No More KND

With torn-up, lightly charred clothes, tangled hair, and frazzled nerves, three children sat on a lonely, metal bench in a poorly lit hallway. Everything that they could see was made of patchwork sheet metal - the floors, the walls, the ceiling, the door that remained shut to them just a few yards to the left. Everything but the single, wide observation window across from the bench. At least whoever had designed the oppressively drab hallway they were waiting in had the grace to install a view.

It was certainly quite a view. The slight, silver curve of the moon's dusty surface. The dark, beautiful abyss of space. Most alluring of all, the vibrant, blue and green planet in the distance. Half of planet Earth was picturesquely illuminated in rich, gorgeous sunlight, and the other half was dramatically understated in its velvetine night and winking city lights.

Compared to the dull monotony of waiting on the bench, being anywhere planetside or anywhere else on Moonbase had to be more interesting. But then again, the children waiting on the bench had already had their fill of "interesting" for the day.

A red-haired boy who bore a striking resemblance to the Kids Next Door's previous decommissioning officer sat the closest to the locked door at the end of the hall. In the middle of the bench was a very young, blond boy in a hand-me-down orange hoodie - he looked the tiredest of the three. Last, but certainly not least, was an 11-year-old Japanese girl in short pigtails whose scowl could peel paint.

None of them wanted to be waiting on the bench. One of them would rather be home. Two would prefer to be at their treehouses, or if that was unavailable then anywhere but home. All three held in their hands worn-out folders with multi-colored crayon scrawls all over their covers.

"Hah…" sighed the redhead, who looked the oldest of the three, "You guys doing okay after that battle? Mushi? Joey?"

Joey Beetles nodded slowly, meekly replying, "Yeah…"

Mushi Sanban sourly huffed, "I'm fine. Now shut up, Paddy."

"That's no way to speak to a higher ranking officer," Paddy Fulbright reprimanded half-heartedly.

Crossing her arms and impatiently tapping her folder on the cold, hard surface of the bench, Mushi scoffed, "Right… Sorry. Please shut up, Numbuh 85, sir."

Rather than getting up in arms over her blatant disrespect like his older sister would have, Paddy adopted an apologetic expression and said, "I'm sorry, Mushi. I know it was hard for you. And Joey too… Having to face those guys. All of them, together..."

Limply swinging his feet back and forth, with a haunted look in his eyes, Joey mumbled, "The Teens Victorious…"

Muchi clenched her fists together tightly, hissing with venom, "More like the Traitors Victorious! Those stupid, stuck-up jerks, picking a name like that!"

Paddy changed the subject, "Did you finish the report?"

"Hmph," grumbled Mushi, "Yeah. I just don't get why we have to deliver these in person."

"The Supreme Leader wants to go over the battle with us," explained Paddy, "Everyone's heard about it by now, and he wants all the information he can get before he makes any announcements to the Kids Next Door. This is a major development."

Mushi complained, "I should've stayed in the lab today. If I hadn't gone to visit you losers, I wouldn't be here now."

"If you hadn't come to visit us," protested Joey, "I don't think we'd be alive."

Paddy chuckled, "You really saved our bacon back there, Numbuh 3.0!"

Her previously relaxed posture tensed, and Mushi stiffly responded, "I don't want to be called that right now."

"O-oh," backtracked Paddy, "Sorry, Mushi…"

After a moment of silence, the dark-haired girl slouched over and sighed, "Whatever… I don't care. So what if those traitors are working together now? We'll kick their butts next time."

"But they're already scary enough by themselves…" murmured Joey, downcast.

With a small grin, Paddy declared reassuringly, "I know they are, Joey, but those teenagers aren't invincible. Not even if they've made some kind of alliance. We won't say die, because the Kids Next Door will never end!"

Mushi snorted with a note of amusement, "I find it ironic who you're quoting."

Paddy's smile faltered.

Two-pronged forks and cheese knives sliced through the air, pinning an unarmed girl to her own front door through her baggy pants and wide sweater sleeves.

Another child, this one a younger boy who could've been the girl's brother, snarled and charged forward with a battle cry and a S.P.L.A.N.K.E.R. in hand.


He met a hard dodgeball to the face, sending him crashing to the sidewalk. The brave child tried to shake off the pain and get back up, but he was stopped by the sharp point of a cutlass in front of his nose. He didn't dare to breathe as he lifted his gaze to see the form of an infamous, enemy teen. The sun was directly behind her head, casting most of her face in shadow, but this was an adversary that few operatives would fail to recognize.

