding animation as a blood red number one appeared on screen. Building tension, Stacey's face went completely stoic as she leveled with the crowd. "Number One in the Ranking System of Doom…Hamsters."
The children couldn't hold it in anymore and began laughing, some producing tears of joy at the notion.
"You heard right, Hamsters," Stacey nodded gravely, fantastically ignoring the reaction her words had brought on. "These little fuzzballs are out to steal our jobs, and eventually, usher in a new world order. Oh, they get you with the cute whiskers, but they'll easily turn on your back when you least expect it. Why am I so adamant about this? The question is, why aren't you? Perhaps this clip from a trusted news broadcast will help change your tune."
She picked up her remote once again, and aimed towards the screen in the wall. After a moment, a recording from the earlier KNN news show began to play. The clip was currently showing Numbuh 10 herself in her KNN wear going over a news topic.
"And a new furry outlook for all you hamster lovers out there," Numbuh 10 spoke jovially. "Today marks a special day in hamster history as Supreme Leader Numbuh 362 officially recognizes the HND as an authorized branch of the Kids Next Door. Our cute little comrades have come far in their short lifespans. Starting out as cute pets that power our treehouse, now working with us on the field as fellow operatives. With our hamsters watching our backs out there, the future is certainly looking brighter and more adorable."
"As much as I'd hate to disagree with that absolutely gorgeous anchor-girl, I'm going to have to call bologna on that story," Stacey frowned as she leaned forward. "You've gotta be kidding, hamsters are KND operatives now? Numbuh 362 plays it off as a long overdue honor, but that's what she would tell us to hide the truth! The truth is, those hamsters have already pawed their way into Numbuh 362's heart, and now they're using her to mold the way for their world domination agenda. Oh yes, sure. First they reel you in with those cute adorable whiskers, incredibly beady eyes, and soft fluffy fur. Then we slowly start to rely on them for our treehouse power, then bit by bit, they start sneaking into field work. They slowly work up the ladder until BAM! We're mining for their veggies and wood chippings become the new fiat currency! My advice? Invest in badgers, children. They'll never see that coming.
"Now I know it's going to be hard to turn your back on your favorite pet, but not to worry. We here at sector L have the latest in graphic rendering technology to de-cutiefy these furry usurpers. Janet, toss up the Knightbrace one," Stacey ordered. The screen flickered to display a photo of Knightbrace, only with the head of a small hamster photo-shopped on. "Darn, still cute. Delightful Hamsters!"
The image changed to show the Delightful Children's heads replaced with more cute hamster faces.
"Aw, look at them with their little– No! Bad Stacey, they're evil! Quick, drastic measures, throw up the Father Hamster!"
The last one was a field shot of Father with a hamster head, still cute.
"Oh, it's so horrible! And hug-able! It's huga-horrible! Take it down, Janet. Take it down!" Stacey pleaded dramatically, breathing an exaggerated sigh of relief when the picture of the hamster was taken away. "Still think hamsters aren't evil? Well, that last one made Father look cute and cuddly." The audience only cheered as Stacey took off her helmet and began wiping the war-paint from her face. "We'll be right back."
The television screen blanked out again, the set of The Perfect Ten disappearing. Once the commercial had started, Numbuh Infinity walked up to the camera.
"Hello, I am Numbuh Infinity, and I'm here to inform you of something that will change the face of Kids Next Door forever. Pay attention, as I'm only allowed to disclose this information once. Okay, you see – "
The feed went static again, cutting off Infinity as the signal under went a new bout of stress. After a moment, the feed slowly began to clear up and began showing a commercial that was most certainly not KND-approved.
The scene started in a run-down courthouse, the only occupant inside being a lone man in a prison outfit. The bearded adult calmly walked to the stand, and overlooked the rest of the courthouse. After a moment, he cleared his throat, and began to speak.
"Hello, I'm Dastardly Darrel, and I plead guilty to first degree murder…" he paused. Suddenly, a wicked grin spread across his face as he jumped over the stand, ripping away his prison outfit to reveal an outrageous, violet salesman's suit with all sorts of bells and trinkets dangling down. "OF THESE INSANE PRICES!"
