A/N: I LIVE! :D Sorry this chapter took so long to post, I've been pretty busy with college and all. In fact, midterms are next week! OK, story time...
Two metal beasts emerged from the cover of darkness. They are known by the public, but rarely seen, if at all. Only the enemies of the United States or their own military see them with any regularity. 8-wheeled armored fighting vehicles wearing military colors are pretty uncommon. One looks decidedly more deadly than its brother, but the smaller brother is much more well-known, and feared. The main strength of these monsters is not to fight other vehicles, though. It is their ability to deliver troops almost anywhere, including your front door. The few who saw these vehicles on the dark streets of California turned away and pretended they didn't exist, but within moments, the Gru household would learn the true power of the M1126 Infantry Carrier Vehicle and M1128 Mobile Gun System.
Back at the manor, Gru was flooded with worry and seething in rage, but was at last sensing victory.
The instant the lights had gone out, Gru was awake in bed, and ready to spring to his feet. His instinct screamed danger, but he held it in check. More than likely some troublesome minion had been playing with one of Dr. Nefario's weapons and blown a fuse. He wanted to check on the girls, but things had been a little testy today, and he didn't want to wake them. He had been arguing with Margo about their need to go to school, Edith supporting his anti-school position, and Agnes wasn't paying attention. She didn't quite know what school was, and trusted Daddy to make the right choice for her. As the argument grew longer and more heated, Gru had started to lose his patience. He loved his girls more than anything in the world, but they could really give him a migraine when they wanted to! However, the more he listened to them, the more Margo's argument outplayed his own.
Maybe they would become super-villains like him, maybe not, but in any case, they needed a basic education. The villainy part Gru could teach himself, but there are many more things he can't teach and they need, like social skills. Gru never had many friends, or seen the need for them, but didn't want to deprive his kittens of that experience. However, frustrated with the argument, Gru lost his temper and sent them both to bed. Both had protested hard, bugging him to figure out which side he was on, however Gru was done. Margo and Edith would go to their rooms for the rest of the night, Agnes could stay until bedtime. He got the distinct feeling both were mad at him, but he was too tired to do anything about it right then.
When bedtime had finally come, the pounding in his head got heavier. Jerry had thought Agnes should try out coffee because it tastes so good. The little 5-year old had downed a full cup right in front of him. Though there didn't appear to be any serious damage done by the drink, Agnes wasn't going to sleep anytime soon. After assigning Jerry bathroom duty for the rest of the week, he decided to let Agnes go "play" with Nefario. The old man was always up all night, which made him the perfect babysitter for his youngest. Well, once Gru had made dead certain he wasn't going to experiment on her at least.
Margo and Edith were a great deal less than pleased when they learned their baby sister got to stay up all night in the lab while they had to go to bed early, but Gru already had a headache and he didn't need to aggravate it. He gruffly ordered them to sleep, threatening dire consequences for the slightest delay. Neither girl looked at him when they finally crawled into bed, facing directly away from him and each other. It was clear no bedtime story was wanted and that they wouldn't even want their goodnight kisses. So he left with a simple "Goodnight gurls, I love you" He felt horrible that that was all he gave them and decided to make it up to them in the morning. Then, exhausted, Gru went to his bedroom and passed out in his clothes on his bed. After the initial surprise of the blackout, he lay back down but kept an eye open, watching for the slightest thing to go wrong. Then the break-in alarm sounded.
The strike of a rattlesnake moved nowhere near as fast as Gru when that alarm sounded. In the past, stealth would've been his tactic, but not now. Not with three little helpless kittens under his care. Gru does have defenses for them, mainly a force of his elite fighting breed minions, but also he had slipped a proto-type shocker pistol under Edith's bed. Margo was absolutely against the idea of arming them, claiming it was corrupting, dangerous, and just plain unnecessary. His reasoning was that he wasn't all-powerful, and needed a way to be certain they would be okay if anything happened. It had fallen on deaf ears. Margo had just told him that "If you really wanted us to be safe, you'd quit villainy." The implication that he didn't really care that much hit hard and Gru's only response, that he could say to her at least, was that villainy was all that kept them fed and sheltered. Alone, he could also add that he loved villainy. Now it was abundantly clear to him. Did he love villainy more than he loved his daughters? Edith had almost died in the iron maiden on their very first day here. Now they could all be taken away, maybe for good.
