My Big Fat Ubekian Wedding
(Part 3: The Reprise)
Out in the courtyard, the air of the Ubekian evening flowed normally through the floral arrangement and garden pieces. Not a stir of excitement could be found. The marble fountain in the center of area had even somehow managed to also remained untouched from the chaotic goings on of the wedding reception.
However, this portrait of peace would soon be tarnished, for Sector V minus one blond Aussie had finally made it outside.
"Numbuh 4!" Kuki was the first to shout. The four of them looked all around the courtyard, but not a trace of the boy could be found. Worried, they began to step off the porch to begin a more invested scout attempt. "Wally, answer me! Are you okay, and more importantly, still single?"
They jumped at the noise, then turned to the left to see Wally calmly leaning against a cherry blossom tree. At his feet were his wig, and the form of Hob'en Hump-Nun, whom was now sporting a brand new black eye. Apparently, the small rebel had lowered his guard, clearly not expecting his beloved and fragile Yal'see to be such a brute underneath the dress.
Wally was in the process of packing the perfect snowball in his hands as his friends gathered round. "Sheesh, you lot took ya time, didn't ya? I've made, like, seven of these things waitin' for you guys to get 'ere."
"Oh, you're okay!" Kuki laughed, picking the boy up into a bone crushing hug. "I thought that rebel had taken you on a honeymoon and we would never see you again!"
"Okay, okay! Enough of the mushy stuff. I was in a wedding, for Pete's sake!" Wally whined as he weakly struggled against Kuki's hold. However, he never fully backed away until she was good and ready to let him go. "And that guy is a pansy. I couldn't understand half of the crud he was talkin' about, but I know it all girly and sissy. Yuck!"
As he stepped forward, Nigel bowed his head in shame. "I'm sorry, Numbuh 4. This is my fault. I was desperate, and talked you into going along with this ridiculous plan."
"Yea. Ya did," Wally frowned. However, his face softened a bit, and he lightly bopped the bald boy in the arm. "But don't go beating ya'self up like a crybaby, Numbuh 1. How the heck were you supposed ta know this all would be some trap by Mr. Boss?"
"I should have. None of this would of happened if I had prepared better."
"But it did happen," Abby softly said as she placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "But we manned up, kicked butt, and got Numbuh 4 back. That's all that matters, baby."
"I hear that, sister! Good to have ya back, pal," Hoagie warmly laughed as he swung an arm around the blond's neck. "I'll admit, I was worried you'd blow your cover. Cleaning up for big formal things isn't your style. Luckily, I see that you've managed to properly a-dress the situation! Ha!"
"Right, keep pointing out my dress," Wally grumbled, crossing his arms. "Because that's never going to get old."
"It's not old, it's traditional," Hoagie continued to josh. "Why, I'd say it's even made of honor!"
"Alright, Numbuh 2," Nigel sighed, "I think you're getting carried away with this."
"As long as no one carries Numbuh 4 over the threshold, we're good, chief," Hoagie hooted on, nearly laughing himself to tears. "Oh man, I have so many more, but I can't remember 'em. Wait wait, one more! Okay, what do you call it when a blond, a couple of kids, and a priest attend a wedding at the same time?"
"A chance to get all the ice cream I need for my invention!"
"No, that's not even close–AH!" Hoagie yelped as he was pushed aside.
"Oh drat," Professor Triple Extra Large cursed. He then shrugged, then jerked Wally up by his collar. In one hand, he held the blond operative, and in the other, the dazed heir of the Kola'ta family. "I was never good at getting punchlines."
"Professor!" Nigel acknowledged, his team prepping their weapons in response. "What are you doing?"
"Finishing the wedding," he explained. "Ubekian law states that as long as it's done in front of witnesses, then the union is official! Even though none of you want it to happen, you still count as witnesses!"
"We'll never recognize it as a wholesome union!"
"It's not that type of wedding, don't get all political." The Professor rolled his eyes. "Now, does anyone have any reasons as to why these two should not be wed? Oh wait, I've already done that. What I mean to say is, I now pronounce these two husband and–"
"Actually," Nigel smirked, "I DO have something to say!" In response, the boy raised up his trusty S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R, and fired the weapon off right in the Professor's face, point blank. The action took the High Priest by surprise, and caused him to drop Wally and the Kola'ta heir. As the two veered off in different directions, the Professor stumbled around blinded.
Hoagie quickly ran behind the adult, and stuck his leg out to trip him up. "Me Two!"
The Professor careened back, hitting the ground with a dull thud. He groaned as he whipped the snow out of his eyes, but then looked curiously to his left. There, he saw Kuki cheerfully making a snow angel. When she noticed him staring at her, she smiled.
"Me Three!" Without warning, she hopped up, then stomped squarely down on the Professor's gut. He heaved as he felt the air rush out of him, and to add further insult to injury, Kuki blew the balding mad scientist a good ol' raspberry. Angered, he swiped one of his claws at the girl, but she only giggled as she leapt out of the way. Enraged, the Professor got to his feet. He grabbed the nearest rock he could find, and reared his arm back to throw it at the girl.
However, the moment he tried to swing his arm around, he found he couldn't. Something, or someone, was holding it back. When he tried to pull against the resistance, he squealed in pain when the person twisted his wrist painfully. With a his expression laden with pain, Triple Extra Large looked back to see Wally smirking as the boy held his entire fur covered arm in his grasp.