A faint background tune started to play as the scene around Dastardly Darrel started to collapse. The courthouse set was pulled away revealing a parking lot, but instead of cars, the lot was filled with death traps, doomsday weapons, torture devices and many other assortments you'd expect to find at a military expo gone horribly wrong. Dastardly Darrel only plopped on a cowboy hat, pulled a cane out of nowhere, and began twirling it as he waltzed around the lot.
"Hi, I'm Dastardly Darrel! And lemme ask you folks, has this ever happened to you? You're sittin' in your lair, all comfy as can be, sippin' on a mocha latte, and waiting on your vindictive plans of revenge to come to fruition," he waved his hands about, acting out the scene. "Then that mangy ol' alarm kicks off; those rotten do-gooders are storming your hideout! But before you can press that button, it hits you…you ain't got any booby traps! The heroes stomp on in, whoop your hind tail, and have you singing the Jailhouse Rock faster then you can say 'curses'!"
Dastardly Darrel stopped in the dead center of the lot, slamming his cane down and leaning on it for support. "If you wanna make sure you don't end up like that poor sap, then come on down to Dastardly Darrel's Death-A-Palooza! You need villainous equipment? I'm your go-to man for all your sick twisted fantasies of mutilation! I got spike traps, glass traps, rat traps, man-eating plant traps, bottomless pits, and more! I'm trippin' traps here, people!"
Darrel opened his jacket, revealing an almost endless supply of hand guns, ray beams, and other nifty gadgets. "I got everything you could think of! Poison apples, shrink rays, hpyno beams, sticky grenades, transmorphers, buzzsaws, everything!" He suddenly leapt across the lot, landing on the rim of a tank filled with sharks. Unfazed, Darrel bent over, and tapped the glass with the butt of his cane. "I even got sharks with laser beams attached to their heads! How's that for overkill?"
The scenes changed, Darrel now walking through the lot again, showcasing highlights of his merchandise. "I have everything you'd ever need to take over the world, and all at extremely low prices! The New Brat Zapper 9000?"
They switched to a recording of Numbuh 13 strapped to a lightening post, the operative looking charred and burnt after being electrocuted.
"Thirty-five percent off! That new variation of the Nightmare-A-Tron helmet?"
Numbuh 13 ran around circles, screaming bloody murder as the helmet forced onto his head forced horrible images into his mind.
"Forty-five percent off! And what about The Indescribable Minion of a Thousand and One Horrors, you ask?"
Darrel covered his eyes as he lifted a cloth hiding what was in the cage. Once Numbuh 13 caught sight of it, he screamed, then dropped into a dead faint after seeing a grotesque creature of indescribable, nightmarish horror. Darrel only laughed as he lowered the cloth. "Fifty-five percent off! No one can beat my prices! Really, they can't. Because I hack into their store computers and jack their prices through the roof! Aren't I just Dastardly?"
On the ground, Numbuh 13 groaned as he came around. "This is not worth a dollar and fifty cents an hour…"
"But what's that you say? My low prices are a scam and I'm taking you for a ride? Nonsense! I'm a man of my word, folks! My word just happens be about making people dead. But if ya don't believe the products are for real, then I invite you to my open-show floor!" Darrel exclaimed, now inside the main building. He moved out of the camera's view, and gestured towards the adults looking around inside. "See for yourself!"
"This fancy Java-Cracker is amazing!" Cuppa Joe gushed as he inspected the device that looked like a coffee-maker laptop hybrid. "It can hack into them newfangled computers, make an excellent cup of coffee, and slowly destroys the ozone layer with every emission!" The twitchy, caffeine addicted man took a sip of the brew the machine produced, and let out a mighty hoot as he stomped his foot. "That is some good evil right there!"
"This new malicious device is most devious," Mr. Fibb slowly praised as he and his partner took the newest model of Destructo-Chair for a test run. When they came across a test dummy, one of the legs rose up, produced spikes, and crushed the target into dust. "Wouldn't you agree, Mr. Wink?"
"Most indeed, Mr. Fibb," the other man nodded before taking a bit out of his muffin.
Upon seeing his snack, Mr. Fibb arched a curious brow. "Might I inquire as to where you got that muffin, Mr. Wink?"
"Why, with the muffin button, of course."
Mr. Fibb paused, looking over the panel of switches on the arms of the chair. "But…there is no muffin button."
Mr. Wink blinked, then looked to the treat in his hand, honestly gobsmacked. "Then how did I get this muffin?"
