TITLE: D.E.B.S.! In! Spa-a-ace!
AUTHOR: Jos Mous
DISCLAIMER: Not owning most of these characters, not making a profit.
The shuttle left the atmosphere and rushed into the darkness of space. It wasn't what most people would call a space shuttle. For one thing, it didn't need massive fuel tanks just to escape gravity. If NASA would've had a body, it'd had given an arm and a leg just to get its remaining hand on the design schematics.
The three D.E.B.S. inside the shuttle, however, didn't think much of it. For them it was just another one of their spy gadgets and besides, they were heading towards something that used to be an ancient stone pyramid floating gently in orbit, but was now, presumably, the base of operations for some maniacal madman. Plus, Amy was somewhere inside the thing as well.
"And?" said Max, sitting at the controls.
Dominique looked at the scanner readouts. "Ze usual stuff. Space-to-surface mizzile launchers, ion cannon arrays, thermo-nuclear mizzile platforms, mega-death lazer bankz... noting we 'aven't seen before."
"Any of it armed?" Max asked.
"Not yet," said Dominque.
"That's odd," said Janet. "Why would anyone build a pyramid with world-threatening weapons and then not threaten the world? What's the point?"
"Vell... peraps our super-villain is male and, you know..."
"Uhm... no?" said Janet.
"Peraps 'e's afraid of prematurely blowing 'is load, non?"
"Thank you for that wonderful image," Max said dryly. "Just you keep an eye on the scanners, alright?"
"Fine, fine," said Dominique. "'ey."
"'Ey?" said Max. "What do you mean, 'ey?"
"Ve appear to 'ave company."
Most ancient pyramids didn't come equipped with a large obersvation room in the tip. Then again, most ancient pyramids hadn't been converted by some maniacal madwoman to suit her own maniacal schemes.
Amy liked the observation deck. It gave her a great view of the stars, the moon and the earth. And, more importantly, it gave her the opportunity to share this view with the woman she loved in all peace and quiet.
"I've been thinking," said Amy, as she lay in Lucy's arms and looked out into the immeasurable distance.
"Hmm?" said Lucy.
"How about if we move in here?"
"Why?" said Lucy.
"Well, don't we have it pretty good here?"
Lucy sighed happily. "Yeah, we do that."
"So, you know, why go back?"
"Amy, we can't stay here," said Lucy, in a voice that threatened to sober up quickly.
Amy turned around in Lucy's arms and kissed. "But don't you like it here, like this?"
"Well... yes, but..."
Someone cleared his throat in a manner that subtly suggested that he really didn't want to clear his throat and most certainly didn't want to get noticed.
"Yes?" said Lucy.
"Sorry to intrude, but..."
"Just tell us, please," said Amy.
The minion winced. He was a professional minion. He'd been working for archcriminals and evil masterminds all his life. Having to take orders from a D.E.B., even one that was very good friends with Lucy Diamond herself, went against his very being.
On the other hand, he didn't want to risk being blown out of an airlock.
"There's a shuttle approaching the base, ma'am."
Amy sighed. "It's D.E.B.S. isn't it?"
"You don't sound very happy about that," said Lucy. "I mean, I thought you'd want to meet your friends again."
"I do," Amy said quickly. "Of course I do, but... you know... not just yet."
"I thought you wanted me to move in with you," said Lucy, a hint of accusation in her voice. "I thought you said your friends would be alright."
"Uh, ma'am? And ma'am?" said the minion.
"What?" Lucy and Amy snapped.
The minion took a step back. "Your orders, please?"
Lucy waved a hand. "Just stall them for a while, alright? Raise the defensive shield and all that. Now get going. We've got something important to discuss."
The minion nodded and left the room. He hadn't really minded when Bastet had been usurped by Lucy Diamond. After all, Lucy Diamond was a legend whereas Bastet was just small fry. But this whole D.E.B. thing was really starting to eat at him.
Walking down some stairs towards the control room, he wondered if he should've told the new bosses about the other shuttle.
"We're being hailed," said Janet.