"Me Four," Wally darkly chuckled. His other arm gripped hold of the Professor, and then he grunted as he used his might to lift the madman and bring his entire body into a full swing. After a series of harsh rotations, the boy tossed the adult away as if he was nothing, and simply dusted off his hands as he sat back and enjoyed the fruits of his labor.
Abby calmly studied her watch as she waited for the Professor to land. The girl was the epitome of suave and calm as she leaned against a stray tree in the courtyard. After a few seconds, she lifted the rim of her hat to look up and see the Professor tumbling down. Before he could stop himself, the adult's entire face met the harsh bark of the tree with a loud rattle. His moans of pain echoed throughout the courtyard as his body slid down into the ground.
The girl glanced down at the man directly under the tree, then up into the tree's branches itself. Smirking, Abby gave the tree one final light tap with the heel of her foot. The tree rumbled a bit, before dumping a whole heap of snow on the Professor, effectively burying him under it. "Me Five. Heh heh."
"Well," Wally proudly chuckled as he walked back to the group. "That takes care of–OH COME ON!" The boy yelled as he found himself being grabbed and carried away against his will. Again. This time by Hob'en Hump-Nun, who had just now decided to return to the land of the waking.
The rebel leader swung to the rooftop of the building, holding Wally in his grasp as his prize. Clearly the black eye was effecting his eye-sight. "Yoi'po kiau'la mansj'o utio likjo! HA HA!"
Nigel just slumped. "Doesn't ANYONE just stay down anymore?"
"Oh for the love of…" Kuki moaned. Suddenly, her face went to an emotionless blank as she moved into action. She snatched the S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R from Nigel's hands, and ignored his protests as she broke out into a sprint towards the fountain. With amazing athletic ability they didn't know she had, Kuki leapt up the three tier platform that served as the fountain's center piece.
Once at the top, Kuki jumped for a hanging flagpole, and kicked her body forward to build momentum. She let go, bringing herself into a forward, upward somersault. She poised her body in mid-air, and landed on the tiled rooftop of the building without so much as a clatter. She turned towards the rebel boy, who stood in stunned awe of her performance, and crouched low as she ran to him.
When she neared him, Hob'en Hump-Nun snapped out of his daze. He positioned Wally as a shield, and tried to unsheathe his sword. But his fumble would be all Kuki needed. Without effort, she ducked and went into a leg-sweep, kicking both Wally and Hob'en into the air. Kuki held out one arm to catch Wally, and the other holding the S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R reached for the sky. The girl didn't even look up as she fired the weapon, the splintered plank meeting Hob'en's face as it fell towards it.
"Whoa," Wally gasped as Kuki carried him down bridal style. Upon realizing his butt had just been rescued by a girl, she suddenly found his cheeks reddening a bit. "Uh, no one else besides the guys has ta know about this? Right?"
Kuki showed her first sign of emotion by smiling innocently at him. "I don't knoooow. Can I get all your TV time this week to watch the Rainbow Monkey Marathon?"
Wally's eyes widened before narrowing in contempt. "Clever girl."
As the children greeted their friends, hopefully for good this time, a battle haggled Mr. Boss finally managed to stagger out into the courtyard.
Everything was a complete disaster. His ice cream men had been overrun by the rebels, and the royal Ubekian guards were too busy pushing the intruders out to even lift a finger to help them. It was like they had forgotten there was a wedding going on. But of course, that really didn't matter anymore. As much as he tried to deny it, the reception had been canceled. Not to mention he lost track of the marriage contract. There was no telling how much losing that single slip of paper was going to bite him in the butt.
His last hopes on really salvaging anything rested on the Professor managing to pull off a miracle and complete the ceremony. Once he caught sight of the crumpled body of the High Priest himself under a massive pile of snow, Mr. Boss could only grunt. Honestly, that was just about what he expected to happen.
And there Sector V was. Laughing it up and ready to go home. The brats didn't even have the courtesy to at least recognize he was standing a few feet from them! Some arch-enemies they were. They were just the worse.
Yet here they were: victorious again while his perfect business plan to steal the Tipuan Ice Cream Trading empire right from under their noses was in shambles. And to top it all off, his best suit was trashed and he lost the cookies his wife had packed for him.
This day was the worst day ever.
"This has been just perfect," he sarcastically grumbled. The five children noticed him, and glared as he continued his line of thought. "The kind of day where everything just goes wrong."
"It's over. You've lost control," Nigel proclaimed, he and his team taking aim at the adult. "Surrender now. You might get parole."
"I may not win," he suddenly grinning, pulling something out of his pocket and quickly tossing it at them. "But you brats won't be standing long!"
Abby's eyes widened as she recognized the weapon that landed at their feet. "A C.R.E.A.M.I.E grenade? Where did he get dat?"
Wally suddenly looked sheepish. "Yeah. I kinda hid one under the dress. Didn't think anyone would notice…"
"ENOUGH OF THIS!" A voice roared from behind. Sector V turned to see the Professor had risen. His chest heaved with every breath, and his eyes were wild. "I will finish this wedding. I WILL! It is my duty as a questionably insane High Priest! I'll finish this ceremony with my bear hands!"
"Ha! Bear hands!" Hoagie suddenly exploded, grinning as he pointed towards the Professor's mutated grizzly hands. "I get it!"
"And you know what you get, Professor?" Nigel innocently asked, before shoving something in the man's hands. "This."
"Oh, why thank you!" he smiled as he took the item. Suddenly, the children bolted, and the Professor finally realized what he was holding. "Aw, popsicles."
