Assignment 1: A Mission Finished

Thursday, July 8, 2083

Metro City Suburb

It was a bright summer morning in suburb of Metro City. The sky was clear and there was a feeling of peace to the air. It helped that the area was securely protected, both by its own city police and the World Organization of Mega Powers, or W.O.M.P., which had its headquarters located within the city. Indeed, it seemed that nothing at the moment could break the peace for the inhabitants.

Well, almost nothing.

"Uncle Gadget, stop!" Penny called out to her guardian. "You can't take out toast like that!"

Her warning was, unfortunately, too late. The inspector had already inserted a fork into the toaster in an attempt to dislodge a particularly stubborn piece of toast out of the machine. The shock that, by necessity, followed, was enough to give credence to his niece's warning.

Rushing over to the shocked detective's side, Penny and her dog, Brain, carefully helped him back to his feet. "Uncle Gadget, are you alright?" the girl asked, worry clear in her tone.

"I'll be alright," he responded, trying to steady himself. "Just remind me never to do that again." He rubbed his head and glared at the toaster. "Remind me to get a new toaster, too. That one's been causing trouble ever since I tried to fix it."

"Maybe we should just have some fruit for breakfast today," Penny suggested, looking for an opportunity to keep her notoriously danger prone relative away from any potentially dangerous household appliance.

He smiled at the suggestion. "Good idea. Fruit is a very important part of a balanced diet, after all." Moving over to the fruit bowl, Gadget selected a particularly good looking apple and took a bite.

That was when the ringing started up. "Wowzers!" the detective declared. "That shock must have hit me harder than I thought. Now I'm hearing things!"

Penny giggled and shook her head. She loved her uncle dearly, but she wondered if he'd ever fully get used to the gadgets he used on a daily basis. "I think that's the Super-Secret Gadget Phone, uncle."

"Oh, yes, quite right. I'd forgotten about that." He set the apple down before extending the antenna hidden in his right thumb. Setting his thumb to his ear and his pinky to his mouth, he listened in.

Penny picked up her computer book and pretended to read it, while Brain feigned interest in a chew toy. In reality, they were listening in on her uncle's call. If he was receiving a mission, then it was important that they understood what was going on.

"Hello, Chief? Is that you?" the detective was saying. "You're where? Alright, I'll be there in a moment."

Replacing the antenna to its former position, he wandered over to the kitchen window and opened it up. Outside, hidden in the shrubbery outside, was Chief Quimby.

"Chief!" Gadget said excitedly, as if he had never seen the chief in one of his odd hiding places before. "I didn't know you had an interest in gardening!"

Quimby rolled his eyes, already well used to his rather ditzy underling. "We've got an important mission for you, Gadget," he said, handing a sheet of paper through the window. "Read this."

"'Doctor Claw has kidnapped Dr. Freymore, one of the world's most brilliant technological geniuses,'" the cyborg inspector read, bringing the paper close to his face. "'He is going to use the doctor's knowledge and technology to hack into the world government's most private files. He is hiding in a system of caves near the Hoover Dam, where he will use the energy to power his computer system. If he gets that information, the results could be catastrophic. You're assignment is to go out there and stop his plans. This message will self-destruct.'"

Looking up from the piece of paper detailing what he was to do, Gadget smiled. "You don't have to worry about a thing, Chief." He crumpled up the paper as he confidently turned to get his coat. "After all, I'm always on duty." The inspector tossed the paper over his shoulder as he walked back, not noticing Quimby's shock as he did so.

As the paper exploded in his face once again, Quimby groaned. "I wanted to get the paper that merely dissolves after a few minutes, but no, explosions are more in the budget!"

"Penny," Gadget called as he turned to the door, "this is one where I'll be heading out solo. I'll see you tonight."

"Alright, uncle," the girl called back. "See you then!"

Lowering her voice, she turned to her dog. "Brain, you had better follow him there. I'll take a bus and catch up with you once I have the time."

The faithful dog saluted before rushing out to hide in the back of the Gadgetmobile. Yep, it seemed to be the makings of an ordinary day for the Gadget household.

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Hoover Dam, Clark County, Nevada

"How are you doing, Brain?" Penny's voice came over the transmitter attached to the dog's collar. "Can you see Uncle Gadget?"