Max blinked. "What?"
"This little light here is flickering," said Janet. "That means we're being hailed, right?"
"Yes it does," said Max and then swore internally. The only reason she'd put Janet at communications was because she'd thought there wouldn't have been anyone who would hail them out in space.
"Hello? This is Janet speaking. Who is this?"
Max put her hand over her eyes for a moment before remembering that she was the one at the controls.
A few moments of static later an answer came.
"This is the shuttle White Bull. Please identify yourselves."
"I already told you who I am," Janet responded.
There was another pause.
"Well could you please tell us the name of your shuttle?"
"Uh... one moment." Janet turned to Max. "Does our shuttle have a name?"
Max nodded mournfully.
"Well?" Janet asked.
"I'd rather not say."
"Oh come on, it can't be that bad," said Janet. "A shuttle by any other name, you know."
"Fine," said Max. "It's the Soaring Eagle."
Janet relayed the name to the other shuttle. There was some snickering static.
"How'd you guess?"
"Well, enough fun and games. We're from Enhanced Understanding of Rogues and Overlords and we're here to clear space from another rogue overlord."
The D.E.B.S. were silent for a moment.
"E.U.R.O.?" said Janet. "You guys are Europeans?"
"And you had the guts to snicker at Soaring Eagle," Max muttered.
"That's right and we're the professionals. So stay out of our way."
"Oh, right," Max said loudly. "You think you can do our job?"
"Your job? Hah. You were planning to go in guns blazing, weren't you?"
"Kind of," said Janet. "Only, we'd probably try to sneak in first."
"And then where would you be? You'd get a locked up villain plotting for revenge and the bloody cycle would just keep on going."
"Oh and I suppose you'd try to reason with them?" Max said.
"Of course. I'm sure we can reach a suitable compromise. All it takes is a small moment to try and understand their point of view."
"Their point of view is world domination!" said Max. "How do you plan to make a compromise about that?"
"See? There you go in that narrow-minded black-and-white American way of yours. Your opinion isn't the only valid one, you know."
"It's the base of an evil overlord. It's got who knows how much world-destroying weaponry."
"We don't know how much weaponry this misunderstood individual may or may not have, so it'd be foolish to do anything without some solid proof."
"You've got sensors and scanners don't you? How much more proof do you need?" Max said.
"It may just be a glitch in the system."
"That's it," said Max. "Janet, cut the transmission."
"Oh yes, that's very civi-"
"Finally," said Max. "Now on to business."
"And 'ow do you plan on doing t'at?"
"What do you mean?" said Max.
"Well, vile you were busy arguing, the pyramid got covered in a defensive shield."
"Are you saying we can't get it?" said Janet.
"But we must get in," said Janet. "Otherwise, how can we rescue poor Amy?"
Amy's hands lifted from Lucy eyes to reveal, in their small but romantically lit room, a single table with two plates, two knives, two forks and a single red rose.
"Aw, you shouldn't have," said Lucy.
"Come on," said Amy, taking Lucy's hand and guiding her towards the table.
"Are you trying to make me forget our little spat?"
"That depends," said Amy, sitting down. "Is it working?"
"For the moment," said Lucy. "How long until your friends are here?"
Amy's face fell. "So it's not working."
Amy looked at her watch. "Ten minutes, thi- no, twenty seconds."
"Right," said Lucy, standing up and taking Amy's hand. "Come on."
"But, I thought..."
"What do we always do when your friends are approaching?" said Lucy.
Amy grinned. "You mean..."
Lucy winked. "Let's go. You know, for old times' sake."
"How about blasting through it?" Janet said.
"With what?" said Max. "We're not that heavily armed."
"Maybe the E.U.R.O.s could help us."
"I wouldn't count on it," Max said. "They're just floating out there in space, no doubt trying to be diplomatic."
"Girls, Ah 'ave some good news and some bad news."
"I think I can use some good news first," said Max.
"Ze good news is that the shield is down," said Dominique.
"And the bad news?"
"Ze bad news would be t'at it is only down zo t'at the mega-death lazers can fire on us."