"KULAKIN!" a royal Ubekian guard shouted in the aftermath of the explosion. His eyes widened at what he saw as he entered the courtyard. Ice cream was everywhere. Near the far back, blown and encased to the wall in a sheet of frozen sherbert was what looked like the form of a man-grizzly bear hybrid. Near the opposite exit to the courtyard, was the businessman representing the Kola'tas, and in the center of the courtyard trying to gather their wits were five children. However, once he recognized four of them from back inside in the alter-chamber, he swung up his cross-bow as a warning. "KU GAH NOS!"
"Uh, t-thank goodness!" Mr. Boss suddenly cheered, making a last ditch effort to save his hide. As more and more royal guards poured into the courtyard, he felt his confidence surge. "These are the brats who tried to ruin the wedding! Arrest them!"
Wally sneered at the man, but grimaced when a group of guards took aim at him. "What's going on?"
Nigel gulped, his friends amassing behind him. "The rebels must have been suppressed. We took too long."
"See!" Mr. Boss caught Nigel's words, and attempted to twist them against him. "He admits it!"
"Silence!" The leader of the royal guard shouted. Upon seeing the businessman and children only spoke English, he adjusted his language accordingly. He paused a moment to remember his teachings, then spoke slowly and carefully. "Kola'ta businessman. Who are children?"
Mr. Boss grinned. "Terrorists!"
"WHAT? No we're not!"
"SILENCE!" the guard demanded once more. "Terrorists? They are behind attack?"
"Yes they are!" Mr. Boss was simply loving this. Finally, things were looking up. "Don't you remember? They crashed the wedding earlier! These brats will do anything to stop peace from coming between the Kola'tas and Tipuans." He then pointed towards Wally, who was now distinguishable from Yal'see. "They even switched the real Princess to dupe us!"
Abby nervously glanced around, frightened of how the guards were being so easily swayed by Mr. Boss. "This ain't looking good."
"J-Just wait a minute!" Nigel tried to intervene, but the guards just weren't having it. He yelped when one fired an arrow near his foot in warning. "HEY! Let me explain! Numbuh 4 did dress up as Yal'see, but it was to stop Mr. Boss! He's trying to trick you all!"
"Trick them? That's rich," he didn't even give Nigel a chance to present any evidence. The faster he got the brats convicted, the faster he could get back to fashioning together another contract. "The rebels attacked the moment we found them out. It's obvious! They kidnapped the Princess, and worked with the rebels to stop the wedding!"
A new voice startled the already tense crowd. Everyone turned to the western entrance to see none other than Prince Yul'sha with a firm, and confident Numbuh Infinity at his side. The Prince's eyes narrowed, and his finger was like a dagger as he singled out Mr. Boss. "The true culprit is none other than Mr. Boss himself. He is the real deceiver!"
"N-No I'm not!" Mr. Boss denied. "You can't believe this punk! He's been doing everything he can to stop the wedding! He's probably in on this whole thing too!"
"Hush, businessman," the royal guard growled. Mr. Boss seemed offended, but knew running his mouth would only lose the last bits of good will he had. With him silenced, the guard turned to Yul'sha."Explain, Yul'sha. Who are the child terrorists?"
"We are not terrorists," Numbuh Infinity took over, "we are the Kids Next Door. We have an established treaty with the Tipuan family through Third-Born Princess Yal'see herself. We are here to honor that treaty by protecting the Princess and her family from a grave threat."
"What threat do you speak of?"
"A threat planned by the rebels, and this fine specimen of slime here," Infinity clarified as he nonchalantly motioned to the fuming Mr. Boss. "Not too long ago, the Kids Next Door uncovered a conspiracy against the Tipuans. Working with the rebels, Mr. Boss constructed a marriage contract between the Tipuans and Kola'tas. A fine print overlooked by the lawyers states that once Yal'see is married to the Kola'ta heir, the rights of the Tipuan empire would be handed over to the Kola'tas. The Kola'tas are nothing more than Mr. Boss' puppets now. They would have handed the empire over into rebel hands."
A small murmur began around the courtyard. The captain of the guard noticed how anxious Mr. Boss seemed to be getting, but said nothing of it. "Why not inform us of this threat?"
"They did. They informed…me," Yul'sha stated. He shared a glance with Infinity, and when the boy nodded, he continued. "None of you believed me of the conspiracy, so I worked with the Kids Next Door to expose it. I took every precaution, such as having them replace Yal'see with a fake in the case the wedding could not be stopped in time."
"You forget that we did not believe you because you had no evidence, Yul'sha."
"Yeah!" Mr. Boss was all too happy to jump in. "Got anything to back up all that talk?"
Infinity then gave a ghost of a smile as he passed along a familiar looking sheet of paper to the captain. "I believe Mr. Boss dropped this. A copy of the marriage contract. Pay very close attention to sub-section b-7."
Mr. Boss panicked. How did the brat get his hands on that? He lost it!…"I lost it when that Ice Cream Truck crashed the place!"
Nigel puffed up his chest pridefully. "Plan B and a half works like a charm, every time."
The guard's eyes narrowed as he read the contract, nearly wanting to shred it in two at what he discovered. "Filthy dogs!" He then turned to Mr. Boss, his men beginning to switch their targets. "You attempted to deceive us!"
"That thing is forged!" Mr. Boss proclaimed, feeling like a mouse staring down a hungry feline. "That thing is a fake! They still haven't proved anything. Like–like the princess! If they replaced her, then where's the real one?"
Mr. Boss knew he was doomed the moment he heard that, even though he couldn't understand the language. There, stepping in from behind Yul'sha, was that other operative. 4-Below something, wasn't it? But she didn't really matter all that much.
