Author's Note: Oh Hai! I'm still alive in case you were wondering.

Chapter 17

Upon leaving the scene, Stephanie raced back to Pixel's as fast as she could. Running hurt too much after a moment, but she could do a mean speed walk. She knew of one of Pixel's inventions that would be just the thing. When she got there she just let herself in.

"Pixel!" Stephanie hollered, startling the boy-genius. He was still up, fiddling with the remote. She frowned.

"Didn't I tell you to go to sleep?" Stephanie asked. "Oh, nevermind that now. Where's that super-powered slingshot of yours?"

"In the toybox." Pixel yawned after he could process Stephanie's babbling.

"Excellent! Thanks!" Stephanie hurried over to the large crate in the corner of the room and started rifling through it. It took a few minutes, but eventually she pulled out a complicated looking metal thing with a long rubber band.

"Go to sleep Pixel!" She shouted as she bolted out the door. Pixel groaned at the spot where she used to be.

Stephanie made her way back to the edge of town, fitting the slingshot over her arm as she went. The straps automatically tightened around her forearm. She picked up a few rocks and pebbles that were strewn across the base of the low wall she was hiding behind. She put the rocks on the top of the wall and pushed herself up onto the wall as well.

Stephanie took the time to fiddle around with slingshot strapped to her arm. She adjusted some of the settings to what she thought they should be, though not entirely sure of what she was doing. Pixel had been banned from using this thing ever since the first time he'd brought it out. She vaguely recalled him taking out something like seven street lamps all at once completely by accident.

Sportacus had spotted Stephanie just as soon as she'd come back into view of the billboard. He'd thought about calling out to her, but she seemed preoccupied with something she had in her hands. It was, he guessed, the something she'd gone off to get. It looked sort of familiar. He craned his neck a little and squinted to get a better look.

"Oh no..." Sportacus groaned as he realized what it was. "I thought he got rid of that thing." He added in disgust.

"What? What thing?" Robbie asked suddenly. He pivoted his neck a few times to try to see whatever it was that Sportacus was seeing. Sportacus ignored him. He'd find out soon enough anyway, if Stephanie's plan was what he thought it was.

Stephanie finally looked up at the billboard. She waved at Sportacus with her free arm.

"Stephanie!" Sportacus shouted warily.

"All I have to do," Stephanie shouted. "Is make it look at me and hit the off switch with a rock!" She explained. "Simple!"

Sportacus wasn't so sure. But Stephanie was high enough off the ground that it couldn't get to her, so even if she didn't successfully hit it then she's provide enough of a distraction that he could jump down and shut it off. Maybe. He wiggled his ankles a little bit and winced.

Stephanie was determined. This was going to work. If she couldn't do this one simple thing then she didn't really see the point of old age at all. You had to be able to do some things for yourself. If she couldn't do this then she vowed she was going to die young. First thing after she got fixed she'd start on the junk food and take up underage smoking. That'd cut her lifespan in half. She'd make her expiration date 40 years.

Well... maybe she was exaggerating the point a tad. But still, the feeling was there.

Stephanie loaded the slingshot and took a breath. She aimed at the switch on the dogs back as carefully as she could and shouted.


The fuzzy purple mechanical dog startled and swiveled it's head towards her with a menacing growl. Stephanie waited until it was facing completely towards her so that the switch was in the right direction and...

"You stupid dog! Your big head is in the way!" Stephanie complained. She shot her first rock at it in annoyance, thinking her plan was ruined before she even got a real chance at it. The rock made a loud DIN~NG and ricocheted off the dog's forehead. The dog in question yelped and put it's head down to hold it with it's paws.

Everyone present stopped for just a moment at that. No one had known that pain would actually effect the thing. It was kind of weird. Robbie let out a horrified gasp.

"You monster!" Robbie howled at Stephanie.

"Oh be quiet Robbie, this is all your fault anyway!" Stephanie said. Robbie's indignation had jolted her out of her surprise. She loaded the slingshot and fired again while the dog's head was still down.

The rock scraped the fuzzy purple back of the beast and hit the switch. The switch turned firmly into the off position and the rock took the top part of it with it as it went by.

"Yes!" Stephanie shouted. She gingerly slid off the wall and braved the open area under the billboard. With the dog disabled and a new lease on life after middle age she was feeling pretty good about herself.

Sportacus climbed down the back of the billboard and burst through the 'secret' door. He jogged over to her and lifted her up with a twirl. Stephanie hugged him and seemed to notice something.

"Are you limping?" She asked with a frown.

"Ah..." Sportacus hesitated.

"Yes, yes he is! The dog bit him on the foot. Now will one of you please get me down?" Robbie said. Still clinging to one of the lights atop the billboard.

"Is it wrong that I feel a little less bad for it now?" Stephanie asked Sportacus quietly.

"It was just doing what Robbie programmed it to do." Sportacus pointed out. He let Stephanie down and scanned the area for a nearby way to get Robbie down. The old tree house ladder was within a convenient distance, so Sportacus went to fetch it.

It took a few faltering minutes for Robbie to make it off the billboard and back onto solid ground successfully, but he eventually made it. He then strode over to his dog and picked it up. He tucked it under his arm and marched through the door in the billboard. After a moment there was a loud clanging sound, indicating he'd gone into his underground home.

Author's Note: That probably seems like a weird cut-off point. But I was getting really tired of that scene. More interested in some of the stuff that comes next.