The faithful creature gave a ruff of affirmation, as well as a salute to the camera. He was currently wearing the outfit of a dam worker: blue overalls and a white hard hat. Nearby, Gadget was examining one of the maps he had been given of the surrounding area, completely oblivious of his pet's presence.

"Good," the girl responded. "I've found the specific tunnel systems Claw is hiding out in. I'm going in to investigate. Get a lock on where I am, and see if you can't bring Uncle Gadget here."

The dog wuffed again before turning to figure out a way to fulfill his task. Inwardly, he gave a small sigh. This wasn't going to be easy. It never was.

"So," the inspector muttered quietly under his breath, "if I'm here, and Claw's hiding somewhere around this area, but the power supply can only be routed in that direction…" It was clear that, left to his own devices, the detective would be here all day.

Brain sighed as he realized what he was going to have to do. There was only one surefire way to get Gadget's attention, though it was never very fun.

Rushing over to the table, the dog snatched the map away. Semi realizing what was going on, Gadget snapped to attention. "Hey!" he called out. "I was using that! Give it back!"

Crumpling up the map, Brain tossed it away and stuck his tongue out at the detective and took off running. He knew the chase wouldn't be far behind.

"He must be a M.A.D. agent, and he's trying to impede my investigation!" Gadget said aloud, taking up the chase. "Hey, you! Get back here!"

Adjusting his collar so he could pick up on Penny's signal, the dog adjusted his direction so as to join the girl on her own investigation. He just dearly hoped the good inspector wouldn't catch him first.

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Meanwhile, Penny's own little investigation had not been all that fruitful. While she had discovered the area where Claw was hiding out, there was nothing that she had uncovered that would give her the ability to do anything.

She had wirelessly connected her computer book to the main processor and was running a sweep of the tech that took up most of the main chamber when she heard footsteps coming up. Without hesitation, the ten-year-old rushed behind one of the larger computers, squeezing into an area where she hoped no one would look.

In walked two men. Both were dressed in lab coats. One of them was an older man with a close trimmed white beard. With him was a younger man with black hair and glasses who was handling an electronic notebook.

"Claw will be here within the hour, Nicholas," the older man stated. "What's the state of the upload?"

"Well," the younger man, Nicholas, stammered out, "we've got the systems set up to go online in a short while. Once we're up, we can access just about any information from any computer on the face of the earth."

"That's good!" the older man declared. "Soon, M.A.D. will have access to whatever they need."

"Well, sir, there is one little problem," the assistant said in a nearly inaudible voice. Penny had to strain to understand what he was saying.

"Which is?" the man in charge ask.

"Uh, it's Inspector Gadget, sir," came the explanation. "Some of the M.A.D. agents saw him wandering around the caverns, led by a dam worker. It seems W.O.M.P. has taken an interest."

"Don't worry about Gadget," the other man snorted. "That's what the traps are for."

"That leads to another issue," Nicholas said, his voice still unusually quiet. "Dr. Freymore, why are we working with M.A.D.? I thought they were the bad guys in these sorts of situations."

Penny had to swallow a gasp of shock from what she heard. So, the doctor wasn't kidnapped, but was working with Claw willingly? She'd have to find a way to let her uncle and W.O.M.P. know.

For now, though, she had to stay quiet, since neither man had left.

"That's all from how you see it, Nick," Dr. Freymore said confidently. "You see, what's being done here is for the greater good. Information, after all, is best in the hands of those who can use it to its highest potential."

"But if a police officer is being sent after us-" Nicholas tried to argue.

"Let's even look at our opponent," the older man interrupted. "Detective John Brown, AKA Inspector Gadget. Strangely good at his job, but never went through college, even flunking out of community college. He barely got through high school, and has an IQ of 74, just barely high enough not to be considered mentally retarded. Yet this is the man being trusted with the supposed safety of not only this, but other governments as well. What does that say about W.O.M.P.?"

"Uh, well-" the assistant tried to speak, but was cut off again.

"It says they have no business with the authority they claim." Dr. Freymore tapped a few keys, and several screens showing images of the good inspector popped up. "When they appoint an imbecile like this to a position of guardian of the peace, instead of kept in his proper place, then it becomes clear that new management is in order. That way, those with the highest intellects are kept in charge, while everyone else is put in their proper positions." He motioned to the screen right as the detective, while in the pursuit of what was clearly Brain in overalls, proceeded to lose control of his skates and crash into a wall. "Claw had the right idea. Men like the inspector are good only for lab rats and disposable muscle."

