A Whole New World, Part Eleven: Backup

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(February 19th)

Nightshade slammed her fists against the steel door of her holding cell. “Are you listening, Ecchs?” She roared, delivering a series of kicks against the doorframe that served absolutely no purpose. “When I get out of here, I am going to find an Atlantean hat or something! I am going to kick your ass so hard you'll be tasting my shoe! I am going to…”

Halfway though slamming her shoulder against the door, it suddenly slid open, and Nightshade's yells cut off with an abrupt yelp as she charged full-tilt into air, tripping and crashing to the ground. Standing above her, Lucky Ladd took a cautious half-step backwards. “You're welcome.” He said with a wry smile.

“The hell are you doing inside?” Nightshade asked, levered herself to her feet. Then she frowned. “Hang on. You are Lucky, right?”

“No time, I'll explain on the way.” Lucky said, breaking into a job. Nightshade started to follow, cracking her knuckles ominously.

“Like hell there isn't!” She yelled.

“Security's back online in one minute.” Lucky pointed out. Nightshade stopped, staring at him for a moment, then grumbled and broke into a run, effortlessly catching up.

“Hazard, right?” She asked suspiciously.

“Yes.” Hazard nodded, prepared to duck for cover.

“Thought you were with Rex Mundi.”

“I'm an undercover SEA agent.” Hazard shrugged as Nightshade skidded to a halt again. After a moment, she started running.

“I'm not saying I believe you.” She said. “But you did break me out, so I'll wait before I pound you into the dirt. What the hell's going on?”

“Doctor Ecchs is Rex Mundi.”

Nightshade tripped over her own feet, sprawling to the ground in a cacophony of swearing. Hazard didn't slow down, and a few moments later she was back at his side. “Bullshit.” She said vehemently.

“He announced it to the whole world a few minutes ago.” Hazard replied.

“There is no goddamn way…” Nightshade started. Then she considered carefully. After a few moments, she reluctantly said, “Son of a bitch.”

“Yeah. I didn't know either until tonight.” Hazard nodded. “I thought Rex Mundi was Ada, to be honest.”

“I'd have believed that before Ecchs.” Nightshade agreed. “Alright, a lot of things make a hell of a lot of sense, suddenly. What's he doing, and why haven't you stopped him?”

“Don't know all the details. I don't think anyone does, except him, Ada, and Psiborg.” Lucky sighed. “It has something to do with charging our luck powers to an absurd degree, then draining them off. He's also trying to usurp the Alpha Team, at which point… something happens.” He shook his head. “As for your second question…” He hesitated, glancing upwards, and shifted course. “This way.” Nightshade followed, and a moment later the corridor behind them exploded with a cascade of brilliant light and sound. “Defense systems are online. As I was saying, I warned the SEA. They should have been here two minutes ago.” Hazard looked grim. “They're not. So I'm going with Plan B.”

“We're going to stop Ecchs? You and me?” Nightshade snorted. “Are you paying attention? You don't have your shiny new robot suit…”

“Couldn't risk it, he's got to have it wired.” Hazard pointed out.

“Which means,” Nightshade continued ruthlessly, “We last until exactly half a second after Psiborg shows up.”

“It's not just the two of us. The others are upstairs.” Hazard stopped at the elevators, pulled a small device out of his pocket, and slapped it against the call button. There was a beep, and the doors slid open. “Inside.”

“I am going to regret this.” Nightshade shook her head, stepping inside. The elevator began to move upwards. “What others?”

“When I realized what was happening, I…” Hazard broke off. “Oh, no.”

“What?” Nightshade followed his gaze. The elevator had a small monitor on one corner, which usually broadcast news headlines and ads. Now, it was showing the scene outside, where Timebender was crouching over Mayfly's body. Nightshade sucked her breath in. “No way.” She said quietly.

Hazard shook his head slowly. “I thought… we need to hurry.”

“Right.” Nightshade said, eyes still glued to the screen. “How do we stop him?”

Hazard turned his head. “Stop him? Stop him from what?”

“From taking over the world.” Nightshade said.

Hazard blinked at her a moment, then looked back to the screen. “We don't. We can't. All we're going to do is get the other Champions to safety.”

Nightshade considered that for a moment. “Lovely.” She said sarcastically.

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