She was much taller than him. A bandana of magenta color was tied over her hair. A few stray dreadlocks hung down around the sides of her head. She had dark skin. Her jacket was navy blue. The gold earrings she wore were unmistakable. The teenage girl holding him at swordpoint was the candy pirate known by the moniker "Captain".

He could hear an unholy, high-pitched screech of fury coming from a ways down the street to his left. It made him flinch. From the other direction, to his right, he could hear the sharp crackle of flames. He shivered, and Captain smirked down at him. The boy gulped in terror, but he could only thank his lucky stars that out of the five villains in their midst, it was her threatening him and not one of the two youngest among the teens.

A few beats of silence, and then, Paddy spoke, "I guess… it is kinda ironic."

"You think?" jabbed Mushi wryly.

The red-haired boy chuckled, "Maybe I'm losing my head in my old age. My decommissioning is coming up in a few weeks."

There wasn't anything that the others could think of in response to that. What do you say to a person when they mention how they won't remember you in a few weeks' time?

"Numbuh 4.4, go help Numbuh 2.5!" ordered Paddy as he ducked a dodgeball hurtling his way, "I'll deal with Novillo!"

Joey nodded, whipped out his G.U.M.Z.O.O.K.A, and cut across the street. He made sure to stay out of Captain's view, and mentally apologized to his other teammate on the sidewalk for leaving him to the teenage candy pirate's mercy. He hopped the neighbor's fence and then rolled behind the bushes near the front porch. As quietly as he could (and he could be pretty quiet), Joey crawled closer to the front door of the house. Once within a few yards, he shot out the knives and forks holding Numbuh 2.5 to the wooden planks. She fell and landed gracefully.

He tossed her a spare M.U.S.K.E.T.

Numbuh 2.5 caught it and said, "Thanks, Numbuh 4.4."

Zip! Zoom!

More sharp utensils came flying at them. Numbuh 2.5 leaped into the bushes, tackling Joey into the dirt. She quickly got back up to a kneeling position, peeking her head over the tops of the leaves.

A tall, heavily-built figure in predominantly yellow and orange samurai armor was stomping toward them in slow, heavy, thudding footsteps. His helmet was red, and it cast a shadow over his face. He carried a thick, wooden club as tall as he was. It dragged behind him as he marched across the grass.




"Oh, crud!" exclaimed Numbuh 2.5, "The Shogun is coming back!"

Paddy broke the silence when he remarked, "I still remember when they were on our side."

"... Me too," admitted Mushi hollowly.

Joey stayed silent. After all, he was far too young to recall any time when the five teenagers who made up half of the Kids Next Door's Top 10 Most Dangerous Villains List were anything but the organization's enemies.

Paddy shot at an unseen enemy using a battle-worn M.U.S.K.E.T. that had been given to him by his older sister. He backed up against the trunk of a tree, welcoming the security of knowing there couldn't be anyone behind him.

"Get out here, Novillo!" he shouted.

The branches above him rustled. Something small and shiny fell down to land at his feet.

Looking at the shiny wrapper of a candy bar puzzledly, Paddy said, "A coconut log?"

Suddenly, his eyes widened as he came to a realization. Paddy threw himself to the side as a large coconut thunked to the ground where he had been standing just a moment before. With a cry of action, the red-haired boy snapped up his arm and fired mustard blasts up into the leafy branches of the tree.

A figure much taller than him jumped out, flipping through the air and landing on his feet a few yards away. His back was towards Paddy. He had blond hair that was just long enough to be tied back into a short ponytail. He wore an orange matador jacket and blue jeans that were too long for his legs. A newspaper hung from his outstretched arm.

"Novillo," growled Paddy, "Haven't you done enough? It broke Joey's heart when he found out about you."

Joey worked up the courage to softly inquire, "What… What were they like, before?"

Searching for a way to answer the boy's question without hurting him more, Paddy and Mushi glanced at each other. They found no easy solution. The three of them, alone in that dark hallway with the locked door and the whole of planet Earth outside the window, were truly isolated.

"I… What is it that you want to hear?" asked Paddy.

Resolutely, Joey declared, "The truth."

Mushi scowled darkly and raised her weapon to point at the wild-haired, violet-dressed teenage figure gliding emotionlessly toward the cowering forms of two KND operatives on the ground. Paddy and Joey. Somehow, they had both gotten away from the other villains, only to be cornered by the raggedy teenage girl. Mushi pulled the trigger and fired.

A teddy bear hit the teenager on the head.

The teen paused in her cold stride and slowly turned to face her new foe. Mushi could see the black choker around the girl's pale neck and the red jewel decorating her collar. The eye not hidden by the teen's hair was caked in dark eyeshadow and thick mascara. Her expression was absolutely frigid. Swept forward to cover half her face, the teenager's black hair was an unkempt crow's nest of tangles and choppy locks, a witch's broom. Fitting, for such a dark and icy enchantress.

