An overall clad girl trudged along the hallways of the Kids Next Door moon base. She rubbed her fist against her cheek angrily, trying to erase a grease stain. She seemed to always be covered in them. It was her signature. Overalls, grease stains, goggles, cap. Numbuh 202. Anyone could tell you that.
Except right about now, she wished that no one would recognize her. Her fists scrubbed harder against her cheeks, until she suddenly stopped, reaching up to tear the blue cap off her head. She shoved it into the front pocket of her overalls.
Moon Base was filled with its normal hustle and bustle. Thousands of kids all running each and every way, trying to get what they needed to done before 362 realized it hadn't yet been completed. Numbuh 202 just walked though, attempting to look as small and unimportant as possible. This was unusual. The usual 202 was confident, borderline cocky. She walked with her head held high, proud to let everyone see her grease smudges. Proof that she had been working hard. Building something new. Helping sectors all over the world improve their technology.
But that day changed everything.
Deep, deep down, she knew that it was not entirely her fault. The Supreme Leader had only allotted her a few minutes in which to reconfigure some of the most complex 2x4 tech that existed. She doubted whether even Numbuh 2 could've succeeded. But, that was not a good excuse. Her organization had called out to her in need and she had failed. The reconfiguration was insufficient. Everyone was animalized. Father almost won.
He didn't, though, she reminded herself. But, it was still much too close for comfort. A newbie had had to save that day. When that job could've fallen to 202.
Her feet carried her to the hangar. It was a slow day, all the villains still reeling from the recent close call and father off planning his next scheme. Because of this, Numbuh 202 figured there would be relatively few people in this area of the base. Head trained on scuffed work shoes, she shuffled in.
"Hey!" Her head whipped around, blonde hair sent spinning without her cap. "You can't be here. Authorized personnel only." The voice that spoke these words was demanding and firm. As was the boy who spoke them. Numbuh 60 of the Arctic training base.
"Sorry," 202 muttered.
The boy took a look at his clipboard and sighed, stuffing a pen behind his ear. Under normal circumstance, Numbuh 202 would've laughed at this out of character move. Or maybe snapped a picture to show to the 2x4 development scientists at a later time. They were a slightly pretentious bunch and such things as Numbuh 60 with a pen behind his ear would be humorous for them. She did neither of these things though. "Rank?" he asked.
"Numbuh 202 of Sector G," the girl replied. "What are you doing?"
"We lost a lot of ships the other day," Numbuh 60 said. "Some operatives are still recovering from animalization, so I got stuck on inventory."
Numbuh 202's cheeks flushed with embarrassment. She hadn't even considered that aspect of her failure. It was going to take the techs in charge of ship-construction weeks to rebuild them. "What's your specialty?" 60 asked.
"2x4 tech and piloting, but mostly the tech stuff," she answered. Numbuh 202 knew where this was leading. But, Numbuh 60 was a higher-up and she didn't want to get more attention drawn to her by not answering.
60 took the pen out from behind his ear and continued to take his notes. "Numbuh 202, right?" He looked up.
The blonde girl gulped and nodded weakly. He was going to remember.
"Well, it's an honor to meet you. Nice try, tech," the large boy praised.
Numbuh 202's eyes widened and she pushed her goggles up upon her head. "Are you kidding me? Seriously? Everything that happened that day was my fault! And you're 'honored' to meet me! This is crazy!" she exploded.
Afterwards, there was silence for a few seconds. "Done, 202?"
She huffed, her cheeks now colored with exertion. "Sure."
"Then, yes. You are exemplary, 202. I don't boast knowing much about 2x4, but from what I can gather the amount of work you did in such a short time frame was impressive. If you don't mind my asking, how old are you, Numbuh 202?" 60 paused. Age was always that slightly taboo question. Younger operatives never had a problem with it, but those older ones. It was always hard. To bite out that number that meant you were close to the end.
202's hands found the back of her neck and rubbed. "Twelve," she whispered, suddenly overcome with an onslaught of fear and sadness and defeat.
Numbuh 60 stopped writing and bit his lip for a fraction of a second. "I'm very sorry to hear that, tech. You'll be missed I'm sure. I asked because I don't remember training you. You're before my time though. I wish I had bragging rights." He smiled.
"You think rather highly of me, don't you, Numbuh 60?" the blonde teased slightly.
If Numbuh 60 was capable of frivolous things such as blushing, he probably would have then. He liked confident people. He felt most at home when surrounded by them. The Kids Next Door was the perfect place for him. "I think highly of people who deserve high thoughts," he replied carefully.
Numbuh 202's laughed. She thought she had a nice laugh. Kind of deep but fun and melodic. Her eyes glanced around the room. They had lost a lot of ships. But, if Numbuh 60 believed it was not her fault, she could start to believe such things as well. The blonde reached into her pocket to retrieve her cap. Her head felt oddly naked without it. "Now," 60 began, "if you had been wearing that the whole time, I might've recognized you sooner."
"That was kind of the point." 202 slid down the wall and brought her knees up to her chest. "Need some company?"
"Negative, tech," 60 stated, back to his normal speech patterns and strictness. "I shouldn't have allowed you in here in the first place."
Numbuh 202 reached up and mimed running a zipper across her lips. "Cross my heart," she grinned.
The burly boy sighed, tapping the pen against the clipboard a few times. "You better keep that promise, 202."
The tech specialist nodded. Suddenly, she wasn't so ashamed of being the overall-clad girl. Cap on head, faint grease smudge on cheek, goggles protecting her eyes. Numbuh 202. Queen of all things 2x4. She smiled. "Call me Kim."
A/N: 202/60? Does it get more random than that? Anywho, it's nice to be back, my friends. I miss the land of KND. And, gamewizard2008, hope you liked it!