She tried to drag herself out of the river, but her reserves were gone. She was only able to crawl up the bank far enough to keep her face out of the water before collapsing. She lay there, fading in and out of consciousness, for minutes or maybe hours. However long, she was discovered by a pair of henchmen who picked her up and dragged her off.
The ruler of the world was having lunch when her top lieutenant told her the news. "She was delirious, but she asked for you by name," he said, then turned to the henchman waiting at the doorway. "Show her."
The henchman stepped forward and lay his burden on the table. "She was armed only with this."
The ruler of the world stared at the hairdryer for a long moment, then turned to her lieutenant and nodded. The redhead was promptly brought in and dropped into the chair on the opposite side of the table. Food was placed before her. It took a moment for the smell to catch her attention before she started digging in. The more she ate, the more alert she became.
"Have you come to kill me?"
The redhead stopped spooning stew into her mouth and slowly forced her gaze up to look into the eyes of the Supreme One.
"I know what this is," the Supreme One continued, picking up the hairdryer. "I've seen it before, many years ago." She pressed a button on the side, and a grappling hook popped out of the nozzle. "It belonged to a girl I met in a half remembered dream. A girl who could do anything..."
Each Global Justice agent had been given a setting to design, each intended to present the squad with different challenges as they took turns defending one of their number from their attackers. It was understood by all that they would eventually fail, so they judged their performance on how long they could keep the target safe. Once a scenario was over, it was on to the next one.
They had completed the jungle and mansion settings, and were now dashing down a city street with a small mob wearing civilian clothing in pursuit. They weren't yelling or screaming, just... chasing. The amount of heavy breathing going on was a little creepy.
The squad reached a mall. The agent in charge for the scenario nodded, and the others followed him into the central courtyard, then up the escalator to the upper floor. They waited at the top for their pursuers, three of them taking position to protect the fourth.
Sure enough, the civilians arrived, saw the agents and charged up both escalators. One of the agents shifted to defend the downward staircase, while the other two fought off the rest. Attackers slid back down, were knocked to the ground or fell from the upper floor altogether as the fight continued, but they kept coming. The agents began to lose ground, which meant they were losing the advantage of their choke point.
"Break left," the agent in charge commanded, and the others moved instantly in response. Together they sprinted along the wide balcony, around the corner and into a store of their temporary leader's choosing. It was not empty. Two agents dealt with those inside while the third locked and bolted the door, then dropped the metal security curtain over the window.
Both door and curtain began rattling at the hands of their outdoor attackers while they explored toward the rear of the shop... until they were brought up short by a second song echoing over the bland music the shop was playing.
Yes I want it my way, I like it my way
It's my way or the highway
If that makes me sefish as you have accused
Let me just say this: I don't like to lose...
The agents looked at each other in surprise. "We held out for the whole hour?" one asked.
"Must have," another grated. "I'd like to say we've improved, but it's probably just the urban setting."
"We'll see what happens in the final scenario," the agent in charge commented as the world began to tip over. The masonry surrounding them began to crack and crumble as the gravity shifted, small chunks beginning to fall sideways as-
The agents awoke as the backs of their chairs hit the metal bar that stretched across the room behind them. In front of each agent was desk, on which were four incident reports, two of them already filled out. There were to write the third while their memories of the latest scenario were still fresh, before embarking on the fourth and final one. There was no point in removing the IV infusion lines until then.
"Well, compared to being killed by the crowd, that was pretty painless," the fourth agent, the dreamer for the scenario, opined as he pulled his chair back onto all four legs. He was about to add that it could be sufficient motivation for making it through the whole hour, but he was interrupted by a female voice.
"Oh, I'd say the pain is about to start."
All four agents twisted in their seats to look behind them. On the floor lay a fifth Global Justice agent and a man in military uniform, the operator of the device to which they were connected. Beside the unconscious pair, a smirking villainess stood with her hands on her hips. They recognised her immediately, pulled the IVs from their forearms, and tried to surround her.
Shego didn't give them the chance. She launched into a spinning kick that knocked out the smallest of the group in one go, somersaulted into a landing on the rebound, and paused just long enough to ignite the green glow around her hands before laying into the others. She could have toyed with them to draw out the fight, but her employer was watching and intended to make a quick getaway. In short order, the four agents were in an unconscious pile beside her first two victims.
"Well done, Shego!" Drakken congratulated her, walking into the room once the violence was over. He approached the table on which a large metal case sat. "With the PASIV device under my control, I will finally be able to steal the secrets of whoever I choose! No more temperamental brain sifters, mind drills or cranial drains!"
"Didn't you design all those flawed mindreading machines?" Shego asked with a straight face.
"The brain tap worked..." the mad scientist whined.
"Once," the green girl was compelled to point out as her smirk returned, "And it fizzled once it was done."
"I blame that on feedback from Dr. Possible's disorganised mind," Drakken grumbled as he snatched up the booklet beside the metal case, browsed the labelled diagram, then flicked a switch on the machine. The IV lines retracted through the holes in each corner of the case. With a satisfied smile, Drakken tossed the manual inside before shutting and locking the case. He yanked it off the table, almost let it hit the floor after misjudging the weight, and turned back to the door. "Let's get out of here before Kim Possible shows up."
Shego almost wished the heroine would make an appearance. "So what does Project Someone's Sin do, again?" she asked as they made their way down the corridor. The base was underground, and they had to take an elevator back up to the escape craft.
"Project Somnacin," her employer enunciated with a huff. "Shared dreaming. The military designed it for training soldiers, but I shall twist it to a much more insidious purpose. Imagine walking through a world that personifies the human mind! Stealing their innermost secrets would be as easy as breaking into a safe!"
The villainess had no comment. It sounded like a good plan, but it wasn't the first of Drakken's plans that started off on a good note, only to spiral into abject stupidity. And it was only a matter of time before Kimmie caught up to them to take the shiny briefcase back. How did that work, anyway? It looked like all the machine did was drug several people at the same time...
"Wait a minute. Are you planning to hook me up to that thing?"
"Of course! You're the thief, Shego," Drakken said as he hit the button for the elevator, which opened immediately.
"Hold on there, sport. You're doing no such thing until I know exactly how it works."
"Heavens forbid you actually pay attention for a change," the mad scientist muttered under his breath.
"Nothing!" Drakken insisted as the elevator doors closed behind them.