Author: D. L. SchizoAuthoress
Warnings: Extreme violence, language, death
Summary: Professor Utonium is forced to remember a past that he would much rather forget. But you know what they say...those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Meanwhile, the Sourpuffs are about to make some new allies at their new school.
"The Dark Side of Powerpuff: I Dreamed that My World was Crumbling Down"
Professor Utonium sat in the hospital waiting room, nervously waiting for news of Mojo Jojo's condition from the emergency room doctor. Because of the numerous monster attacks and super-villain plots that Townsville was the focus of, medical service was the largest field of work in the city. And because many of the injured people who came in were fleeing destruction, all Townsville hospitals included a competant veterinary staff on the payroll - to deal with hurts suffered by the pets of Townsville as well.
St. Francis Cabrini Hospital and Children's Center, the one nearest to the Volcanotop Observatory, was no exception to the rule. And, because of its proximity to the epicenter of the city, the hospital was only three stories high at most aboveground, occupying a large sprawl of buildings spread over several city blocks. The most critical patients were kept in the lower levels, where they could be guaranteed extra protection from rampaging monsters and the like. The occupants of Townsville were stubborn and proud, but not stupid.
It had already been several hours since the attack of the Sourpuff Girls. The Professor had watched the attack on his laboratory TV, and rushed to St. Francis as soon as the hospital had been named. He alone knew just what the attack signified; he alone knew why, the deepest, darkest why, it had happened.
And so he sat in the small room, enduring the sympathetic eyes of the admitting nurse, and was tortured by guilt.
On the night that Miranda left...
"Ellis, you are a fool!" Miranda Unununium declared. She brushed the loose strands of her hair from her face with a sharp, irritated motion. "Don't you understand what we're being offered here? This federal grant will solve all of our financial difficulties! No more favors called in from old colleagues who don't believe in us anyway; no more selling off of our so-called luxury items to scape together enough money for a good genetic sequencer. No more begging for loans from the banks!"
"You want to sell your scientific integrity to the government! To the military!" Professor Utonium accused. "You might as well sell your soul!"
"If Project Superpower isn't to create super-powered soldiers, then what is it for?" Miranda demanded. She slapped her open palm down on the top of his desk, scattering a few papers. "To give to the common man? Ha! You might as well say that you're giving it to the common criminal! Superpowers won't save us, it won't balance the scales for the poor and underpriviledged! Superpowers will only raise the stakes, and increase the damage done by war and crime!"
"Who says we have to use our findings? Isn't it enough to discover the potential, the abilities?"
"Idealist." Miranda snarled, and she made it sound like a curse word. "Do that, and every unscrupulous hack with a Masters in Genetics will find a way to exploit your findings. Pure science is dead, Ellis. Ever since the atom bomb, all scientific discoveries have been twisted to military use in the end. At least we can control who it goes to, with this government deal. At least now, only competant, well-trained, psychologically balanced soldiers will be empowered."
"You're insane..." Ellis murmured.
Miranda drew back, stung by the accusation. And more, of the conviction behind Ellis's words. Her eyes hardened, looking like polished shards of agate as she stared at him.
"Get out!" Ellis shouted suddenly. Miranda jumped back, lifting her arms to shield an expected blow. It never came, but her lover's next words might have been such a blow, for all the pain they caused her. "Get out! Right now! It's over, Miranda - everything! I never want to see you again!"
Miranda glared at the young, dark-haired Professor. "How dare you! How dare you!"
Professor slumped in his chair, hiding his face in his hands. He'd dared. He'd dared to toss Miranda out on her ear, to steal her portion of their shared research, to denounce her as a fraud within the circle of the scientific community. And she'd promised him that vengeance would come to him, someday.
And now it had. Now it had, and her amorphous promise of vengeance now had a name - the Sourpuff Girls. It was like a slap in the face. Everything he'd worked for, trampled on by the one woman he'd ever really trusted. All his work in balancing the scales toward true equality and safety for all, upset by Miranda's creations in eerie echo of her words during their last fight. Even her method of revenge was an insult, to himself and to the three Girls he'd made, however accidentally that had come about.
Ellis Utonium had lived with a lie for a long time - building walls around it, building a life atop it - the lie that he had acted alone in the development of Chemical X. The lie that his three children had no mother. Because they did have a mother...Miranda Unununium, a mother who was truly insane after years of rejection and hardship.
And because of his lie, the Powerpuff Girls also had sisters who hated them.
Though it killed her to do it, Buttercup managed to wait until the end of the school day before she rocketed at high speed toward the hospital. Blossom followed, at a more sedate pace, irritated by Buttercup's impatience. Bubbles flew at the redhead's side, looking uncharacteristically solemn.
"Mojo will be all right, won't he?" Bubbles asked her.