"And don't just take my word for it," Dastardly Darrel said as he walked over to the nearest corner. "Hear from some of my most loyal customers, the lying cheats! Ha ha, that there was a joke, folks."
"I don't know what I'd do without Dastardly Darrel!" the Toiletnator replied as he held up his toilet paper cufflinks. "Before I found this place, I had to get by with lousy two-ply, and rolls of that cost a fortune every week! But now at Dastardly Darrel's, I can buy his Super Secret Brand Name Omega-ply in bulk! I'm the only one he sells it to too, isn't that awesome?"
"I'm honestly floored with all the deals Darrel has going on here," the Iguana replied from under his lizard suit. "With all the sales, low prices, and savings, I almost feel like I'm robbing him blind! Ha ha ha!" His eyes then became shifty as he picked up a large bag of stolen weapons. "That's because I am."
"Hey! Get back here with those!" The Iguana activated his camouflage ability, and blended in with the surrounding environment. Now practically invisible, he slinked away with the goods unnoticed as Darrel came up panting. The salesman growled as he realized the Iguana had gotten away. "Son of a – wha? Oh! Uh, heh, you've seen it for yourself, folks! Villains just can't keep their grubby little hands off my hardware! Wait until I get my hands on that no good, slimy mother–"
"–So the next time you're on the lamb, and need a quick way to scram," the scene immediately cut to a shot of Darrel inside his main store building. "Stop on by Dastardly Darrel's Death-A-Palooza, your first and only accessory to all your nefarious schemes! Our headquarters are located at –"
"Whoa!" Darrel coughed as the west wall suddenly collapsed. "Ah, don't tell me the Hypersonic Brain Scrambler exploded again! That's the fifth time this week that thing's…oh no," he whimpered upon recognizing the kids who broke into his store.
"SQWID TEAM SIX!" Numbuh 20,000 shouted. The KND Deep Sea Marine raised his weapon towards Dastardly Darrel, and motioned for his attack team to charge. "TAKE HIM DOOOWN!"
"They found me!" Darrel panicked. He turned to the camera-crew, flapping his arms wildly. "Grab everything that ain't nailed down and run! RUN!" The villain weapons-dealer tried to make a break for it, but was shot down when an small octopus was shot at his leg, tripping him up.
Cutting their loses, the camera-crew ran, the camera moving at a shakey angle as the man holding it made a break for the exit. A gasp was heard, and the camera was dropped and fell to the floor, sliding away a few feet. It sat stationary on the floor, sounds of battle rocketing over the speakers and numerous feet scampering by the lens.
The ruined commercial appeared it would go on forever, however, Numbuh 20,000 picked up the camera, shoved it in his face, and relayed one final message before shutting it off. "SQWID TEAM SIX, RUUUULES!" Pumped on adrenaline, he threw the camera to the floor, smashing it into pieces.
The television feed went static again, until after a few minutes, the set of The Perfect Ten reappeared. The camera panned over the cheering crowd until it stopped to rest on Numbuh 10 for one more bit.
"Miss me, Children?" Stacey joked before a shameful look crossed her features. "I would like to take a quick moment to apologize to our viewers at home for that last commercial break. It appears our feed got crossed with the villains' shopping network for a moment there." she sheepishly apologized before regaining her vigor.
"But let's switch pages. My guest tonight hails all the way from the UK to help spread the word of Library Book Awareness and Safety. Let's check him out, shall we? Please welcome to the Ten, Trevor!"
The audience cheered as Stacey suddenly jumped from her desk. The redhead ran across the room, her arms in the air like she had just won the Finales. Upon reaching the other end of the set, Stacey stopped in front of a table where Trevor sat. The brunette opened his mouth, thinking he'd get to speak, but Stacey only continued soaking up the audience's love, blowing kiss, as if she were the guest of honor. After a few more minutes of that, Stacey nodded contently and took the seat opposite of Trevor.
"Trevor, welcome to The Perfect Ten," Stacey greeted as she shook his hand. "How does it feel to be the program's very first guest?"