As soon as Gru had his freeze ray out, gunfire erupted from downstairs. His blood froze for a split-second; whoever had broken in intended to kill! Realizing the lab could be a possible target, Gru turned on his communication screen to warn Nefario and remind him to get Agnes into a safe room. He would berate himself for this delay for months. Drawing his lethal fireball pistol, Gru sprinted for the girls' bedroom. Then a pistol round erupted from the stairwell. It was like someone injected a quart of pure adrenaline into Gru's body. When he reached the bedroom door an eternity later (about 2 seconds), he found two of his best minions falling off the wall and Kevin, poor Kevin, screaming, a knife embedded deep in his eye. There was also a darkly dressed man sprinting down the hall, towards the main staircase. Not bothering to let the gun reach full power, Gru fired, barely missing the intruder's right boot and burning a big hole in the wall. As soon as he rounded the corner, he saw the two dark figures dive behind the statues, which were unfortunately fire resistant. Gru spoke, his voice filled with hatred of the darkest kind. "I know you're there. Surrender now, and I may let you live." His heart stopped when he heard a little voice cry,
"Daddy! Daddy they got me!" Edith. That voice belonged to his daughter.
"Edith? Edith, I'm coming!" Gru called, hoping to give her hope. Then he addressed the kidnappers. Gru's voice, when he spoke next, was a deep growl seething with controlled rage. "Return my daughter to me this instant. If she is not safely at my side in 3 seconds, you will know pain worse than your darkest nightmare, and it will be a nightmare from which you will never wake." There was no way those kidnappers were escaping scot-free. Once he caught them, they would die, but not quickly. Breaking every available limb would simply be his consolation until he got them into the torture chamber, the sound-proofed room he kept hidden from the girls. Then the real pain would begin. It had been too long since Gru broken a man, but he would remember, remember fast. It's not something that is easily forgotten, like the riding a bike or firing a cannon. Part of Gru felt reassured when Edith appeared from behind the armor, still fighting like it was bath time. But, right as he yelled "Let her go!" the hallway was engulfed in smoke.
Gru charged his pistol, but dared not fire. It would be far too easy to kill his middle kitten. Gru hid behind the armor himself, when the pistol sounded again. He was no coward, but getting shot wouldn't help save Edith, quite the opposite in fact. Once the shots paused, perhaps to reload, Gru charged forward, regretting not having the freeze ray out. He could always un-freeze his child. As he cleared the smoke screen, he caught a glimpse of the kidnappers. They were holding hands and flying out the window! Edith could be seen under the arm of the one on the right. Convinced his daughter was about to die, Gru fired a full charge from his fireball pistol, wanting to at least ensure her captors didn't survive their deadly gambit. Thankfully, it just ignited the remains of the window, fusing it into a molten slab. Gru wanted desperately to jump after them, but he knew exactly how hot the glass was. One touch could cause third degree burns. Gru was ready to destroy his entire house in a wave of frustration and sorrow, but then he realized something; He had never seen Margo during the entire chase. Maybe she was still in her room, still safely within his grasp.
Terrified of what he would find, Gru ran back to the girls' room. He knew Agnes was safely downstairs, and Edith was... Gru shied away from the thought. But he didn't know what they had done with Margo. Maybe they had already slit her throat when they caught Edith. Maybe they gave her a grenade with the pin pulled. Maybe they put her under with some kind of poisonous gas. Maybe... Maybe... Gru kicked the door open so hard it literally got stuck in the wall. When he burst into the room, he almost panicked: it was empty. But A last shred of rationality reminded him that Margo knew better than to stay in the open and, fingers trembling, he opened the toy chest, the only place a girl her size could hide. A sudden scream made him drop the door, but he had it back open in a heartbeatand gathered the contents in his arms, tears of relief running down his face. The little green t-shirted bundle fought for a moment then, realizing who it was, collapsed into his arms, sobbing as well.
They stayed there for what felt like a very long time, father holding daughter, crying in both despair and relief. Finally, Gru set Margo down and ran downstairs, holding her hand the entire time. Margo didn't ask where Edith was, she didn't need to. She did know, deep in her heart, that Edith was not dead. Ever since they made the sister's pact, sealed by the exchange of blood, she could sense certain things about her siblings. Margo didn't understand it, and doubted anyone did. All that mattered to her is that it happens.
