"Hey, Candace. Whatcha doing?"
Candace squinted into the lab, trying to make out Isabella underneath the huge transport cart. Spare parts and tools were sprawling around the work area, but everything looked neat nonetheless. Behind her, the big computer monitor seemed to be running some kind of diagnostics.
"Oh, you know," Candace tipped back on her heels and shrugged expansively. "Just waiting to get a call."
Isabella briefly peeked out from under her invention and pushed her welding mask back to spare Candace a look. "Yeah. You can help me tighten screws if you want. Or, the functioning carts need their wheels oiled!"
"Um, no, that's okay, I--"
Just then the floor opened up beneath Candace. She hurtled through a narrow tube at full speed downwards and landed with a plop in the office chair in front of the briefing monitor. The live feed turned on, but the screen view was empty.
"Ah, Agent C," said the old familiar voice. "We have an assignment for you of the utmost importance. The nefarious Vanessa Doofenschmirtz is up to... something... We think. We need you to find out what it is and stop her."
Candace popped right out of the chair, barely suppressing a fist pump. "Right away, Major! You can count on me. She won't get away this time." She was already running towards the wardrobe to get her cape.
"Oh, and Candace?" the Major called after her. "Wear an extra layer. It's a little chilly out today."
Candace skidded to a halt and glanced back over her shoulder at the face that had appeared, frowning, on the screen. "Geez, mom!"
♫Doofenschmirtz Evil Incorporated♫
Candace landed smoothly in the middle of the floor and crouched for a moment to get her bearings. She stood up with a victorious flourish. ""Dr. Vanessa Doofenschmirtz! Prepare to meet your match. I-- oof." Suddenly she was dangling from the ceiling, bundled tightly in a net.
Vanessa was polishing her latest infernal contraption and pretending like she was hardly paying attention. "Sorry, Agent C. You snooze, you get booby trapped," she said over her shoulder.
The machine she was fussing over was rounded in pleasantly smooth curves and gleamed dully chrome.
Candace struggled against the netting. "Urgh, just you wait till I get out of this net, and I'll--"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now watch." Vanessa gestured at the machine like a presenter at a car show. "This is my Ultimate Freeze Ray 3000. With this machine, I can cover the whole tri-state area in three feet of snow simply by pulling this lever. Vacationing families everywhere will be prevented from frolicking on the beach or throwing frisbees in the park. It will be quiet and gloomy and much less cheerful, which will -- oddly enough -- make me much more cheerful."
Candace stopped struggling out of sheer bafflement. "Really, this is your nefarious plan?"
Vanessa glanced up at her. Her dark hair gleamed like the chrome in the lighting of the lab. "Yeah? You don't like it?" She took a few steps away from the machine. "I tried writing a song about it, but the bridge just wouldn’t come together for me. I don't know, maybe it would've seemed more evil if there was a song..."
"Well, I think the plan just lacks a little -- oomph, you know?" Candace considered the question. She was starting to lose sensation in her extremities. The swinging motion of the trap made her slightly dizzy. "I mean, it's certainly not as evil as your nefarious puppy-stealing scheme or as sophisticated as the time you turned City Hall into a palace and crowned yourself empress..."
"You liked that?" Vanessa glanced up again, something akin to a smile -- an evil smile -- curling at the corner of her lips.
Candace squirmed uncomfortably. "I thought you looked particularly evil with a crown," she shrugged.
"I do look great wearing a crown," Vanessa conceded.
They were both quiet.
Candace tried not to think about the fur lined cape Vanessa had worn with her crown. Beneath her, Vanessa seemed to be likewise lost in thought. Then she shook herself. "Anyway. Agent C, prepare to watch the whole city be instantly covered in snow!" She reached towards the lever.
Candace broke through the net. She tugged her small pocket knife away on her way down and landed square on top of Vanessa, who went down with an "Oof!" She placed a foot firmly on Vanessa to keep her still.
"I'm sorry, Dr. D., but I can't allow you to ruin my younger brothers' summer vacation. They're building a super tall sandcastle in the back yard today."
Vanessa squirmed underneath Candace's boot. "Rats! Don't push the red Self-Destruct button!" She strained feebly for the Freeze Ray machine.
Candace glanced over. "You mean... this one?" She let her finger hover over the button for a few seconds, basking in the feeling of sweet victory. Vanessa groaned theatrically. Candace pushed the button.
The machine gave a high whining sound and began to emit a weird chugging vibration that spread outwards in the room. It rumbled like an engine, setting the air moving, spreading upwards and outwards until Candace could feel it in her toes and teeth.
"Muahahaha, bested again, Agent C!" Vanessa gave a delighted, evil laugh. "That was the back-up button, designed to do exactly the same as the lever. Enjoy the snow show."
Outside the window, tiny snow flakes were already beginning to fall.
Candace felt the blood rise to her cheeks, her brows drawing together. She fisted her hands at her side and glared down at Vanessa. "Oh, you big evil-- One of these days I swear I'll manage to foil your evil plan, so help me--"
"So, um Candace?" Vanessa interrupted her, glancing at the floor some distance from her head and reaching up to fiddle with Candace's boot. "Since we're kind of snowed in, do you want to hang out a while? I've invented a new Hot Cocoa Crafter 5000. It makes its own marshmallows and everything."
Candace was struck by the sheer brilliancy of Vanessa's plan. "Ooh, that sounds delicious. Yeah, I totally have some time before I have to try to catch you again." She stepped aside to let her arch nemesis up.
"Awesome." Vanessa bounced to her feet. "Regular cocoa or diet?"
Candace snorted. "Regular, of course!"