Chronicles of a Caped Crusader: Against All Odds - Part Ten
After Nefarious had fled the Lost Desert the Defenders had returned to Headquarters to regroup and ready themselves for the assault on his final stronghold. Dominica and her team of Faeries were there too; ready to be briefed on the plan. They were seated in the meeting room. Judge Hog looked around for Loraine, but she was nowhere to be seen.
"Where is Loraine?" he asked.
The door opened. "Here, sir."
Loraine walked in wearing a black bodysuit, a crimson colored band around her upper part of her left arm. Her blaster was in a hip holster; no one had seen that blaster since she became Loraine. Captain K's eyebrows rose. He knew about her past, but as Loraine she didn't look or act anything like Lynette. Seeing her looking like Lynette was a shock.
"You're joining us in the field?" Aisheena asked. "Are you sure? Nefarious is pretty dangerous."
Loraine smiled that arrogant Lynette smile. "I was Sloth's go to girl before you were even out of high school. My name was something you whispered in fear. Ask K there, I'm sure he remembers those days. This won't be the first time I've taken on Nefarious." Captain K nodded that it was true and Aisheena looked impressed.
Loraine turned to Judge Hog. "In this case, I think it we will need all available manpower. My talents would be wasted at the computer."
Judge Hog nodded. She sat down in her seat next to him and they began.
"Our plan is an all out assault on Nefarious' base. We'll try to storm the building, maybe make it inside before he has a chance to get to his robot and activate his usual self-destruct. It is not likely that we will have the element of surprise in this case or that this will happen. Nefarious is watching and waiting, letting us make the first move against him. Whatever he has got in there is clearly much stronger than any of his previous robots have been. We must be ready for a real fight, whatever he's got is his last stand, and he will be playing to win. We will have four teams, one to come at him from each side, so no matter how he tries to exit the building we will see him coming. Loraine and I will lead the frontal assault, Dominica with us. Captain K and Mammoth will come in to the left, Aisheena and Dr. Flexo from the right. Orig and Danger Buzz will take the rear. Dominica, split your faeries between the three other parties, picking whoever will work best together and with my agents. We will meet in the lobby in twenty minutes to depart. Ready yourselves during this time."
They all rose and left. Judge Hog followed Loraine out of the room; she held the elevator for him. They rode it down to the fourth floor. They got out and Loraine headed for the armory.
"Are you sure you want to take the risk of being seen in public?" Judge Hog asked as he followed her.
"If there are any reporters there taking pictures, they will be a long way off. Any pictures will be blurry. If they want them cleaned up, they will have to go to Virtupets for that. I've got a few friends up there, friends who will be perfectly willing to keep ones with an Ixi in it blurry. Besides, we need all our agents. I may have not taken to the field in nearly three years, but I'm still in peak condition. I could go back to being Lynette any day." Loraine saw him wince at that statement and amended, "Skill-wise. I could never be Lynette again. You know that."
"I certainly hope so. The idea of having to face off against you isn't a nice one."
"Because I could beat you?" she asked teasingly.
"Because you're my closest friend," Judge Hog corrected her.
He didn't expect her to be able to reply in kind, so he was surprised when she said, "And you're mine."
She smiled, clearly reading his thoughts. "Buzz is still the most important person in my life, but he's more than a friend. He's a part of me, the other half of my soul. No matter what has happened or where he is, I know that it is the same for him. Maybe more so, since I'm dead as far as he knows. You've been a good friend, you saved me from Lynette. I couldn't ask for a better friend."
They entered the armory and she took a duffle bag and started loading things into it. Judge Hog was silent, lost in his thoughts.
"You may have been able to save me, but there will be no saving Nefarious," Loraine said suddenly. "We have to bring him down hard and lock him away. That is going to be quite the job, keeping him locked away, given his incredible genius, but we have to do that. Turning his mind to good again, it wouldn't be interesting, and that's what he needs. I know you want to save him, turn him good, for Vicki's sake, but you can't."
Judge Hog nodded; she was right. He did want to save Nefarious, to bring Marcus back, but that wasn't something anyone could do. All they could do was stop him. Loraine slung her duffle bag over her shoulder and picked up a jetpack from off the rack. She looked over at him.
"Come on, let's get back upstairs. I've got one more stop to make after that, and then I'll rejoin you in the lobby."
"What are you doing?" Judge Hog asked. There was something of finality in her tone.
"I'm going to contact Vicki. She deserves to know we're launching the final battle against her brother."
They got in the elevator.
"Are you sure we shouldn't wait until we have him in custody and this is over to contact her about it?" he asked.
"No, I think she should know that it is actually coming. She'll need time to ready herself for it, however it ends. It is likely that we won't even be the first ones to give her the news of that, so it's better that she knows ahead of time," Loraine explained.
Judge Hog nodded. The elevator arrived at the ground floor. They both entered the lobby, but Loraine split off for the control room. Most of the Defenders and the Faeries were there. Captain K was missing, but he was probably readying his ship to transport the non-fliers to Faerieland.
It was another Saturday. All Saturdays reminded her of Marcus now, the day he showed up on her doorstep unexpectedly. The beginning of this whole horrible ordeal. The last happy times they shared together. They would never share breakfast together again; they would never talk and laugh about their childhoods. They would never be the same.
She didn't know how her life was going to change when Nefarious finally fell to the Defenders of Neopia. He'd go to prison, that was for certain. She didn't know if she should go to see him, or write to him. His last communication to her was very final. He might never want her to see him again, to let her remember him as Marcus, not as Nefarious.
Vicki sat on her couch, absentmindedly flipping through the pages of an old photo-album. Veronica came into the room, dressed in her swimming suit. She kissed her mother on the cheek before heading out to surf. Veronica had refused to go back to school. It was an incredible sacrifice for the child, since she was bored out of her mind by most of her activities. She could tell something was still weighing heavily on her mother, and was going to stick by her until it was over.
Her communicator beeped and she jumped. She knew it wasn't going to be Marcus. Loraine had had a Virtupets tech examine it and find a way to allow Loraine to communicate with her over it too. She picked it up and read the message.
'Vicki, we're about to face off against Nefarious in Faerieland for what should be the last time.
Tears sprang to Vicki's eyes; it would be over at last. A sudden determination came over her. She wrote a note to Veronica, telling her to go stay with Alana until she came to get her. She then grabbed her purse and ran for the Eyrie Taxi stop. The taxi was waiting to pick up passengers; she paid them and told them to head for Faerieland. She got in and they took off, they. Seeing her desperation, they flew the route faster than they ever had before.
Soon everyone was assembled. They went over the final details and then headed for the hangar or outside.
The fliers took off, except for Judge Hog and Loraine. She slipped on her jetpack and adjusted the straps. A minute later Captain K's spaceship took off. Loraine raised her arm; her wrist com was very different from everyone else's. It was a remote control for the DoN's computer. She typed something on it and the building went into lockdown.
She smirked. "I wonder what Dr. Sloth would say if he knew that this building and all our tech were built by his current and former scientists, engineers, and techs. I know he'd be furious."
"I'm sure he'd be angrier to know that it was one of his most trusted commanders that made that happen," Judge Hog replied.
Loraine fired up her jetpacks and took off. Judge Hog looked up at the building, a reminder of all he stood for. Today was to be the most important day of his life, the day he finally, truly faced off against Nefarious.
All heroes needed an arch-villain. All arch-villains needed a hero. One would stand, one would fall. The endgame was here.
To be continued...