It was the Princess, Yal'see, at her side who held everyone's attention.
"Yal'see!" the captain smiled, rushing up to her to insure her safety. He noted her dress, and how it seemed it had been frozen lately. "Huk iou muo kal?"
"Juki lopu has," she grumbled, picking bits of ice cream out of her hair. She then noticed Sector V, and frowned. "Hul bo huki!"
Nigel took his chance and leaned towards Infinity, who had joined them near the center of the chaos. "What exactly is going on? Where did the rebels really come from?"
The diplomat shook a bit. "Yul'sha had them on stand-by as a last ditch effort to stop the wedding. We originally called them in to provide you with cover, but I after I found the marriage contract, we took a gamble, and now we're trying to use them to make it seem like they were working with Mr. Boss to take over the Tipuan empire, and take all the blame for this folly off of us."
"You had all this planned?"
"No, but it seems we've gotten a break and everything had fallen into place to set this up. Now our hopes rides on Yal'see and Yul'sha keeping their end of the deal and clearing our names."
Kuki fidgeted. "And if they don't?"
"Yal'see," the captain spoke, focusing his stare on Sector V. "Kids Next Door, hul'our muli kad?"
Yal'see's frown deepened as she looked at the six. They had caused so much trouble for her. Heck, they even put her in the coma. But she then looked over to Numbuh 4-Below. The girl said nothing. She would never demand anything of her princess, but there was a certain pleading sparkle in her eye. She then looked up to her brother for guidance. Yul'sha gave a hard stare the children, but said nothing. It was clear he was leaving their fate up to her.
She immediately decided he was only doing that because he knew how much it irked her. Yal'see sighed, analyzing the group once more.
After a few agonizing minutes, she shrugged. "Kids Next Door, uki hul'our muli kad."
The captain nodded, signaling his guards. "Take bad businessman!"
"What!" Mr. Boss yelped as he suddenly found himself being hauled away. "What did she say?"
"The princess cleared our names," Infinity breathed, hardly believing it himself. "It worked! We got off Scott-free!"
Sector V cheered, Numbuh 4 smirking at Mr. Boss. "Enjoy prison, loser!"
"Wait! I have a High Priest to back me up!" Mr. Boss shouted. "Professor! A little help!"
Professor Triple Extra Large would have responded under normal circumstances, but at the moment, he was frozen to the wall. More than likely, he was suffering his own Brain Freeze Coma.
"Darn it. Last time I ever act on impulse."
Hoagie chuckled. "Man, some people ought to really check their targets." His little jib at the adult was met with a cold reception, with everyone suddenly glaring at him. "What?"
After what had seemed like a never ending cavalcade of anarchy, the Tipuan compound had returned to its former, peaceful glory. There was still lingering damage from the rebel attack, and the animosity between a sect of rival families was more present than ever, but at for now, the state of things had dwindled down into what everyone could agree was 'normal'. As normal as anything ever is in a place as exotic as Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan.
Back outside the compound, the reunited Sector V grimly watched as the royal guards carted away a horde of prisoners. The chain gang consisted of major rebel leaders in the assault, including Hob'en Hump-Nun, and a weary and defeated Mr. Boss. As he was dragged by the kids, he sneered, before a guard pushed him along, leading him and his brothers and sisters in binds to a heavily fortified horse mounted carriage.
Abby shook her head. Even though the man was being taken away to prison, she knew he would probably be back to annoy them within a couple of months. "So what's gonna happen to Mr. Boss?"
Nigel frowned as he explained. "As an enemy of the Kids Next Door, he's our responsibility. Numbuh Infinity will be handling negotiating a prison transfer to the Arctic Base as soon as possible. Given the charges he's facing here, it would be impossible if we didn't have the Tipuans to back us up. They have major sway here, and it's their way of showing 'thanks' for us solving this little problem for them."
"Probably jus' wanna push him off on us so we can get him outta their hair.," Wally grunted, not entirely pleased at how the villain's punishment was being laid out. "It ain't fair. I get threatened to have my head busted open like a watermelon, and he just has to sit in a dingy little cell until he sucks up to Numbuh 86."
"We'd be stooping to his level if we just left him here to rot," Nigel said, although the line sounded tired and rehearsed, even for him. "Besides, orders are orders."
Hoagie rubbed at his nose as he took in the events. "What about the Professor?"
"He's being treated for his Brain Freeze Coma. Since Numbuh Infinity didn't bother to group him in with Mr. Boss' lot, and the fact he's somehow still a highly respected High Priest in this country, they're going to just detain him for a while until he's recovered."
"They can keep him. The guy's nuttier than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the jelly!" The three could only find themselves agreeing with Wally's rather accurate statement.
"Hey guys!" The children turned towards Kuki's voice, and watched as the girl skipped up to them with two guests in tow. "The Prince and Princess want to say goodbye!"
Nigel stood a bit straighter as he met Prince Yul'sha's gaze. "Yul'sha. I suppose I owe you an apology."
The teenager folded his arms and held a very expectant expression. "Yes. I suppose you do."
The bald boy bit back a scoff, before sucking it up and sighing. "I was wrong to accuse you of kidnapping your own sister. It was an error of judgment on my part. I also thank you for the part you played in assisting my team get out of this mess."
"Yes. I suppose I should also thank you for helping me finally stop the arranged marriage."
They all waited a moment, but the Prince said nothing further. "Well, are you?"
"I said I should. Whenever I think about doing it, I remember it was you five who blew my original plan to heukil, and then decide on not doing it."