Gru got Margo to the living room, already starting the process of activating the lift. He hugged her again, then looked directly in her eyes, and told her "Go down to the lab and find Dr. Nefario. Tell him that the attackers are leaving and to pursue by air. He will then put you in a steel safe room. Agnes will be there. I'll come back for you two once it's over. I'm going to get your sister back."
"But, Mr. Gru..." Margo trailed off, unable to complete her thought.
"I will be back, I promise, I just have to go save Edith. Protect Agnes for me." Gru added that last part, guessing that she was scared he would never return. Margo nodded, tears rolling down her face, and hugged her adoptive father one more time. Not bothering to set her down on the floor, Gru set his eldest kitten right into the waiting elevator. He gave her one more reassuring smile as the glass sealed between them and the arms took her away to the shaft. Margo never took her eyes off her father as the pod began its descent, even as he turned away and sprinted to the front door which then exploded, blanketing the area with wooden shrapnel. Margo flinched back as the chips slammed into the glass case, then pounded on it with all her might, screaming for Gru as she descended into the darkness of the lab below.
Gru picked himself up fast, assisted by a fresh squad of minions popping up from the hidden transport tube peppered throughout the manor. He'd been through worse, and he wasn't about to let several thousand small cuts stop him from getting his daughter back. He saw two kidnappers retreating across the short front yard, firing what looked like American M16s. Gru was about to kill them, but then he saw two more kidnappers. They had Edith and were standing at the curb. An easy shot, but why were they just standing there? One of the minions, maybe Billy, had thought to bring the emergency freeze ray from the lab. Gru gratefully accepted his favorite weapon, and then pointed it at the kidnappers, intent on freezing the whole lot. Right as the pistol reached full power, he heard a growing rumble. One he recognized from a side trip to the Middle East to steal a jeweled crown. That was the engine sound of a Stryker. Gru knew they were 8-wheeled armored vehicles and were usually equipped with a .50 Inch Remote Controlled Machine Gun. More importantly, they were capable of transporting up to 9 soldiers within. The kidnappers were going to escape! Right as Gru lined up his shot, the front yard seemed to start exploding. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! One blast after another other, his lawn was disintegrating in a maelstrom of blinding dirt and deadly shrapnel. He and the minions had no choice but to retreat into the house. Gru feared they would target the house itself, but it ended as abruptly as it had begun and was replaced by a high-pitched roar. The Stryker was away! Gru wasn't done yet though, he still had a few tricks up his sleeve.
Sprinting to the garage, he activated his personal tank, aptly named the GruMobile. People always wondered why Gru used such a big, heavy vehicle for everyday use, this is why: so that he will be ready to fight at any time. Pulling out of the garage (the door had been blown to pieces), Gru locked onto the rogue Striker with his targeting computer. Like the Hoverjet, the Grumobile was equipped with rockets, but these were more powerful; capable of capable of punching through tank armor. The fleeing Striker fired at his tank with its automatic grenade launcher, a feature he had forgotten they could attach, but it was no use. The GruMobile isn't called a tank for no reason; it takes a lot of explosive power to penetrate the hull. Right as Gru got a lock on the engine of the Striker, laughing evilly, an ear-shattering boom rocked the night and his vehicle screeched like a wounded animal. Looking back in alarm, Gru saw a gaping hole in the left side of his tank. Shocked, he looked up just in time to catch a glimpse of the Mobile Gun System before it fired again, ripping the GruMobile's engine apart. Howling in rage and despair, the villain could only watch as the tank's destroyer rolled past, nodding its turret in some kind of salute. Someone inside threw a small piece of paper onto the road, landing in front of the still-functioning headlights. It had the symbol of the Bank of Evil on it. Gru was about to lose it completely, when he heard massive doors opening. Holding onto this last, desperate hope, he watched Nefario bring the HoverJet out of the hanger, and pursue the Strikers into the black night.