Blossom sighed. "I don't know, Bubbles. But he looked pretty bad."
"Yeah," Bubbles agreed in a tiny voice, "He did."
Buttercup was waiting for them in the main lobby. "He's in critical condition. They've got him on sub-level six; emergency operating room." The black-haired Powerpuff scuffed the toe of her boot against the linoleum of the reception area. "Doctor Minaas and his team have been operating for hours, and his condition still hasn't stablized."
The three Powerpuff Girls exchanged looks of concern. Doctor Miles Minaas was the most skilled surgeon at St. Francis Cabrini. And, because it was Mojo Jojo, his team was sure to include Doctor Helen Giske, the head of veterinary medicine. If it had already been hours, and Mojo had not improved in that space of time...
"Let's go to the emergency room on sub-level six," Blossom said authoratatively. She had to keep their morale up.
None of them rushed this time. It was as if they believed, by not being there to hear the news, that they could stall any bad things from happening. But that isn't the way the world works. Upon their arrival at sub-level six, Bubbles ran from the elevators into the Professor's arms.
"Have they said anything yet?" she asked fearfully.
The Professor shook his head. Blossom and Buttercup embraced their father from each side. For a while, they remained that way, in a tight-knit four-way hug. A small cough from the doorway made them break apart - it came from a very solemn-looking Doctor Giske.
"We've done everything possible," the doctor said quietly, shaking her dark, curly head. "But he's beyond our help."
"Is he...dead?" Blossom choked out.
"No. Not yet." Doctor Giske replied. She turned away, pushing open the door to the operating rooms, and held it. "He's asking for you...all four of you."
"Hey, Mojo Jojo," Buttercup managed to say, holding onto Mojo's left hand gently, "we're all here."
"Buttercup..." Mojo whispered. His voice was little more than breath, shaky and soft. "I wish to... to apologize..."
"You don't need to do that, Mojo!" Blossom interjected. Bubbles nodded in agreement on the right side of the bed, to overcome by tears to speak.
Mojo favored the redheaded Powerpuff with a small smile. "But I do. It's my fault... mine. Those other Girls... they came to kill me... to prevent me..." He coughed, and there was blood on his teeth when next he spoke. "To stop me from telling you... telling you about them. For... I... I know..."
The simian began to shudder and coughed even more violently. The Professor placed a soothing hand on Mojo's brow, and wound an arm around Bubbles's trembling shoulders. "Don't try to speak, Mojo."
But terrible knowledge shone in those hyper-intelligent black eyes, knowledge that Mojo Jojo felt that he must share, or be damned forever. He loosed his hand from Buttercup's grasp, and, for the first time in nearly two decades, used sign language to communicate.
"I know..." The Professor translated, "how your enemies were created. I helped Professor's old partner make them, when I was in Townsburg. She tried to erase my memory, but it didn't work. I told her that I would reveal this secret to you. Then...they came..."
Exhausted, Mojo let his hands fall. "Ellis," he rasped, and a bloody froth formed on his greenish face. "Ellis, tell them...the rest. The truth..."
"Oh, no, Mojo!" Bubbles burst out suddenly, and embraced him. Mojo stroked her fine blonde hair for a moment, and then went still. The heart rate monitor flat-lined.
A week had passed. Each member of the Utonium family was left alone to their mourning. But Blossom did not forget Mojo's last words, nor the strange sign he'd made while using sign language that day. Blossom had since scanned every book on American Sign Language that she owned, but as she suspected, it wasn't in them.
And a sign like that could only be one thing - a name. But why had the Professor left it out? What name did he not want them to know?
"Unununium," the yellow-eyed blonde repeated. "Saffron."
"That's such a long name," her new classmate replied. Like all of the students, as well as Saffron, this girl wore a dark grey pleated skirt with a matching jacket over a white blouse. She tapped her dressy black shoes against the leg of Saffron's chair, and her pencil against her mouth, as she studied the blonde girl. There was something judgmental and troubling in her eyes as she looked at Saffron.
"My sisters and I usually shorten it to 'Unium."
"It's a weird name." The girl said decidedly.
There was something dangerous in Saffron's soft tone as she murmured, "Oh?"
"Yeah," the girl said, smiling in a nasty, cruel way. "The only other one in this Academy with such a weird name is that criminal girl."
"What 'criminal girl' is that?" Sierra asked coldly, enjoying the way that the classmate jumped at the sound of her voice.
The girl turned, a biting retort ready, but fell silent at the look on Sierra's face. The 'Unium sister's expression clearly showed that Sierra was in no mood for bullshit. Pale-faced and a little shaken, the girl replied, "She's the one who used to get in trouble with the law as a kid. Princess Morebucks, that's her."
"Thank you," the pair chorused.
Sierra purred, "That wasn't so difficult, now, was it?"
To be continued...