To Teach His Own
By: Mark J. Hadley
* * *
The City of Townsville, one of the safest cities in the world, thanks to the efforts of the resident crimefighters, the Powerpuff Girls. This super-powered trio could seemingly handle any crime or disaster that came about, and even if they had their occasional setbacks, they never lost…and as a result, the citizens felt safe under their watchful eyes.
One citizen was concerned about them, however. Professor Utonium, their creator, couldn't have been prouder of his three girls, but most recently, he had begun to wonder if they were really strong enough to handle anything that might arise. They had managed well enough up to this point, but he became increasingly worried that one day they might be faced with something too powerful for them. He decided to continue training them, just to put these fears out of his mind.
The professor watched through the glass leading into the training room. The girls were surrounded by a dozen robots, which closed in and attacked them. In a quick flurry of punches, though, all of them were taken down. Buttercup wasted no time in leaving the training room the instant the scenario was over, saying, "Okay, are we done now?"
"Well," the professor said, "I'd really like to run that last one through again, I think you could lear—…"
"Professor," Blossom interrupted. "This is super and all, but do we really need to train like this anymore? I mean…" She smiled and waved a hand in dismissal, "…it's not like we ever lose…"
Bubbles nodded in agreement, folding her arms, "Yeah! We're the best, aren't we?"
"Of course you are," the professor reluctantly agreed, "but don't you want to get even better?"
"What's the point, if we're already on the top?" Buttercup asked.
With a sigh, the professor deactivated the training room and said, "Fine…we'll end the training session here, then. Go upstairs, and I'll be up shortly to get dinner ready."
"YAY!" all three girls chorused together, and in three quick flashes of light, they left the lab. The professor sat down at his desk, drumming his fingers idly as he thought about what they said. He always encouraged them to better themselves, but lately, they seemed to be lax on their exercises. They did them, and successfully, but half-heartedly. This troubled him, in that they weren't trying to learn anymore.
Picking up a tape from the desk, he popped it into a VCR and watched the image appear on a monitor. It was a news recording of the girls battling Mojo Jojo…although he had constructed a battlesuit that was fast and could withstand a hit from a tank, the girls showed up and blasted it to pieces almost like it wasn't there to begin with. The fight lasted a while, though, because they were just messing around at first, dodging its attacks easily. All three of them came out of the fight with bored expressions, even.
Maybe that's it, he thought to himself. Maybe the reason why they're not keeping a serious attitude…they've run out of challenges. No villain in Townsville can stand up against them, so there's no incentive to improve, no reason to better themselves. It almost makes me wish they would lose once and a while, just to push them into striving harder. But I don't want to see them lose…and besides, if they did, it would be all over for them. My training exercises can only take them so far; there has to be a better way to simulate this…something to make them realize they need to still improve, make them be more serious about what they're doing, and not really put them in any terrible danger…
* * *
The next day, Bubbles and Buttercup were sitting at the table, hungry and ready for dinner. Bubbles noticed Blossom come up from the lab and asked, "So, what did he say?"
"He's busy with something and doesn't want to be disturbed," Blossom told them. "He just said there's some leftover pizza in the fridge we can have."
"Works for me!" Buttercup said, flying to the refrigerator and pulling out the slices of pizza. In a couple of minutes, it had been dispensed out onto plates, and warmed in the microwave. "I call dibs on the cheese!" she added as she prepared them.
"Hey!" Bubbles protested, noticing that just the mushroom pizza was left, "You know I don't like mushrooms!"
"Then you shoulda called the cheese pizza faster," Buttercup smirked.
Blossom was about to say something, then just waved it off, "Nevermind, let's just eat. Bubbles, pick the mushrooms off if you don't want them."
They sat down to eat…Bubbles carefully picked off every mushroom from her pizza, stacking them in a small pile nearby. When she was done, Buttercup reached over and scooped the mushrooms up, saying, "I'll take those," sprinkling them over her own pizza.
"Buttercup!" Bubbles shouted.
"What? You still got your cheese pizza now, don't you?" Buttercup told her.
Blossom was about to say something about being nice to her sister, when the hotline rang in the other room. She dashed over and answered it, "Hello, Mayor?"
The mayor's voice came from the other side, "Oh, hello, Blossom. I hope I'm not interrupting anything…"
"No, nothing at all," Blossom said back. "What's the problem?"
"Well, there's someone here taking shots at buildings with some kind of laser weapon thing," the mayor explained. "I've never seen him before…"
Grinning at that, Blossom said, "Don't worry, Mayor; we'll be right there!" She hung up the phone and shouted, "C'mon, girls! Some new guy causing trouble downtown…let's go!" She shot out from the house, with the other girls right behind her, heading straight for Townsville.
On the way, Blossom told the other girls what it was. Buttercup rolled her eyes and said, "Great, another new guy. These crooks never learn."
"Maybe we can be back in time to watch Puppet Pals!" Bubbles suggested.
Buttercup nodded, "Yeah, let's just finish this guy off as fast as possible so we can get home."
As they cruised high over the street, they could see a few buildings that had been shot by the villain's laser weapon. "Hmm," Blossom said, scratching her chin. "That's odd…it's not very much damage…the shots don't even look like they were aimed at anything important. It's almost as if the guy was attracting attention on purpose…"
"Or maybe he's just an inexperienced loser," Buttercup corrected her, then added with a snicker, "Look, I think I see him up ahead… check out that outfit…" Standing on the street way up ahead was a man, dressed in a shiny black outfit that looked like either metal or plastic. His back was to the girls, but he turned around as they approached. He was wearing a mask over his face, with only his eyes visible. His chest was adorned with a triangular green symbol adorned with the symbol of an atom; it was transparent-looking, and glowed with a faint green light.