"Oh, it's quite an honor, miss," Trevor politely responded, gripping a book tightly to his chest as he withdrew. "You have no idea how much this means to me, to have the Numbuh 10 invite me onto her program to talk about – "
"Yes, I am quite amazing, aren't I?" Stacey interrupted as she relished in the small tidbit of praise. "Ah, but enough about me – for now – let's talk about you. You're here to talk to us about, Library Book Awareness and Safety?"
"Uh, yes. That's right," Trevor nodded. "Books are my life, they're gateways into fantastical worlds you can't quite experience anyway else. But it's come to my attention that some children don't properly tend to their books, it's dreadful! All the bent spines, torn pages, it's a terrible thing to see. So in order to stop such careless acts, I founded the LBAS."
"LBAS," Stacey repeated. "Surely there's a better acronym then that. I bet we can think of one right now, in fact."
"Oh, um, I-I never thought it mattered…" Trevor trailed off, but upon seeing Stacey motioning him to continue, he spoke up a bit. "But yes, I founded the LBAS in hopes of giving books the proper respect they deserve, so future generations may continue to enjoy them as much as we do."
"That's quite the life goal you've set for yourself," Stacey hummed along. "Now tell me, you're now an assistant at the Great Library, right? I hear you came into that position by mistreating a book yourself?"
"No! Never! It was all a misunderstanding!" Trevor quipped.
"And that's why you're on my program, help spread the truth!"
"Huh? Oh yes yes, I see. Well, after a getting caught in a bit of trouble between the Kids Next Door and the Rowdy Hooligans, my book had been returned overdue, how horrible! I was short the twenty-five pence needed, so I took up a position to help pay off my debt. Oh, but the job was too wonderful to walk away from! I got to read books all day, and even got extensions on my return dates."
"Oh ho," Stacey cooed with a wiggle of her brows. "Sounds like you're in it for the perks."
"W-What? I'll admit the benefits are remarkable, but I would never abuse my position!" Trevor proclaimed as he held his book tighter. "As founding member of the LBAS, it is my sworn duty to never mistreat a book for as long as I live!"
"Quite the drive. Now, I'm quite the book lover as well, are you looking for members?"
"Most certainly! Why, it'll even barely trouble you at all!" Trevor beamed, ecstatic. "All you must do is pledge your loyalty to the LBAS by always taking care of any book you check out from your local library, treat them as your most cherished possession, and always turn it in on time! Simply spread the word by setting an example, and others are sure to follow."
"I have a question though," Stacey asked. "Like, what if I really love a book, I mean really love it? What's stopping me from keeping it forever? I mean, as long as I tuck it into bed and all like you say, I should be good to go, right?"
"I most certainly hope you're pulling my chain, ma'am!" Trevor reeled back, appalled. "You can't keep a book out forever, that is just unethical and selfish! If you love the book so much, there's nothing stopping you from purchasing a copy."
"But why buy a book when I can get it for free from the library? Isn't that what they're for anyway?"
"It is a privilege to do so! A privilege that will be taken from us if you abuse it the way you're suggesting!"
"Hmm, never thought of it that way," Stacey thoughtful mused as she tapped her chin. "Puts a lot in perspective."
"I hope it does. It is the goal of the LBAS to…" Trevor stopped as he heard Stacey giggle. Confused, he looked up to the pretty girl. "Are you alright?"
"I'm sorry, it's just that I love your accent. That kind of foreign speak adds flavor to my show," she explained, motioning towards the crowd who was eating up the interview. "Adds zest, you know?"
"Um, I suppose…"
"I have a British cousin, you know. Though I can never get him to quote anything…oh!" she was suddenly stroke with a grand idea. "Quote James Bond!"
"Come on, say the famous line! We'd all love to hear it, wouldn't we guys?" Stacey questioned. The crowd responded positively and the sector L leader smirked. "Say it."
"I-I don't think – "
"You want the 'Numbuh 10 Bump' for your LBAS group, dont'cha?" Stacey ventured as her piercing bird-of-prey gaze tore into Trevor. "Then say it."
Trevor meekly muttered to himself before racking his brain for the line. "Er, the uh, the name is…Bond?" he smiled nervously, hoping that would be enough.
Stacey blinked, then leaned back into her chair. "No, I don't think I'm feeling it." The audience let off a disappointed wail, to which Stacey grinned as she snapped her fingers. "Good thing we planned ahead!"
"Planned ahead?" Trevor gulped. "For what?"
"Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the kid who'll do the line right, Numbuh 122, the leader of Sector E himself!" Stacey announced as she pointed over towards the west wall. Everyone looked over as that section of treehouse opened up, and out walked the sharply dressed sector E leader; umbrella tucked neatly between his arms and sunglasses glinting in the light of the set. Trevor became more seemingly nervous while Stacey smirked. "Take it away, ol' chap!"
Numbuh 122 smirked. "'The name is Bond," he peered over the top of his sunglasses as he spoke, his eyes trailing over all of the crowd. "'James Bond.'" Once finished with the quote, the studio broke into excited cheers and shouts as Numbuh 122 humbly bowed.
"Give it up for Numbuh 122, everybody!" Stacey clapped as she walked up to the sector E leader. "Thanks for staying for that bit, I knew it was going to go over great!"
"My pleasure," Numbuh 122 nodded. His eyes flicked over a bit and he smiled as he recognized Trevor. "Ah, Trevor. Good to see you again, ol' bean."
"Numbuh 122," Trevor uneasily greeted as his grip on his book tightened. "What are you doing here?"
"Dropped by for a bit of business with Sector L, and decided to stay and help out with Numbuh 10's latest program," he explained. He then noticed the book Trevor was holding, and bent over to get a better peek of the title. "Say Trevor, that wouldn't happen to be a copy of The House at Pooh – "
"NO!" Trevor immediately shot down. "I'm not loaning it to you!"
"Oh come now, it would make an excellent read during my afternoon tea!"
"That's just it! You're so careless with your books! Always staining the pages, crumpling the corners for bookmarks, getting your crumbs stuck in the index! No!" Trevor suddenly sprung up, and ran out the studio. "You're not messing up this classic! I won't have it!"
"Now see here, Trevor, I only wish to skim it over!" Numbuh 122 frowned as he unfastened his umbrella, the rocket powered item carrying him after the library assistant. "Don't make me put on my fighting trousers!"
Stacey blinked as the two took off. After a moment, she shrugged as she faced the crowd again. "Well, that about wraps it up for The Perfect Ten. You guys have been great, goodnight everybody!"
The audience gave Stacey a standing ovation as the show's ending theme began to play over the speakers. Whistles and hoots were made, and the gloating redhead absorbed it all. Her ego expanded even more when they began chanting her name.
"Stacey! Stacey! Stacey!"
"Aw, thanks guys," Stacey rubbed under her nose as she broke character. "But there's no need for all that…unless you want to."
"Stacey! Stacey! Stacey! …Stacey…Stacey?"
"Um," the girl blinked, suddenly feeling lightheaded. The lights of the set began to blur and the crowd seemed to fold into one massive, indistinguishable blob. "Wha?"
"AH!" Stacey yelped as she jumped up. After calming down, she frantically looked around her settings to find herself on her living room couch, and not in the Sector L Studio. "W-What? How'd did I…"
"Stacey." The authoritative voice caused her to snap around. There, she met the stern gaze of her mother, who was tapping her foot impatiently. "Have you been watching those late night news programs again?"
"Um," Stacey stuttered, looking towards the television, the charismatic man on the screen bidding his watchers good night. The redhead then gazed down at herself, noticing she was in her pajamas. After finding her notebook at her side, she looked up to her parent with a sheepish expression. "Uh, yeah. But I needed some ideas! We've got this whole half-hour block to fill!"
Her mother only shook her head. "Well, there will be time for your games tomorrow, Stacey. It's time for you to get to bed."
"Don't worry, mom," Stacey waved off as she hopped off the couch. "I'll go." The adult only nodded, and turned to disappear into the next room. Once she was gone, Stacey looked towards the television once more and failed to hold in her face-splitting grin. Quickly rushing back to the couch, she dug around between the cushions until she found her communicator. Without hesitation, she dialed a familiar number.
"Numbuh 9-Film, you still awake? Good. Listen, do we still have that half-hour block open?" Opening hearing the operative's answer, Stacey grinned as she headed up to her room. "No no, that's good! I just had the greatest idea ever! How's this for a pitch: a satirical news program at the end of every week to give operatives a good laugh and break from depressing news! …I know! I was thinking we could call it, The Perfect Ten, and hey, does that Trevor kid still want an interview…"
This program was brought to you by Dastardly Darrel.