Nefario teased the HoverJet, his own design of course, out of the hanger doors. It really surprised him how fiercely he wanted to get Edith back; back when the girls first arrived she had kicked him in the shin. When Gru had first brought them home, Nefario had taken no notice of them, other than ensuring they didn't break anything. He saw them merely as a trio of overly rambunctious minions that did not work. They were a distraction at best. Really, if they hadn't captured so much of Gru's attention, nothing would have happened between Nefario and the girls. However, as the date of the moon heist drew close, Nefario found Gru less and less interested in ensuring that the rocket was operating smoothly, and more and more interested in the girls. This behavior had angered Nefario more than he had ever felt in decades, even more so since his last solo heist had failed and he had spent several years in prison. After he finally escaped, no easy task given his age at the time, he found Gru, one of his apprentices from the early days. The two men decided to form a partnership. Gru had many spoils from his various successful crimes, and was more than willing to fund the old man's powerful intellect. Now, the girls Gru had adopted seemed to be tearing that indestructible bond apart. Ever more so, Gru was losing his drive for villainy. Nefario remembered what happened to their old friend Megamind, locked up as some kind of protector, bound by laws that meant nothing to villains. He had sworn to protect Gru from such a fate. Now these girls were threating both Gru and himself. Nefario did his best to restrain himself though. He did not want to hurt his friend, or cloud his mind right before a mission, but two nights before the heist, a flashpoint hit.
Despite Gru's lack of focus or effort, the rocket had been completed, with all systems checking out. As soon as the Doctor came to report the good news, what he feared had come true. Gru no longer wanted the moon. He was willing to put a silly dance recital ahead of his own dream! As Nefario gave Gru a pep talk, he let some of his anger show and warned Gru that he needed to do something about the girls, or Nefario would. Seemingly humbled at last, Gru walked off, muttering that he understood. The Doctor wasn't sure if he did or not, but felt his message had come across. He let his tone of voice remind Gru of his intent though. Nefario only used a deep voice when he intended to hurt someone, and he was not above "getting rid of" three innocent young girls. He would hate doing it to someone so young, but he would do it. It would be Gru's own fault for not picking up on the obvious threat.
When Nefario had returned from the lab that morning, he fully expected to see Gru focused on the moon again. The man had been dreaming of catching it since he was a boy, and never ignored one of the mad doctor's warnings. If nothing else, Nefario had known the girls would be fine two days basically on their own. Perhaps Gru had sent them to Marlena, his mother. Even If Gru had decided to bring the girls back after the heist, Nefario wouldn't have stopped him. The spoils of such a heist were guaranteed to last years. He could've train the girls to be true villains during that time, or something. But then, it was crunch time. Confident things were back to normal; Nefario had gone straight to the kitchen for a light snack, expecting to see Gru prepared for the day's work. What he saw there made his very blood boil. Gru was putting on some kind of show for the girls again! He did not have his overcoat on, had no moon plans anywhere in sight, he was even laughing! On the day before a heist! His vision running red, Nefario had started back to the lab. His mind was racing over the best way to eliminate the girls. The old man preferred not to kill anyone, when possible, as it substantially increases your bounty for little gain. But the old man's gloves have blood on them. Right as his hand was resting on the elevator call button, the doctor stopped. There was no way to "eliminate" the girls without Gru knowing it was him, and possibly seeking retribution. However, there was a way to get them out of their lives, and it was even legal! All emotion gone from his heart, Nefario had phoned Miss Hattie's Home for Girls.
Ms. Hattie seemed very surprised a member of the Gru household was calling about the girls. He got the sense that if girls are adopted from that place; they do whatever it takes to avoid going back. The implication gave the normally conscienceless man a flutter in his stomach, these were innocent young girls he was dealing with, and maybe he was sending them back into a hellhole for just being girls. Then he hardened. The next few years of experimentation funds depended on this heist, Nefario wasn't about to stop now. Gru had had his chance to move the girls and ignored it. Nefario informed Ms. Hattie that Mr. Gru had attempted to discipline the girls on multiple occasions (Gru never could get them to behave) and it never worked. Nefario told Ms. Hattie that Gru could not handle the stress, and he had talked the man into sending them back. Ms. Hattie stated she was very surprised the girls had discipline problems, and not to worry, she would ensure they were properly punished. It was a strange choice of words; something told him that there was a good chance of abuse going on in the orphanage. He doubted such an airhead like Ms. Hattie knew any decent techniques, but these were young girls she was dealing with. They don't need too much stress to cause serious mental damage.
What remained of the old villain's conscious had attacked him as hard as it could, and he added that Mr. Gru was very busy at the time, and that if the girls were disciplined properly, there was a good chance Mr. Gru would re-adopt the girls. Nefario knew that if Ms. Hattie really was an evil dictator (not always a bad thing in his mind), that the girls were sure to be abused all the worse for that last comment. It had left the door open for their return though, and the doctor had forced his heart back down. Ms. Hattie agreed that she would "fix" those girls, and if Mr. Gru decided he wanted them back, it would cost him a little something on the side. Nefario agreed, told her to come at noon, and ended the call. Then went straight to the lab to get his mind off what he had done.