Wally growled at the teenager's smug tone. "We're still gonna be watching you, teenager."
"Actually, now thanks to the arrangement I made with Numbuh Infinity, the Kids Next Door can no longer act in Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan without reporting to me. So I am watching you," Yul'sha smirked, giving a tiny bow before walking away. "May your next horizon give you enlightenment, Kids Next Door."
Yul'sha had left the four the simmer, but Yal'see had stayed behind. The princess was currently staring dead at Wally. The poor boy himself was beginning to get unnerved.
"Uh, listen, I guess I'm sorry about that stuff back at the fort," he slowly and awkwardly apologized. For once, he used his head, and opted to be polite to the princess. Ugh, he hated that word. But he did not want to find out what would happen if you insulted a Ubekian Princess who just got out of a coma. "And I'm also sorry about getting ya in a coma, and er, pretending to be you for a while–but that coma bit wasn't my fault! And these guys forced me to wear that dress, so–"
The blond was silenced when the girl shocked them all by pecking Wally's cheeks. The boy lit up like a Christmas tree as the Princess smiled, bowed, then rushed to follow her elder brother, who had witnessed the display, and was cursing his sister's insane taste in boys.
Nigel blinked. "Interesting. You get a girl almost blown up, wear some of her dresses as disguises for a cover mission, and suddenly, she's all over you."
Wally's hand slowly found its way to the place Yal'see kissed him. He didn't know if he should feel honored, flattered, or grossed out. "Should I start worryin' about having to escape another wedding?"
"Wouldn't look too much into it, Casanova," Abby chuckled as she pat him on the back. "Coming out of the Brain Freeze Coma probably made the girl a lil loopy. She'll be back to hatin' your guts in no time."
Hoagie barely contained his chuckles as he awaited a certain reaction to Yal'see's very sudden act of PDA. "I don't know, what do you think, Numbuh 3? Uh, Numbuh 3?" Hoagie blinked, curious as to why the girl hadn't responded. He looked to where the girl was standing, and rolled his eyes as he saw what she was fawning over in her grasp. "Numbuh 3, where did you get that skunk?"
"It's Wel'neda, silly," Kuki softly cooed, tickling the supposed skunk-goddess in mortal form's underbelly. The little animal enjoyed the affection, and was very delighted at how Kuki didn't react negatively to her rather odorous smell. "I found her wandering outside the grounds, and she's sooo cute. Oh yes she is, oh yes she is! Can we keep her, Numbuh 1? Please?"
Nigel groaned aloud. "Numbuh 3, what have I told you about taking cultures' religious icons in as pets?"
"But I found out she IS related to Bradley! She's his fifth cousin twice-removed. It's probably been forever since they've seen each other!"
"Kuki," Nigel sternly lectured, "give the nice, crazy Ubekians their living goddess back. Right now."
"I think that would be wise," Numbuh 4-Below advised as she walked up towards the group, her hair down freely now that the mission was over. "As you have seen with the Rebels, our people are very sensitive about our religion."
Nigel ignored Kuki as he went to shake 4-Below's hand. "Numbuh 4-Below, I would like to personally thank you. Without you, we would have never gotten as close to Numbuh 4 as we did."
The blond rolled his eyes at how his leader was showering the dame with praise. "She didn't do a whole lot before. She didn't even have the cruddy courtesy to tell us she could speak English!"
Abby frowned. "She risked her life and job to help save you, fool. Be nicer!"
"Fine. Thank ya ever so much for savin' my life. I'm in your eternal debt and blah, blah, boring," Wally droned as she flapped his hands around. Finally fed up with how everything was getting so slow paced, he moved towards the back of the RV. "Geez, this thanking people crud is getting old. Hey Numbuh 2, my Yipper comics still in the trunk?"
Nigel pinched the bridge of his nose at his friend's behavior. "Please forgive Numbuh 4 for being, well, Numbuh 4. We've all had a rough night, he more so than the rest of us."
"I understand," Numbuh 4-Below curtly nodded. She then placed her hands together, and bowed gracefully before the team. "May your next mission bring you better tidings, Sector V. Despite watching my Honorable Princess get put in a coma, some of my country's most valued traditions getting exploited, and almost meeting the end of my life, it was a…" she gave a ghost of a smirk as she continued. "experience working with you."
Hoagie wiggled his eyebrows. "A pleasant experience?"
"Don't push it."
"Aw, and here I thought we became good chums back in there," Hoagie dramatically spouted before chuckling. "Talk about a bad case of cold feet! Ha! Been waiting to use that one all night!"
Abby sighed as she tapped the boy upside the head with her cap. "Knock it off."
Numbuh 4-Below appeared ready to make another comment, but she sealed her lips when Numbuh Infinity made himself known. The atmosphere got thick as the operatives waited on baited breath for his response. Sure, he helped them in the heat of the moment, but now that everything was said and done, there was the matter of what transpired before the wedding incident took place.
Nigel was the first, as always, to break the ice. "Numbuh Infinity. Is your assessment finished?"
"Yes," Infinity shortly replied. "The Tipuans eluded an air of skepticism, but they were -overall- grateful for our 'efforts' to bring Mr. Boss' scheme to light. They've agreed to keep our treaty intact, but under a few stricter circumstances."
"Too many things you field operatives wouldn't understand, but basically, we have to deal with watch-dogs now. Our sector is allowed to continue to operate in the area, but now all reports of our activity are fed to Yul'sha. He may have assisted us, but I can not honestly say I trust a teenager who has been given free reign to monitor our operations," he shook his head. "Still, I suppose it is better than losing access to this region completely. More importantly, Tasty Taste will never be a problem anymore. Ubekians have a long memory."
