Chapter 3 – The Color of Chaos
"Tag, you're it!" The boy laughed and darted in the opposite direction of his cousin, teasing her with impolite jesters. He held a fat, tightly wrapped package in is hands.
She held back a smile, giving chase. Her long, red hair flowed behind her. "Ben, get back here! Give me that!"
He looked back at her, sticking out his tongue. Moving the box under his arm, he moved his hand to a thick watch resting on his right wrist. "There's no way you can catch me as Spidermonkey! Better give up now Gwen!" His cousin stopped in her tracks, crossing her arms sternly.
"Hey, no fair! You're cheating! We aren't supposed to use our powers in today's training! I'm telling grandpa!"
"Snitch! Have a little fun, cuz!"
"Yo! What are you two doing?" Both looked up to see a tall, muscular teen frowning down upon them. He had dark, ragged hair and eyes that burned like coals.
"Uh-oh, the party pooper's here." Ben sat down, knowing his fun was over.
Gwen glared at him. "Ben, that 'party-pooper' is my boyfriend, need I remind you?"
Opening his mouth, Ben pointed to his throat and gagged. "Please, don't remind me."
"Ben! Where are you?" Their grandpa Max came running out of the RV, looking a bit worried. A phone was in his hands.
The three kids gathered around the elder man. "You're phone was ringing Ben, so I answered it. It's the Kids Next Door."
Gwen and Kevin stared at Ben intently.
"Hey, don't look at me, I don't know!" He took the phone and held it too his ear. "Hello?"
"Is this Benjamin Tennyson?"
"Listen, we've got a major problem."
Ben sighed, causing Gwen to gasp in anxiety. "Alright, I'm listening."
Only one of the boys had noticed something strange about the weather conditions. Eddy, like always, was up to another one of his schemes, even though they never ended up turning out right. Double D had hardly paid any attention to what his friend was going on about this time. Something to do with fish.....
Instead, Double D was staring at the sky with a puzzled expression. He had never seen it this particular shade before, and there was no scientific explanation he could think of. It was beginning to worry him.
"Hey, Sockhead!" Eddy tossed a large chunk of plywood onto the ground and made his way casually towards the taciturn Edd. "Will you get to work on this thing already? What's up with you? You seem really distracted today."
"Hmmm?" Double D glanced at Eddy, then back to the sky. "Oh. It's just…the condition of the atmosphere this afternoon is quite concerning. Haven't you noticed? It's highly unnatural."
Eddy rolled his eyes, running his hand loosely through the patch of dark hair on his head and wrapping and arm tightly around Double D's neck. "How about you stop 'dorking out' and come help Ed with my giant fish tank so we can rack up some green before nightfall? This plan is flawless, trust me. We'll raise enough money to buy jawbreakers for months!"
"And in all the colors we want!" big Ed added, laughing slightly as he smashed a hammer against the plywood, attempting to nail it too another.
"Um, sure, in a minute. I'm just going to call a friend to make sure everything's fine. You can never be too cautious about the weather, you know."
"That orange haired weirdo?"
Double D frowned at Eddy. "He's a boy genius."
At this time, Double D's cellphone began to ring, and he fumbled to pull it out of his pocket. Eddy snorted. "Nerds..." He left his friend, giving Double D some privacy, and plopped himself down on a big red chair he had forced Ed to carry to the Cul-de-sac turn circle for him.
"He-hello?" Double D spoke quietly into the phone, tapping his fingers on his leg.
"Eddward, this is the Kids Next Door."
He felt his heart skip a beat. Looking behind him with his cellphone pressed to his chest, Double D decided it best to carry on this conversation completely alone. "Excuse me for a moment, gentlemen", he said politely, walking behind on of the houses. He sunk to his knees and, with his voice still lowered, pressed the phone back to his lips.
"What can I help you with?"
"Please standby, our leader will be with you shortly."
Double D's head was racing. He didn't know why the KND were contacting him, but he knew it would only be for an emergency situation.
"Ma'am, I've got Numbuh 5 on the line!" An operative handed his headset to Numbuh 86.
"Numbuh 5, this is Numbuh 86."
"Roger that, Fanny. Abigail here."
"Listen, and listen closely. I don't know if you have seen the sky recently, but we have a serious problem on our hands."
"What would that be? None of my team has left the tree house today, we're off duty. I am not aware of the outdoor conditions."
"I'm sorry to say this, but we are sending out a Code 384QZ."
"What? Are you serious? The KND has never dealt with that code before! In fact, we've never had to deal with anything involving the codes of planets outside our own galaxy!"
"I know, but Abby, this looks really bad."
"How bad are we talk'n here Fanny?"
"Well, let's just say the invading planet seems to, well..."
"Come on, tell me!"
"It appears to have absorbed many other planets. It's....dissolving them. I can't be sure of anything, but I think it needs to devour planets to survive. And maybe, it's eaten all the ones in its own galaxy, so it left and unfortunately found us."
"Please tell me you're kidding! How is that even possible?"
"Ma'am!" Another operative called out, waving his hand. "I have Eddward from Peach Creek on the line."
Numbuh 86 glanced towards him, her upper lip twitching. "Look, I'm not truly sure what's going on, but from what I know of common sense, whatever is visiting us is not our friends."