The oldest of the teenagers was Captain, who was almost seventeen. This gothic, haunting girl in front of Mushi was the youngest of the five villains attacking the Kids Next Door today. She was perhaps sixteen years old. However, her age did not belie her status. "Empress", as she called herself, stood unchallenged as the second-most feared of the Traitors Victorious. The frost-hearted witch was notoriously unstable - the slightest offense could break her glacial disdain for the world and set her off on anyone. Well, anyone but her four villainous friends, it would seem. The loyalty she had for them was strange, considering how easily she could have blamed them for the incident that had made her the cruel girl she was today.

"Hey, Empress!" shouted Mushi boldly and without trepidation, "Remember me?"

"You want the truth...?" said Paddy with a tired sigh, "They were great. Everyone looked up to them. They were the best since Sector Z - and given what happened to Sector Z, maybe there's some kind of curse on being the best team in the KND… But the way that those five, the 'Traitors Victorious' as Mushi calls them, turned against us… No one could have seen it coming."

Mushi continued bitterly, "They used to be heroes. Living legends… I actually hated them, especially the Shogun, back when they were the good guys. But I was a real brat when I was in kindergarten. Those traitors… before they were traitors, they were perfect operatives. Everything the Kids Next Door is supposed to be. They were so. Cruddy. Invincible." She spat, "So much for that. They broke. All of them."

Joey asked, "But how did it happen?"

Paddy explained sympathetically, "Joey, you have to understand that it wasn't a single event. Sector V turned against the Kids Next Door one by one. It started with Numbuh 5 joining Stickybeard… then Numbuh 2 taking over as the Cheese Shogun… then it was your older brother and the bullies..."

Scowling, Mushi stated venomously, "Someone should've realized what was happening and pulled the rest of them out."

"But when? That's the question," refuted Paddy, "At what point could anyone have believed it was inevitable?"

Mushi shouted, "Once is a tragedy, twice is a coincidence, three is a pattern! Someone in Global Command should have done something after Numbuh 4!"

"They did do something," protested Paddy, "They dissolved the sector. They transferred everyone who was left, including me, Sonia, and Lee, to Sector W. Well, back to Sector W, in our case."

Mushi growled acridly, "Not soon enough to save my sister from those stupid caramels. Hah," she barked an ironic laugh, "And it didn't even help the last of them. Their Leader."

A blast of fiery heat and dry air blew past everyone on the innocuous, suburban street that had suddenly become a battleground. The children froze in terror. The teen villains halted their attacks and turned to look in the direction it had come from.

The Shogun grumbled in a voice that was unmistakably Hoagie Gilligan's, "It's about time."

In the distance but coming closer with every purposeful step was a flaming silhouette wearing mirrored, yellow glasses. There was a pipe hanging around his neck by a cord, dangling like a trophy.

The fire died down as he approached, but that did not make the shadowy teen any less intimidating. Once he was close enough to be heard, he announced in a clipped, noticeably British accent, "That was a valiant effort, Kids Next Door. A localized Alamode bomb, very clever. Poetic. Unfortunately for you, I don't share my uncle's weakness to ice cream."

Captain sheathed her cutlass back into her belt, walking away from the child she had been threatening at swordpoint. She berated the newly arrived pyrokinetic villain, "Took ya long enough, Leader. Let's get on with this already. Captain has got other places to be, baby."

"Of course," replied Leader. With a cocky swagger to his step as his villainous, teenage friends began gathering behind him, Leader addressed the scattered KND operatives, "This is your last chance, Kids Next Door. Retreat. Run away. We're not here to fight any of you, so if you just go and let us do what we came here to do, we'll leave you alone. That's a promise from the Teens Victorious."

The Kids Next Door retreated. Three different sectors, all fighting to defend an emotionally significant KND stronghold from five teens, and they failed. It might've only been a relic of times long past that they were trying to save, but to many, especially the younger ones who in their minds had separated the legendary KND operatives from the accursed traitors, it was a source of hope.

The children boarded their S.C.A.M.P.E.R.s and flew away.

Some of them cried as they watched Sector V's treehouse go up in smoke and flames behind them.

Author's Note: This is based on a brilliant and inspiring (in a rather dark way) fan art series titled "NO MORE KND" on DeviantArt. It's by the artist hendocrinogeno, and he was nice enough to let me use his character designs for a villainous Sector V in this fic, so go check him out.

I'm considering turning this idea into a longer fic in the future, once I'm done with Last Resort. Any input on that?