Inwardly, Penny fumed. She hated it when her uncle was insulted like that, and she knew enough of what had happened to him at Claws hands to be utterly disgusted by the comment. She had to find a way to stop these people, and fast.

She began wiggling out from behind the computer, hoping to be able to make it out and get help without being detected. She had almost made it to her goal, when the slip up happened. Her foot landed on a wire when she wasn't expecting it, and she slipped, falling out into clear view.

"It's a spy!" Freymore cried out. "Catch her! Don't let her escape!"

With a swiftness born of experiences with escapes, Penny jumped to her feet and took off running. Several M.A.D. agents came and attempted to catch her, but she was used to such pursuits. Taking the first opportunity, she dodged into a small crevice, and the none too observant agents ran right past her hiding place.

Relieved about her close getaway, she crept out of her hiding place. "This is bad," she muttered quietly to herself. "I'd better get Chief Quimby on the line." She began working with her watch to attempt to call the Chief in, devoting her attention to the task. She was so concerned with what she was doing, she didn't notice where she was going until she ran into someone.

Knocked back by the hit, she stumbled backwards. It took her a moment to realize who she had run into, and by then, it was too late.

"Well," Dr. Claw said, laughing maliciously. "If it isn't Inspector Gadget's little niece."

Penny attempted to make her escape, but it was too late. Claw grabbed her by the back of her shirt, hefting her into the air. "Don't leave now," the villain laughed. "Don't you want to see your uncle?" With that, he dragged her off, back to the main cavern.

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"Hey! Get back here, you!" Gadget had, by now, abandoned the idea of keeping up the chase with his skates (the walls were just set up too close to each other for that) and was now pursuing what he thought was a M.A.D. agent on foot.

He had seen the agent round the corner into a larger chamber of the cave and disappear. Not one to be lost, the inspector took off to follow him into the larger chamber. However, much to his disappointment, there wasn't anyone in there.

That was when he spotted the computer screens. Playing on them were images from other area of the cavern. "Ah, security cameras!" Gadget exclaimed cheerfully. "Those should help me figure out where that pesky agent got to!" He wandered over and examined the keyboard.

Frankly, he could only recognized a few of the commands written on the keyboard. It was very different from the keyboard he had at home, and he sometimes made mistakes with that one, too, and Penny had to come and fix it. Come to think of it, he had to ask Penny for explanations about the computer a lot at home.

Ah, well, Penny wasn't here at the moment, she was safe and sound at home where he had left her. "This can't be too hard to figure out," he said, setting to the control panel. "Let's see, if I press this key, it should take me to the home web…I think."

He set to working the buttons and keys for a few moments. Nothing seemed to happen for the first few minutes. After a while, messages started popping up, mostly telling him that there was an error or asking him if he wanted the download to be aborted.

Gadget didn't understand these messages, and thus ignored them. However, they were soon replaced by other messages, spouting shouts of "Warning! Systems overheating! Warning!" He tried to ignore these too, but they became impossible to ignore when fires started spouting around the computer.

"Oh, so that's what systems overheating means," the detective stated. "Well, I know what to do about that. Go-go Gadget Water-Gun!"

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In a deeper part of the cavern, Gadget's actions were not going unnoticed. "That idiot is destroying everything!" Freymore called out. "We need to stop him! Or everything will be for naught!"

Claw scowled. "It's too late. He's already destroyed everything." The villain turned, yanking the now captive Penny up with him.

"Wait, what are you doing?!" The mad scientist was in shock over what he was seeing.

"I told you," Claw responded. "All this here is already gone." As if emphasizing his words, there was a loud explosion caused by the water hitting the electrical fire. "We need to leave. Gather what you can salvage and meet me later. I am going to send a message to the good inspector."

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When Gadget was aware of what was happening again, he was outside and Chief Quimby was helping him to his feet. "Congratulations, Gadget!" his superior exclaimed. "You stopped Claw from hacking into the world's governments, and destroyed his hideout! I don't know how you did it!"

"That makes two of us," the cyborg laughed. He was somewhat in a daze, and really couldn't remember anything that happened after he withdrew his water cannon.