The girls stopped nearby, hovering in the air, and Blossom called out, "All right, criminal…who are you, and what do you think you're doing?"
The man seemed to laugh to himself, even though they couldn't see his mouth behind the mask. In a voice that was mechanically augmented, he spoke with a deep, resonating echo, "Powerpuff Girls, at last. I knew you would come. I wanted to see this city's worthless little protectors to find out what I was up against, and to face you once before I begin my plans to take over this city."
"Well, once is all you're gonna get!" Buttercup shouted.
"Really," the villain said, unimpressed. "You mean to say you'll fail that easily?"
Buttercup frowned and said, "Okay, that's it…I'll take care of this guy myself, all right?" Blossom nodded her okay, and Buttercup flew towards him, pulling back a fist to swing a punch.
Her fist smacked against an invisible field, however. With sparks of green electricity, the field became visible for a second, and Buttercup fell back from it, yelping and clutching her wrist. The man laughed from behind his mask and said, "My turn." Before Buttercup could react, he stretched a hand out towards her, and a beam of green energy blasted out from the palm of his glove, striking her and pushing her back into the side of a building.
"Buttercup!" Bubbles cried out.
Buttercup was stunned, but she looked otherwise all right as she shook off the effects of the impact. Blossom glared at the man, who was still waiting in the street, and said, "Bubbles, attack pattern Gamma-Alpha-5, ready? NOW!" The two of them shot directly towards the man, side by side. He stood, unafraid of their approach. Just before they impacted against him, then split off in opposite directions, circling around him and firing their eyebeams at the spot directly behind him, hoping to strike him since they expected him to flinch back from the initial charge.
Instead, he had already started running forward, anticipating their move. The eyebeams struck the ground harmlessly behind him, and he spun around, suddenly throwing two metal claw-like devices. They each struck Blossom and Bubbles dead center and latched around them, pinning their arms to their sides and causing them to drop out of the air, landing on the ground with a thud. They struggled, but couldn't get free from the restraints that held them.
"I see that you're tied up at the moment," the man chortled, "so I'll just leave you be for now…"
By this time, Buttercup had recovered…she cried out in rage and picked up a parked car nearby. Lifting it over her head, she flung it as hard as she could at the man. He already had some kind of device in his hand by this time, though, and pressing a button on it, the car suddenly stopped in mid-flight, hovering in the air surrounded by a wavering field of green energy. Buttercup stared in disbelief as the car was flung back at her suddenly, slamming into her and smashing her against the ground.
"Ah ah ah," the man said, waggling a finger. "No throwing cars around, my friend…try this instead…"
As she got back up, she saw something flying towards her…another one of those claw-like things like the ones that held her sisters. She flew up to avoid it, but it changed direction in midair and struck her anyway, locking her arms to her side similarly. She landed on the street, and with another click of the device he used on the car, she was levitated over near the other girls, who were still struggling to free themselves.
The click of a weapon arming made them stop struggling and look up at him. He had a very wicked-looking blaster aimed at them, and he laughed, "Fools! Was that the best you could do? I feel ashamed for you…ashamed that you would think you're good enough to protect this city of yours. I can destroy you this instant…my weapon is powerful enough. And no, Blossom, don't even bother with your eyebeams; they won't even scratch the weapon's metal."
Blossom was taken aback…How did he guess I was going to try that? she thought. This guy was prepared to fight us…he knows our every move; he even knew my attack plan! How can we beat him? He's too powerful! But…it's too late now, he has us right where he wants us…
The man leveled the blaster directly at Blossom, and she clenched her eyes shut, cringing, waiting for the blast that would follow…but there was nothing. She opened her eyes cautiously and saw that he was walking away. "The test is over…I've found what I needed to know," he told them. "There's no need to destroy you now. You three are of no threat to me whatsoever. I'd rather let you live with the humiliation of your defeat, and with the knowledge that you shall never be good enough to stop me. I can now begin to conquer the city at my leisure. Farewell, Powerpuff Girls…for Townsville will soon be under the control of me…Dr. Neutron!"
Blossom watched as a jetpack on his back ignited, and he flew into the air, a diabolical laugh echoing across the street in his wake. He disappeared off into the distance, and Blossom glanced at her two likewise shocked sisters. Whoever this new villain was, he was far more powerful than anything they had faced in the past. Bubbles spoke up first, "What…are we gonna…do?"
"I don't know…" Blossom replied. "I…I…"
"Oh man, this is not good…" Buttercup said. "How are we gonna stop this…'Dr. Neutron'…whoever he his?"
Blossom gathered her strength and said, "We'll just have to be ready for him the next time he shows up. We've gotta plan, and find a way to get around his defenses. We can do it…we're the Powerpuff Girls, after all!"
"Yeah!" both Bubbles and Buttercup chorused together. After a pause, though, Bubbles looked down at the metal claw restraining her and asked, "Um…how do we get out of these things?"
* * *
A ways away, Dr. Neutron landed in a grove of trees in the suburbs. He looked around to make sure no one was nearby, then quickly removed his shiny black armor, revealing the crisp white lab coat underneath. Taking off the mask, the professor placed it all in a pile, chuckling a little. I'm glad I got the Mayor's permission to do this, he thought…I'd be in deep trouble if I didn't. But it all went flawlessly. Now, they think there's a villain out there that they can't defeat…we'll see how this effects their training, and maybe, if the girls need the extra push, the city will receive another visit from Dr. Neutron soon! Hehehe…I just hope they don't figure out it's me…
TO BE CONTINUED…