Hoagie dusted off his knuckles. "So I guess we managed to pull it off after all, wouldn't you say?"
Infinity sent the boy a chilling glare, and the effect was not ignored. "You'll be seeing what exactly I have to say soon enough. We managed to still retain foreign relations, so my report won't be as negative as previously intended, but you still have a lot to answer for," he said, his voice set like steel. "All of you."
"Great," Abby moaned, "dat's gonna be a load of fun."
"We've done all we can, team. For now, I suggest we get out of here. And leave that skunk behind!" Nigel snapped on Kuki, who froze in mid-pet of Wel'neda. "For Zero's sake, we must have already broken the record for international scandals and political incidents tonight. We don't need to push for one more, or else we risk going down in infamy for this sort of thing!"
At that moment, Wally's head reappeared around the corner of the RV, looking more bewildered than when he was asked to dress up as the princess. "Speaking of political incident thingys, someone mind explain' to me why the heck there's a naked adult in the back of the trunk?"
The rest of Sector V froze when they remembered the Ubekian official they stuffed in the RV. Hoagie shook his head as his shoulders slumped. They seriously couldn't catch a break today. "Somehow, we completely forgot about him."
"I was trapped in there for over an hour and I forgot about him," Infinity imputed, seemingly taking the new development in stride. Sector V could only conclude that the diplomat was in the middle of a nervous breakdown and this was simply how he reacted. "For a half-naked foreign minister, he's a terrible bore."
Abby, for the most part, stared long and hard at the RV. The insurmountable amount of disbelief present in her gaze was obvious from the next country over. After a long, silent minute, the girl shrugged, and reached for her pocket to pop a cherry lollipop into her mouth. "Figures."
Numbuh 4-Below shifted her eyes, then coughed into her hand as she gathered everyone's attention. "Well, uh, it has been a…privilege to work with you, Sector V," she said as she gave an awkward bow. The girl then slowly started backing away from the group. "But I must take my leave now, and go back to my comrades. Over there…before you end up killing our Chieftain." The girl then bolted, extremely intent on not having any involvement with the Sector V's vigorous attempts to bulldoze through KND-Ubekian relations.
And so the new revelations and surprises kept piling up as Numbuh Infinity just stared at the retreating operative as the obvious settled into his brain. "…they've been able to speak perfect English this entire time, haven't they?"
"Funny story, that. We'll share it later, look," Nigel stressed as he walked up to Infinity, placing two shaking hands on the diplomat's shoulders. "Infinity, this entire affair has boiled down to one step forward, a gazillion miles back. My team barely managed to salvage relations with Yal'see and the Ubekians, which is nothing short of a bloody miracle."
"Are you going to keep pointing out the obvious, or are you going somewhere with this?"
"What I'm trying to say is, after the heck we've all been through, my team can't afford to have any loose ends," Nigel spared a quick glance to the trunk, "on this mission. So you win. As our political expert, I submit your authority. All I ask is that you please tell us what to do now. You're the guy who smooths over these types of situations, so how do we make this problem go away without starting a war?"
"Oh, I see," Infinity frowned, his voice getting clipped as he went on. "You think that just because I'm a politician, I must know how to make 'dirty laundry' disappear. Because of course, all politicians must be conniving little usurers who always have some secret little agenda. Is that what you people think?"
Kuki tilted her head as she frowned at the kid. "So does that mean you can't do it or…"
"Of course I can! What do you take me for?" Infinity snapped back, seeming a bit insulted at their lack of faith. The sharp dressed boy wiped of his sunglasses, straightened his bow, then cleared his throat before he began giving out orders. "Listen very carefully. What we need to do is get in the RV and drive away like nothing happened. Once we get across the border, we're going to need a shovel, a bottle of hand lotion, that skunk, a gallon of orange paint, photo-shop, and this thing called the 'internet'…"
"…and that is why I think the country of Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan is one of the most interesting countries in the entire world," Wally finished, dropping his paper and looking out to his audience. He gave the entire classroom a smug gaze before turning to his beloved teacher. "And that's my report, Mrs. Thompson. I worked all night on it!"
The elementary school teacher blinked, her hands patiently folded across her desk as he gave the blond boy an leveled look. "…so allow me wrap up your report. The country you chose was Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan."
"A country that's relatively unheard of, and whose economy is mainly centered around frozen treats and ice cream."
"And to top it all off, it's Prime Minister is a llama?"
"It's been working on that spitting problem," Wally felt he needed to point out. "Oh! I also studied how marriage works in their country too!"
"Yes, I'm quite aware. You were rather detailed about the part where they throw a dead turkey stuffed with dandelions and salmon into the crowd," she slowly muttered. After taking a deep breath, her brows knitted together as she regarded the young boy. "Well, I hope you're satisfied with yourself, Wallabee."
Wally was a little uncomfortable with her tone of voice. "Um, should I be?"
"Yes, you should, because you get an A plus!" Mrs. Thompson beamed as she took the report from the shocked boy's hands. "Never have I seen a more accurate and detailed report of a foreign country. Your findings were both a hundred percent factual and respectful! I also like your choice in entries. My sister lives in Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan."
Wally was bouncing with excitement as his paper was handed back to him. He held it to his chest as he looked up to the teacher with the most puppy-dog face he could muster. "Thank you, Mrs. Thompson."