"We didn't find Dr. Freymore," Quimby continued, "but we will continue our search."

Gadget was about to respond when a familiar rumbling started up. They didn't have much of a question of what was going on. Claw was getting out, and there wasn't much that could be done to stop him.

Something was different this time, though. As he flew by, Claw flew low, allowing for a clear look into the window. Gadget saw, and the blood drained from his face when he saw.

Penny. He didn't know how she got there. Maybe Claw had taken her while he was away. Right now, the exact how didn't matter. All that mattered was that the message was sent loud and clear.

I have your niece, and there's nothing you can do to stop me.

Gadget was determined that the second half of that statement was wrong. The villain might have taken Penny, but it wasn't too late. It would never be too late.

Acting more on instinct than rational thought, the inspector shot into action. "Go-go Gadget Arms!" He shot out his arms, entwining them around the car as tightly as he could. Once he had a firm grip on the car, he struggled to pull it back. "Go-go Gadget Magnets!" he called out, anchoring himself further to the ground. He couldn't lose his grip. He wouldn't lose his grip.

That did the trick. With a sharp tug, he pulled the car back, causing it to smack hard into a rock wall. Once the car had fallen and was immobilized, he rushed over, tore it open, and pulled his niece from the wreckage.

She was alright. A little bruised and shaken but otherwise none the worse for wear. He hugged her close, just relieved that she was alright. "I've got you," he said, reassuring himself as much as he was reassuring her. "I've got you."

"Uncle," the child sobbed. "I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault," he responded. "It's going to be okay."

While Gadget and Penny were reuniting, Chief Quimby ordered his men forwards, and something though near impossible happened. For the first time, the nefarious Dr. Claw was placed under arrest.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2083

W.O.M.P. HQ, Metro City

"Sir, you can't be serious!" Gadget exclaimed, desperation clear in his voice. "Retirement?! I'm barely forty one! I can't retire yet!"

Quimby sighed. "I'm sorry, Gadget. I didn't come up with the plan, it was given to me. I'm just the messenger here."

This was the truth. The message of retirement had been an order sent from some of the higher ups at W.O.M.P. There were more than a few people who would have liked to have handed the good inspector a pink slip years ago, but as long as M.A.D. was a threat, it was considered that he was too important to let go of, considering his unexplained success record.

That all changed with Dr. Claw's arrest. The villain was caught and was currently on trial, with more than a few people predicting the death penalty. M.A.D. was still around, but without Claw to lead them, the threat had diminished immensely.

Thus, it had been considered safe to get rid of the nuisance of a cyborg. Of course, firing a hero shortly after his biggest success wouldn't look very good, so instead, the case of a mandatory retirement had been decided on.

"But what about Penny?" Gadget questioned. "I need to have a steady source of income if I'm to going to be able to keep custody. I can't lose her to the state!"

"You'll continue to receive your paycheck in the form of a stipend," the chief answered. "You'll keep your income and the custody."

"Come on, Chief!" the cyborg continued, desperate to find some way to hold on to his job. "There's got to be something I can do. Claw might be put away, but M.A.D. is still out there! The jobs not finished yet. I can't retire now!"

Quimby sighed. "Look, John, I'm sorry," he sighed. "If I had it my way, this wouldn't be happening. You one of the best men on my team; I don't know of anyone who has a success record like you. For some reason, however, it has been decided that, without the threat of Claw himself, it would be better to keep you on reserve and not in active field work. I just don't have any say in the matter."

Hearing this, Gadget's face fell. "Oh. I see. I'll just clean my office out then."

Feeling incredibly guilty despite his lack of a choice, Quimby put a hand on the other man's shoulder. "Don't take it that way," he said. "After all, you haven't been fired, just given early retirement. Lots of people dream of this."

That didn't seem to help all that much, though Gadget tried to smile, at least for his friend's benefit. "Thanks," he said, trying to sound happy and failing miserably. "I'll try to enjoy myself."

Quimby sighed. "Hey, if it wouldn't make you feel any better, I can try to get you a position in training. You wouldn't be out in the field, but at least you'd have something to do."

"That's alright, thanks." The now ex-inspector gave a more genuine, though still mournful smile. "I'll try to figure something out."