"Right," said Max, with considerable glee. "Now it's our turn."
Jack, Jake and Bob, two professional minions and one free-lance one, gathered in the corridor.
"Right," said Jack. "We go in there, we start shooting. We're bound to hit 'em."
"Yeah?" said Bob. "Ever watched Star Wars? The stormtroopers never hit anyone."
"They did in the prequels," said Jake.
Bob looked at Jake in a manner suggesting very clearly that he wanted to hit him very accurately and very hard.
"Listen, we're not stormtroopers and they're not Skywalkers, alright?" said Jack. "We go in there, we shoot, we kill, alright?"
"Fine, fine," said Bob. "But I'll just have you know, I'll be going in last. I'm not being paid enough to die pointlessly."
"Then you shouldn't work freelance," said Jake.
Bob glared at him.
Jack took a deep breath. "Right then. Ready everyone?"
Jake and Bob nodded.
Jack pushed a button. The door swooshed open. The three minions jumped inside and filled the room with smoke and the sound of gunshots. When the smoke cleared they were very surprised to be still alive.
"Oh," said Jack.
"We seem to have killed a flower," said Bob.
"So where are-"
Jake was cut off by the noise coming from behind the bedroom door. The three minions looked at one another, then carefully inched their way to the door. They opened it very, very carefully.
Then they closed it again.
"Oh," said Jack.
"They were, uhm..." said Bob.
"Yeah. Very uhm," said Jake.
"Should we...?" said Jack.
"Don't really think it'd be appropriate," said Bob. "I mean, would you like to be shot when you were, uhm..."
"I don't think I can uhm," said Jake. "Not like that, anyway."
"I think we should just head back," said Jack. "And, err, let's not mention this to anyone else, alright?"
The other two just nodded.
"You shouldn't have done that," Janet said vaguely.
"What? We're inside, aren't we?" said Max.
"Well, yes, but I bet this place had a docking port or something. No need to blast through the wall."
Max looked at the hole. There wasn't much to see - it was, after all, filled up with the front half of the shuttle.
"Looks docked to me," she said.
"I just think it'd be nicer if we'd kept this ancient pyramid intact."
"Doesn't look that ancient to me," said Max.
"Oh, so destruction of property is alright if it 'doesn't look that ancient to you', does it?"
The D.E.B.S. turned around and saw...
More or less. One of them, the one standing in front and who was therefore presumably the leader, did indeed look like a rather traditional Catholic schoolgirl. The second Catholic schoolgirl looked like she had accidentally wandered off the set of a certain kind of movie where all the nuns carry whips, restraints and candles with rather hot wax. The third looked like she'd casually and without emotion slaughter for Jesus. Finally, the last of them looked as if she'd think that 'Catholic' was just a weird misspelling of the word 'alcoholic'.
"E.U.R.O. I take it," said Max.
"D.E.B.S. I assume," said the apparent leader.
"So, what, you persuaded the madman in charge to let you in?" said Max.
"More or less. I'm Stephanie, by the way."
"Max. This is Janet and that's Dominique."
"Charmed, I'm sure," said Stephanie. "This is Maria."
"Pleasure to meet you," Maria purred and the way she said 'pleasure' would have required some serious beeping on any decent television network.
"... and that's Mary-Ann."
Mary-Ann raised her hand as if tipping the broad-rimmed hat she wasn't wearing. "Howdy."
"Great," said Max. "Well, see ya."
"Hang on, shouldn't we at least try and team up?" said Stephanie.
"Sorry, but I've got no need for your peace for our time crap."
"Fair enough," said Stephanie. "So how do you plan on reaching the control room?"
"We'll find it," said Max. "And if we don't, we'll just take the airducts."
"Very efficient," said Stephanie. "Unfortunately, there are various forcefields erected all over, including inside the airducts. How good are you at bypassing them?"
"We'll find a way," said Max.
"Splendid," said Stephanie. "Inge?"
Inge nodded and walked to the console embedded in the wall.
