The Perfect Plan, Part 10: Hangover

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(November 9th)

“The Mayor called.” Nadia said, as she looked around the remains of the park. Behind her, Jhim finished parking his car and stepped out, talking in a low voice to one of the dozens of firefighters onsite. “He wants to know how long until the Ninjahedge Maze is back up and running.”

“I will call him myself.” Ash promised her. The tree was sitting on the curb across the street from the blaze, hunched up as he watched the conflagration. “It may be some time. I have lost all of the previously programmed drones, and I must find access to trees that are acceptable for deforestation.”

“Speaking of…” Nadia looked over to Jhim with a smile. “Malefico hasn’t caught fire, and the police haven’t been called.”

“I know, I know.” Jhim sighed, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a bill, which he handed to her. “It looks like you won the bet after all.”

“I’m sorry.” Amber said softly. She was sitting next to Ash, watching the park burn. “This is all my fault.”

“No, technically it’s all the Witch Doctor’s fault.” Ada Byron sat down next to her. The doctor’s dress was covered with soot, torn in several places where brambles or metal claws had cut at her, and she was showing signs of a large bruise forming on her forehead, but she had a cheerful grin on her face. “Unless you put him up to that, which I expect you did not.”

“No.” Amber admitted. She looked over. “But I did let Nightshade order the robots. And we gave your guests the weapons.”

“Still, the electrical weapons only started 7% of the fires.” Ash pointed out. “And ensuring that the robots had not been tampered with was your sister’s job. I would say that your responsibility for this is limited.” He looked over at the blaze, and added, “Besides, I lost very little. It is unfortunate to have to recreate the drones, but they are inherently disposable. It is the nature of zombie robots, especially ninja ones. I lose several every time we clash with Malefico.”

“Thanks for the support, Ash.” Amber leaned against the tree, who lowered a branch to rest on her shoulder. She looked over to Ada. “But we ruined your party.”

“I hope you’re joking.” Sylvia Ecchs appeared, cigarette in her mouth. “Have you met Jasmine Lovelace? Wonderful lady. You should see the things she can do with a contagious self-replicating power loop.”

Jasmine, the woman in question, waved the severed head of a robot in the group’s general direction. “Really, it was nothing. Compared to those plasma chargers you devised – I never would have thought it could be done with our equipment.”

“Oh, I have some experience working on a budget. My father was a strong believer in self-sufficiency.” Sylvia turned back to the group on the curb. “They’ve checked over Spencer’s sidekick, and they’d like to reassure you that her concussion is quite mild – they’re sending her home to sleep it off. I did a quick check of the guests for you, Ada, and everyone will be quite healed enough to attend the wedding.”

“Sylvia and I are just going to see if we can’t backtrack this little fellow.” Jasmine cut in. “After all, it was so… thoughtful… of Mr. Wydemere to provide the entertainment, that we thought we should absolutely return the favor.”

“Alright. Don’t blow anything else up tonight.” Ada stood, kissing her cousin, then allowed Sylvia to give her a light hug. “I hope you enjoyed the party.”

“My dear, it was the delight of the evening. Shame about not reaching the drunken stage, but if you want to stop by our hotel later, we’ll put aside enough champagne to put you into a coma.” Sylvia replied. “Once the police get your statement, of course. Tell the others, would you?”

“Of course.” As the two headed off, Ada turned to Amber. “You see, Ms Smith? It was a wonderful evening.”

“But… the robots tried to kill you.”

“We’re supervillains, dear, we’re used to that. Oh, I should say goodnight to Clarice before the ambulance leaves.” With a cheerful wave, Ada jogged off towards the paramedics. Amber watched her go in confusion.

“I will never understand villains.” She said.

“Luckily, we don’t have to.” Nadia answered. A moment later, she looked over as a limousine pulled up. The door flew open, and Dr Ecchs all but leapt out of it, his hair in disarray.

“Where’s Ada? Is she still fighting?” He asked worriedly

“Over there. She’s fine.” Nadia smiled.

“Good. Good.” Ecchs nodded vaguely to the space just left of Nadia. “Going to go look in on her. Just to check. Nothing to worry about. I’m fine, we’re fine. Everything’s good.”

Lucky stepped out of the limo behind him. Wordlessly, he sat down next to the others, as Ecchs took off towards Ada at a dead run. Nadia and Jhim looked at each other over his head, as Amber frowned. “Lucky? Is everything alright?”

“We dug too deep.” Lucky answered, his eyes unfocused. “The colors… so horrible, but beautiful all at once. How could we leave? How could we stay?”

“Uh…” Amber replied. “Should we be going back to Malefico now?”

“No!” Lucky said quickly, the threat bringing back some semblance of order to his thoughts. “We should not ever go back into to that lab.” He looked at the others. “Ever.”

Wordlessly, Nadia took the money in her hand, added a second bill from her wallet, and returned it to Jhim, who tried not to smirk.

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