"Hey, Gadget," Quimby called as the other man turned to leave. "Take care of yourself."

"You too, Chief," Gadget responded.

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Thursday, January 6, 2084

Metro City Suburb

"I'm leaving for school, Uncle Gadget," Penny said as she came into the kitchen to grab her packed lunch. "Do you have any plans for today?"

The ex-inspector shook his head. "Not really. I can't believe none of those places I applied to have called back."

The girl sighed. She could tell her uncle was miserable with his retirement, but it didn't seem like there was much that she could do. "Why don't you take Brain to the dog park?" she recommended. "I'm sure he'd enjoy the time out."

Brain shot her a look that made it clear that he would not appreciate such a trip, but it went unnoticed.

"Maybe, maybe," Gadget responded. He gave a chuckle. "You don't have to worry about me, Penny," he said. "I can take care of myself. After all, if years of dealing with M.A.D. didn't hurt me, I'm sure a bit of time to myself can't hurt either."

Penny gave a small smile as the many times she and Brain had protected Gadget from dangers he hadn't even been aware of flooded her memory. "Alright," she said. She kissed him on the cheek before running to grab her backpack. "Just please, don't just stay home today," she pleaded. "I don't think it's good for your sanity." With that, she turned and hurried to catch her bus.

Once she had left, Gadget laughed. "That girl worries about me far too much," he said quietly to himself. "Come to think of it, her mother did, too." He gave a wistful smile as the warnings about overly heavy work schedules came back to him. "She's becoming more and more like Andrea every day."

Shaking off the feeling of nostalgia, he turned to the small pile of mail left on the counter. He knew it was mostly junk and bills, but it gave him something to do.

That was when he spotted something he didn't expect to be there. In the pile of junk mail was a note which was addressed to Inspector Gadget. He looked it over, confused as to why it was using his former code name. "Huh," he murmured as he turned it over in his hands. "No return address."

The tone in the human's voice caught Brain's attention, and he lifted his head to keep an eye on Gadget. It was probably nothing, but the dog was naturally cautious. A good trait considering the man had very little caution.

"'Inspector,'" Gadget read aloud out of habit, "'there has recently been having some issues with thefts from weapons shops going on. I believe that the remnant of M.A.D. is involved. I've tried to take this to the police and to W.O.M.P., but no attention has been paid to me. I recently found out about your retirement. I hope you are interested in the case. If you are, meet me at 639 Firebird Row at eleven o'clock.'" Finishing what was written, he turned the letter over again. "Huh, no signature. Strange."

Smiling, he shoved the letter in his pocket. "Well, a weapons' theft issue, huh?" He smiled. "Well, Brain," he said to the dog as he retrieved his coat and hat, "it looks like I will have something to do today after all." With that, he hurried out to the garage and started up the car.

Brain had a bad feeling about this. He wasn't sure what the mysterious note sender had in mind, but he doubted that was case was the real issue. Firmly planning on contacting Penny as soon as she reached her lunch break, the dog hurried after and snuck into the back of the car, determined to make sure that nothing bad happened to the man.

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Hours later, Penny arrived back at the house after her school had ended. All in all, it had been an uneventful day, and she was eager to get back home.

As soon as she entered the house, she could tell something was off. She was usually greeted when she got home, either by her uncle or by Brain, both of whom usually called out to her first. Today, there was nothing but silence.

"Hello?" she called out, hoping her worries were groundless. "Uncle Gadget? Brain? I made it back."

No one answered her calls. Worry filled the girl as she wandered from room to room of the house. No one was there. There wasn't even a note detailing where they might have gone. The entire house was empty.

At first, Penny decided that her uncle must have gone to the store or something and forgotten to leave a message, and went to the phone to try to call him on his Gadget Phone. Once, twice, six time she called. None of the times were ever answered.

She did what she could and waited through the evening to see if anyone would come home, but all through that night, neither hide nor hair of either of them turned up. Eventually, reality hit the poor girl, and without any other options, she called in to report the remainder of her family missing.

To be continued…

Author's Note: At long last, here we are!

Now, this follows both Initiation and I'll Always be There For You, but this is the main story, so you don't have to read those to understand. I'd recommend it though.

I hope you enjoyed it, and I'd like to hear what you think! See you on May 19!-SilverWarriorWolf.