"Good work, Wally. Now head back to your seat," she shooed the boy off. She then went down her list as she called out the next student. "Tyler, it's your turn."
Wally walked back to his seat with his head held high. As soon as he made it back, he looked over to Abby, an ecstatic expression painted over his face as he all but shoved the paper into the girl's face. "Look at this, Numbuh 5! I got an A plus on my report!
Rachel turned her look away from the expanse of space of the bridge of the moonbase and Numbuh 35 came rushing up to her with a panicked aura all around him. "What's wrong, Numbuh 35?"
"I-I just got news from our cover operatives on Earth," Bartie shakingly reported, dread filling in his features as he talked. "They've just informed me t-that Numbuh 4 got an A plus on his report!"
A look of horror broke out of Rachel's face as she staggered back at the news. The blonde then turned, leaning against the railing for support. After a moment, she controlled her features, and looked out towards space with a resigned expression.
"I knew this day would come," she uttered gravely. Standing tall, she turned back to Bartie as her voice became steel. "Prepare the Moonbase defenses. That armada of Flying Mutant Space Pigs will be here any minute!"
"INTRUDER ALERT. INTRUDER ALERT."
"THEY'RE ALREADY HERE!"
"Zero help us all," Rachel growled as she tore off her sweater, revealing her armor underneath. "Kids Next Door…BATTLE STATIONS!"
"Good job, sport," Abby nodded, cradling her own spotless report on Italy. She suddenly smirked, thinking back on their wild mission. "Nice to know our near botching up of foreign relations and helping Mr. Boss almost take over an ancient ice cream trading empire is improving your weighted GPA."
"I know, right?" Wally chuckled to himself as he took his seat. "'Bout time some of these crazy risks started paying off!"
Abby began laughing as well, but for an entirely different region. "So, does that explain why you're still wearin' the dress?"
Wally blinked, looking down at his outfit. Somehow, the blond boy was back in Princess Yal'see's royal wedding attire. It had taken a few favors to get access to it, but apparently, the Princess had shipped the clothing personally once she heard Wally was the one who requested them. He snorted, stubbornly turning away from Abby's teasing gaze. "Mrs. Thompson said we'd get extra credit if we wore something that looked like clothing from the country we did our report on. I need all the extra points I can get."
"C'mon, buddy. You can come clean with us," Hoagie suddenly popped in, speaking up from his desk directly behind Abby. "You're still wearing it because you think it makes you look pretty."
"Handsome! For the last time, it's handsome!"
"No outbursts today, Wallabee," Mrs Thompson sternly snipped, causing the boy to flinch back. "I'd hate to have to deduct points after you did so well. Now, Hoagie, you're up. And I swear, if you've somehow managed to make your report about the Wright Brothers again, you will fail this project."
"What? Naaaah. Have a little faith, Mrs. T," Hoagie smoothly chuckled as he waved her off. He hopped down from his seat, and walked towards the front of the class. However, he took his sweet time getting there, for he was secretly sweating trying to think of ways to make his report sound like it wasn't about the Wright Brothers and their first flight again.
The moment Hoagie reached the front, and nervously began reading off his report, Nigel walked in through the door. The Brit was the same as always, but there was a certain slouch to his step only his team noticed. He paused, handing a note to Mrs. Thompson. She nodded, satisfied, and shooed him off to his seat.
Abby watched as their leader sat down in his seat. Once he was settled, she leaned on her elbows and began her line of questioning. "What's eatin' ya, Numbuh 1?"
"Yeah," Wally piped in, "ya look like Numbuh 363 took all the good mission assignments."
"He might as well have," Nigel mumbled, pulling out a KND sealed parchment piece of paper. Written in the fanciest crayon known to kid-kind. "I just got this from Numbuh 86. It's reassignment orders, signed off by Numbuh Infinity himself."
Abby took the paper, reading over it herself. Once she finished, she sneered. "Oh, just great. We're stuck with Tolietnator Recon duty for next two months."
"That lousy suit-wearing nerd," Wally growled, slamming his fist into his desk. "I oughta give him a piece of my mind."
"Please don't, he's letting us off easy," Nigel tried in an attempt to deter Wally from his current, extremely violent line of thought. He then began to detail of how much it could be worse for them. "Numbuh Infinity is normally a kajillion times more harsher with his 'reassignment' punishments. Be thankful he didn't give us specialized tortures, or a mission involving the beach." The boy shivered at the thought of that horrible place.
"Guess so," Abby grumbled. She still didn't like it, but she could see Nigel's point. Still, one interesting part of the assignment caught her attention. "What's this about a 'special forces operative'?"
"Someone hand picked by Infinity to work alongside us. I'm assuming he or she is there to make sure none of us try to go AWOL."
Wally fidgeted a bit. "I got a bad feeling about this."
"Relax, Numbuh 4. Now's not the time to panic," Nigel pacified. "We just survived an onslaught of political fueled madness. What could possibly be worse than that?"
Far off, in a secluded location only a select few knew about, Numbuh Infinity sat at a polished desk, multiple forms of sheets and paperwork before him. The child worked diligently as he slowly processed them all, calculating all the variables and consequences that came with signing each one.
With the last paper filed away, he turned his attention to five important documents he had left to the side. They were in numerical order from one to five, and each held equally important data for him to consider. His hand hovered over one, before moving to the next one. After a moment, Infinity frowned.
"Knock knock!" came the reply from his door. Infinity peered upward, seeing Numbuh 74.239 entering the room. In his hands were two blurpurple slushies. "I brought you a slushie from deck five. These things are amazing! You need to try one."