"What is she doing?" said Max suspiciously.
"Accessing the communications console, obviously," said Stephanie.
"What? Are you stupid! They'll know where we are!"
Stephanie looked pointedly at the Soaring Eagle sticking out of the wall.
"See? I told you it was a bad idea."
"Shut up Janet."
"Got it," said Inge.
"Forcefields are down?" Stephanie said, smirking at Max.
"Yes. All earth-threatening weaponry have been disarmed as well."
"Good. And do you know the best route towards the control room?"
"What? How?" Max stammered.
"How else? We seek to understand the misguided individual we're facing," said Stephanie. "We even like to know things about him he doesn't want us to know."
"She," said Inge.
"Whatever," said Stephanie. "Shall we?"
Max glared at her. "Yeah, we shall."
Bastet sat haughtily upon her throne.
Actually, it was just a rather uncomfortable chair in her control room, but she'd be damned if she didn't call it her throne.
She'd just spent a most unpleasant time inside her own brig, but fortunately her minions, loyal to a man of course, had come and freed her. So now it was time for revenge.
"Mega-death lasers have been aimed," a minion said happily.
"Excellent," said Bastet. "Fire."
"Firing now," said the minion. "Uhm..."
"Uhm?" said Bastet.
"The mega-death lasers appear to have gone off-line."
"How is this possible? My pyramid is flawless."
"Could be. But your computer security isn't."
Bastet looked up sharply. Seven schoolgirls carrying firearms had just entered the control room.
"Where's Amy?" said one of the schoolgirls.
"Who?" said Bastet.
"OK, no more Miss Nice Gal."
"Oh yes, very subtle."
And then the room filled with smoke and gunshots. Bastet left her throne quickly. She was certain her loyal minions would be able to stop the intruders, but just to be sure...
Bastet hurried down the corridors, towards the door marked 'escape pods'. She ran into the chamber, fumbled in the dark at the hatch of the nearest pod and then looked up when the lights went on.
"Ye super villain types're all the same, ain't ya?"
"Running vor ze nearest ezcape. 'ow predictable."
Bastet looked around wildly. Two guns were aimed at her. In a situation like that, the two persons holding them were a mere courtesy detail.
"Now y'all go along quietly now, ye hear?"
And then keeled over when the bullet hit.
"Damn pea-shooter," said Mary-Ann. "Why'd they have to go give us non-lethal weaponry? What the hell is the point o' that?"
"Ah zuppose it'd be easier to make an arrest vat with ze suspect not dying," said Dominique.
"Yeah, and then the damn judge declares 'em insane and off they go again."
"Keeps us employed, anyvay," said Dominique.
Mary-Ann fished around in her uniform and produced a cigarette. A further search, however, didn't produce a lighter.
"I don't suppose you..."
Dominique held up a lighter. Mary-Ann inhaled gratefully.
"Damn strange world, really, when ye think about it."
"Oui," said Dominique.
"Well, that was a surprisingly pleasant display of international co-operation," said Stephanie.
"Yeah, right," said Max.
"I never would have expected you to be able to take on one of Bastet's minions using only your your left pinkie."
"That was only because everything else was busy throttling."
"Something wrong?" Stephanie asked.
"The brig was empty," said Max. "And we've got reason to believe our teammate was captured by Bastet."
"Ah," said Stephanie. "I see."
"Right," said Max.
With wide, surprised eyes, Max saw Amy come skipping up the corridor. Actually, she was just walking, but something about her suggested skipping.
"Hello, hello, look at that glow," Maria muttered to herself.
"Amy," said Max. "Good to see you."
Amy smiled as if she didn't have a care in the world. "Hey Max. Won't you introduce me to your friends?"
"Sure, whatever," said Max. "But first, could you please tell us why you're holding hands with Lucy Diamond?"
Amy looked at Lucy. To Max, the light that started shining in Amy's eyes was a lot scarier than if she'd have two dozen mega-death lasers aimed right at her.
"Right. Guys, I've got something to tell you," said Amy. "This is Lucy... my girlfriend."