When noon finally came, Nefario was reminded exactly why he had called Ms. Hattie. Gru was having a tea party with the girls. His evil side breathed a side of relief at the doorbell, but he had to keep deleting thoughts about Ms. Hattie. It was the only way to keep his focus. Gosh, the girls are even distracting me now. No wonder Gru is so bad. Nefario thought. When Gru opened the door, his surprise was clear, as was his indecision. When Gru looked back, presumably to look at his adopted daughters, he instead saw Nefario, glaring at him from behind his goggles. The indecision finally seemed to evaporate from Gru, but instead of a hardened shell of determination forming over his friend, something akin to a deep sadness took its place. Nefario didn't see what happened when he went inside to inform the girls of what was happening, but he returned with the three sister's things, the youngest one clinging to his leg. Nefario never cried, but even he felt some regret as the children were piled into the car, defeated sorrow on each of their faces. Still, he looked on the bright side of things, and brought Gru back into the house, ready to finish the heist, once and for all. That night, nightmares of three tiny girls screaming under a wooden ruler wracked his darkened soul.
An incessant beeping woke Nefario from his pondering; the Stryker and Tank Destroyer were leaving scanner range! Literally growling threats under his breath, he hit the throttle, and the HoverJet screamed into pursuit.
Lining up his target based purely on the infrared scanners, Nefario locked onto the trailing vehicle. Frantic, near hysteric transmissions from Gru told him that Tank Destroyer had disabled the GruMobile, and that the Stryker was carrying Edith and at least 4 kidnappers. Gru was also making sure Nefario remembered not to hurt Edith when he stopped the Stryker, but it was unnecessary. The doctor had no intention of letting his favorite weapons tester get hurt. First he would destroy the Tank Killer with missiles and torpedoes, and then Nefario planned to turn on his spotlights and perform gun runs on the Stryker. With careful shots he could kill the driver, seize the engine, or pop all the tires, though multiple runs would be necessary for the last option. Whatever happened, that Stryker would be stopped. Nefario then planned to hold them at (massive) gunpoint until Gru and the minions arrived. Everything was worked out. Nothing could go wrong. Except that as soon as Nefario fired the first torpedo, the targeted Tank Killer disappeared in a cloud of white smoke. Nefario did not understand at all, normal smoke could not fool an infrared scanner. Only military grade Infrared Countermeasure smoke, enhanced with metal filaments, could do that. Right as the truth dawned on Nefario, a warning tone began blaring.
Immediately pulling out of his low-speed attack pattern, Nefario activated the Electronic Countermeasures in the nose of the HoverJet. While Gru's Jet was not designed specifically for dog fighting, it was fully capable of going toe to toe with a modern F/A-18 Hornet. As Nefario glanced at the radar screen, he was surprised to see no enemy aircraft. Perhaps it was a land-based Stinger missile that had targeted the Hoverjet. Gru had the latest in radar technology, very few planes could avoid showing up on the screen, even if they flew only several feet off the deck. Just as Nefario activated Hover mode and his ground radar, an invisible stream of deafening bullets sliced through the engine and ripped into his right wing. The engine caught fire immediately, and Nefario knew he had seconds before it exploded, which could shred his rear fuselage and doom any chances of landing safely.
Thinking quickly, he cut the fuel lines, buying him a little more time, and wrenched his wounded plane towards Ms. Abernathy's back yard. Even with his damaged hearing, Nefario could hear the screeching of metal in the right wing, that thing wasn't far from giving out altogether. One false move could kill him. But as the final approach was made, things were looking up. Then the engine exploded, the right wing was torn off, and the HoverJet smashed into the ground like a burning meteor. The nearby hovering F-35B Lighting surveyed the wreckage, determined there would be no survivors, and flew off to base, mission accomplished. The daughter had been captured, the plan would now commence. The pilot couldn't help an evil chuckle as his plane disappeared into the night.
Far below, in a burning pile of twisted metal, something moved. It could be nothing, but then again, it could be something...
A/N: Report. Chapter 3 has been sent to NightOwl360, it should be back to me soon. I'm still working on the Chapter 4 Alpha, need to re-watch the movie and regain my "spark". Reviews help that spark out a lot. :) Food for thought. Be back soon guys!