"I just got back from the freezing, icy, and slushy climate of Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan not even three days ago," Infinity slowly spoke, as if declaring the obvious. "Do you really think I want anything that would remind me of that trauma?"
"Sooo, is that a 'maybe'?"
"Ugh," he groaned, simply taking the refreshment from the boy. He had learned a long time ago that it was wise to just give in to Numbuh 74.239 when in references to such trivial matters. "Was there something you needed?"
"Just came up to–hey," the redhead paused, eyes widening as he noticed the five documents on the table. "Are those the–"
"Yes. They are."
"Wow. Shiny. They even have those plastic coats over them," 74.239 beamed, his fingers glossing over the documents' smooth surfaces. "Why can't I ever get these things? I bet if I covered all my paperwork with plastic, they'd finally get noticed at the front desk. Lousy Numbuh 9-2-5. Illegible writing. Bah! I don't have time to focus on making my handwriting neat, I have too much important science-ing to do!" He pulled his hands away before he irritated Infinity. It was an incredibly easy feat to accomplish. "So, which lucky one gets sent up for review?"
Infinity paused, closing his eyes in deep thought. Finally, he simply said, "All of them."
"What?" 74.239 seemed shocked. "I didn't even know we were allowed to...all of them?"
"All of them," Infinity stated with finality. He shuffled the five documents into one folder, sealed it, and placed it in the 'Out' tray. One little action that would make big waves. "Now, with that finally settled, what did you want?"
"Um," 74.239 took a moment to gather his thoughts. "Just wanted to let you know the agents checked in on that Ubekian official you said you wanted taken care of. That, and to say I have never felt more sorry for a skunk than I ever thought was humanly possible."
Infinity waved off his concerns. "Most of it was doctored footage. Wel'neda was not harmed in the making of that particular video."
"You sure it'll be enough to keep his mouth shut about being locked up in a trunk after his clothes got stolen?"
"Please, the only other operative who could do a better smear job than me is Numbuh 10, and she only fixates her true efforts on Numbuh 60."
"I see. Well, what about the moonbase being attacked by those space pigs?" Numbuh 74.239 said, bringing up the elephant in the room. "Should we be worried about that?"
"No," Infinity calmly answered. "Space pigs are surprisingly susceptible to chemicals found in common egg yolk, and I arranged for new experimental egg based 2x4 weaponry to be shipped to the Moonbase yesterday. I am confident Numbuh 362 will connect the dots and have the matter contained and covered-up before lunch-time."
"Geez, you don't have to be all 'oh look at me, I make things happen in the shadows! Oooooooooh!' about it, ya know," 74.239 whined.
"Are we finished?"
"Just one more thing. Sector V got their reassignment papers today, and I have to admit," he crossed his arm, shaking his head disapprovingly. "I'm kinda disappointed."
That took Infinity by surprised? "By what?"
"By you. Really? Toiletnator Recon duty? That's the best you can think of?"
Infinity's hand clasped themselves together as he thought over that particular piece of paperwork he signed off. Oh yes, he rather enjoyed that one. "I also arranged for a special forces operative to accompany them. That will quite the surprise."
"Why is that?"
"Because they'll be surprised to find out the special forces operative is actually just Numbuh 13."
Numbuh 74.239 did a double take. "Numbuh 13? With Sector V on Toiletnator duty? I revoke my last statement. I am impressed. Why, the only way I could speculate you could worsen that is by somehow having the Toiletnator know they were on the way or something."
Infinity lightly smiled. "I may have let a piece of information or two slip his way…"
"Okay, I'm officially scared now," the boy hesitantly chuckled. "I kind of figured you were the type who was above 'vengeance' and all that."
"It's not vengeance, it's simply me testing their ability to act under overwhelming pressure."
"Right," 74.239 coughed. Starting to feel a tiny bit creeped out by his associate's ruthless calculus in matters of precise payback, the scientist decided it was high time to make himself useful elsewhere. Like the cafeteria. Yes, the cafeteria was the perfect place to take his wild notions of science and space-time multi-verse bang theory know-how and put them to ultimately questionable use. "If you need me, I'll be doing stuff. Awesome stuff! The kind of stuff that gets me noticed in the scientific field."
Infinity said nothing as he watched the operative leave the room. Once he was alone, the diplomat grasped the slushie Numbuh 74.239 had left, and turned his seat to face the back wall. The boy reached under the arm of his chair, and procured a slim, sliver remote. After the push of the button, the wall he was facing split open, revealing a massive plasma screen. The feed began to clear, and the image of the Toiletnator's trailer park lair was visible.
The lavatory themed villain was putting his war paint on. His toilet-roll masked face was shadowed by eerie candle lights, and he sat in a still position, praying to some sort of large golden porcelain throne before him.
"Come for me, Sector V. My calling is the teacher, my body is the instrument, and you shall become the student. Come face me, and prepare to be forever…flushed."
Infinity slowly slurped at his slushie in anticipation. If there was one thing he truly, truly prided himself on, it was his unfounded skills as a manipulator. Nothing went on that he wasn't already aware of.
Nothing what so ever.
"Oh, just remembered something," Numbuh 74.239 piped as his head poked in the doorway, "there was another security leak today, and as a result, your mother's here. Funny how that happens, huh?"
"ACHK HACK!" Infinity coughed, spewing his slushie everywhere. He ignored he the drink dripped down his now ruined suit as he rushed out of his office to play damage control. "You idiot! You told me you fixed that!"