"I understand. Numbuh 5 will get her sector prepared."
"Good. I want you on standby for attack. We have lost contact with Moon Base, but I have my sector working on getting a hold of them."
"Alright. Be safe, Fanny. Numbuh 5 out."
"Ma'am!" The operative called again, waving the headset.
Numbuh 86 jogged over, snatching it up quickly and adjusting it to fit properly. "Hello? Eddward?"
"Yes? Who is this?"
"I am Numbuh 86, Commanding Leader of the Kids Next Door sectors stationed on Earth. A KND SCAMPER will arrive within the next 8 minutes to pick you up. You need to do everything they ask, the situation is urgent."
"Wait, what? Why am I being taken? Is there something wrong?"
"I'm sorry but there is no time for discussion this moment. You're not in trouble or anything, but we need to bring you to headquarters for questioning. I'm hoping you can tell us about something that happened several years ago."
"I'm sorry, but I think you have the wrong person. I'm just a normal kid, I don't know anything!"
"Believe me; you have all the information we need."
"Numbuh 86, ma'am!" A girl cried, her voice trembling in terror. Fanny turned her attention to Numbuh 287. Her whole face was covered in an expression of fear. "The sky! It's...it's....falling!"
"What?" The red headed commander fixed her eyes on the sky outside the large window. Her body froze and mouth dropped. From the cloud cover above, what seemed to be hundreds of clunky, round pods were rocketing towards the Earth.
"Hello? Numbuh 86, miss? Are you still there?"
Double D's trembling voice drug Numbuh 86 back to reality. Raising her voice, she almost screamed into the headset, "get someplace safe NOW! The SCAMPER will be there as soon as possible, but you need to find shelter immediately! I'm sorry, but I have to go!" Fanny pulled the headset off and tossed it to the side, dragging a straggling operative to his feet.
"All of you, get to the safe room, quickly! Those things out there are going to come crashing through this roof at any minute!" Everyone scrambled to the hall, trying their best to stay as calm and collective as possible, but the situation had them all scared for their lives. Numbuh 86 was also nervous and confused, but she knew she was the leader, and she had to stay that way till the very end. Everyone else was counting on her. She scanned the communications room, making sure no one else was left.
That's when the first pod came crashing through the window. Glass shattered everywhere and papers were sent flying from the sudden force of the wind. Fanny turned her face from the shards, but a few still embedded themselves in her skin. She grimaced as the pain shot through her body. "Ughh!"
Another pod came down straight through the roof and crashed into the middle row of operative desks. The computers were completely crushed, and the green, cocoon-like object embedded itself halfway through the wooden floor. The base was being destroyed right before Numbuh 86's very eyes. Squeezing her damaged arm tightly, Fanny limped out of the room and down the hall, trying to reach the safe room where the others were. A pod crashed down right behind her, snapping the floorboard in half and shoving Numbuh 86 violently into the wall, face first. Blood burst from her nose and she cursed loudly, knowing it was broken.
"Ma'am!" The younger girl, Numbuh 287, ran to her commander's side, helping her to her feet. Fanny grasped her shoulder tightly, balancing herself. "Oh my God, are you ok?"
"No time, let's get out of here!" Together, they moved as fast as they could down the stairs. All around them the pods fell like rain, destroying whatever they touched. By now, the base's alarm had been set off, shutting all of the normal lights off and switching to the emergency ones. A siren echoed loudly throughout the whole sector, and dark red lights flashed every couple of seconds, making it very hard for the two girls to navigate the mangled halls. Finally, after only about a minute (though it seemed much longer than that), Numbuh 287 had successfully lead her Commanding Leader to the safe room with the others.
It was highly crowded, and practically stunk with fear. The sirens were not nearly as loud in the thick-walled, metal room, but the lights still dimly lit up and went out with every slight blink.
"Hold tight, my brave soldiers, we're safe in here." Numbuh 86 stepped in the middle of the crowd, trying to calm her teammates and the operatives. They only looked more horrified to see her face and chest drizzled in blood, and pieces of glass half embedded into her body. "This will stop soon, alright, and then we can get out of here and meet up with the rest of the KND. I'm sure in no time we'll have a plan to stop this invasion."
Double D stared wide eyed at his phone as it beeped loudly, indicating that the person on the other end of the line had hung up, utterly confused by the conversation that had just taken place. Someplace safe? Why on Earth-?
His heart froze in place as he heard an unfamiliar noise echoing throughout the skies above him. He slowly turned his head to the green-tented sky above him.
It took less than a second for him to jump to his feet and take off in the direction of his friends. Terror was etched all over his face. Double D turned the corner sharp, screaming to the other boys. "EDDY, ED, GET INSIDE NOW!"
Eddy, perched atop his throne, looked worriedly at Double D. "What are you yelling abo-"
"NOW, EDDY!" Double D barked back, causing Ed and Eddy to exchange shocked glances. They both immediately got to their feet and jogged inside the open garage door of Kevin's house. As soon as Double D joined them, Ed closed the door and they were left surrounded in darkness.
"Man, Kevin's gonna kill us if he finds us in here."