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Operation: Y.E.S.

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JULY

 

            A shoebox sails out to sea on a cool July afternoon as sadness blows in from the Pacific Ocean into Arcadia Bay.

            Alice the Rabbit is dead. Natural causes: the killer of the eight-year old pet.

            Solemnly standing by the shores as waves gently crash along the land are Kate Marsh and Victoria Chase. 

            And behind them are Kate’s parents, Richard and Sandra, here at this ceremony to provide support to their daughter and her kinda-wife in this time of tragedy. Rich walks forward and puts a hand on Kate’s shoulder. He somberly tells her, “Katie, we’re so sorry about this happening to Alice.”

            Kate nods her head as she and Victoria hold hands. “Thank you, Dad. It’s just, she was so young.”

            Richard shrugs his shoulders tiredly. “Well, rabbits aren’t known for their longevity. But she was a darn good rabbit, wasn’t she?”

            Kate nods her head as Victoria wipes tears from her cheeks. “She was.”

            Richard gives her one of his endearing dad grins. He adds, with a pointed finger, “And that’s what matters. She was good to you, in the time she had. And she’ll always be with you.”

            Sandra walks up to Kate and rubs her back, telling her, “Always.”

            Victoria looks at Kate and kisses her forehead: “You were the best bunny mom I’d ever seen. I’m proud of you. And so is Alice. Wherever she is.” She tells the Marshes, “Let’s go grab something to eat.”

            Kate asks her, “Two Whales?”


 

            “One week was all she had after Dolly took her.” Kate sighs as she eats a french fry dipped in mustard.

            Victoria crosses her arms as she looks out at the Bay. Angry - not at Kate or her parents, but at the evil out there in the world. The evil who hurt Kate in kidnapping Alice: “She surely didn’t kill her. But still, that sick bitch took her for just a few moments. Glad Dolly’s where she belongs now…” Kate holds her hand to calm her down and bring her back to her senses. Victoria puts a palm on her temple and says sheepishly to the table, “I- um, sorry.”

            Rich takes a bite of his cheeseburger and washes it down with a mug of milk. He tells her, “It’s alright.”

            Victoria looks at Kate’s hand and eases up. Kate continues, “She also didn’t hurt her. That much was clear. But I know that Alice is in a better place now.”

            Victoria cuts a square into her waffles and takes a bite of it, stating with her mouth full, “Amen.”

            Richard looks at the two and says, “So, to make things lighter, congrats on the proposal.”

            Victoria nods her head and swallows her waffles. “Ah, yes. Just what I wanted to talk to you about. Thank you." 

            Richard asks, gulping his milk, "When's the wedding?"

            Victoria laughs a bit, somewhat nervously. She tells him. "We weren't really planning one, all things considered. Not a lot of time. We were just gonna live together and, I dunno, work."

            Richard puts down his milk and proclaims to them, "You're not dying, neither of you. What's the matter?"

            Kate tells him, "That whole 'armageddon' thing, remember?"

            Richard shrugs his shoulders, looks to his wife, and then to Kate and Victoria. "So? Uncle Lou had his wedding on New Years 2000 and I don’t remember any satellites crashing down on us. The Lord didn’t whisk me away or anyone else. A big tsunami didn’t blow into town.”

            Kate laughs and tells him, "You know what I mean."

            Richard nods his head. “I do. So don’t let this ‘end of days’ malarkey get in the way of love. Besides, aren’t you two superheroes?”

            Victoria looks around as Kate shushes him quickly, adding, “Kinda, but that’s a secret.”

            Richard covers his mouth and says, “Oops. Sorry. But yeah, just beat down this bad guy - Bethlehem, or whatever - and get to the church on time, you know?”

            Victoria adds, “We can try. He seems tough though. He’s an evil tattoo.”

            Richard raises one of his eyebrows and tells her, “Ever heard of laser tattoo removal?”

            “I… Maybe that could work?” Victoria taps her chin with her finger before turning to Kate and asking, “Katie, what’s your take on lasers?”

            “I can try and make them.”

            Victoria perks up and smiles at her, telling her, “Good! Then we do that next time Bedlam shows his ugly… skull.” She extends a hand to Richard: “You have my word, Rich. We won’t let evil get in the way of our marriage…” Richard shakes her hand and she adds, “ God, that sounds weird saying out loud. How’s November sounding? A lot of time to plan.”

            Richard smiles at the two girls and tells them, “It can most certainly work.”


 

            “All it needs is a little bit of reconfiguring for going back. Worst thing you want is a goddamn black hole or something.” A scalpel stabs into a wormhole watch as several microscopic tendrils toy with its inner workings. “Let’s just hope 2039 or whenever doesn’t have one, thanks to Iris’ and his dumb ‘Patriots-AI’ ass.”

            Inside an open prison cell with photographs on a wall next to a bed, Dr. Wanda Court snickers in agreement as she retracts the tiny tendrils into her index finger. With oven mitts on her hands and goggles on her eyes, the Other Max grabs the watch and fiddles with the hands on its face.

            Suddenly, in steps Sean Prescott, financier of the Agency of Metahuman Containment. He asks of the two women, “How are my two leading mad scientists doing tonight?”

            Court says to him, “Just phenomenal, Mister Prescott!”

            The Other Max adds, “Yes. Phenomenal, indeed.”

            Sean snaps his fingers at the girls and tells them, “That’s what I like to hear!” He walks over to the Other Max and looks at the wormhole watch, nodding in approval as a low hum emanates from it.

            Court asks him, “What’s up with the Enforcers?”

            Sean explains as he paces around the cell, “Jumper’s been on the case for the past little while. No new reports… Of course, aside from… her other handing Teddy over to the FBI on a silver platter. But trust me, we’ll get all those bastards in due time. And we’ll see what makes them tick.”

            The menacing Other Max looks at the watch as it begins ticking past twelve o’clock sharp. She responds, “Neat.”


 

AUGUST

 

            Tick tock tick tock .

            As the clock ticks down, Victoria and Kate lie in bed together, holding and kissing one another. Victoria says to Kate, “Just a few seconds to six. Then, it’s cake time.”

            Victoria plops a kiss on Kate' neck, prompting her to ask, “Mm. Is it though?”

            With a laugh, Victoria says, “Of course, Katie. It’s obviously my birthday. Sucks that everyone else couldn’t make it. Just us, my parents, and Auntie Mia. Ah, she's the best Auntie.”

            "Better than mine.” Kate hugs Victoria, telling her, “But all that matters is that you're here. And I'm here."

            “True. But, like, what is everyone doing today, of all days, that makes them all so busy?”

            “Working. Maybe hunting down those Enforcers.”

            “Mayb-” An alarm on Kate's phone goes off: Doodele-doo-da-le-doot-doot . Doodele-doo-da-le-doot-doot . Victoria shoots her a joyful grin and says, “Cake time.”

            “Of course.” The two step out of bed, letting the blanket that was covering them fall onto the mattress, and hold hands while looking into each other’s eyes. Kate says, “Let’s cover your eyes”, and she raises her hands up to Victoria’s cheeks, playfully pinching them.

            She places her hands over Victoria’s eyes and begins leading her out of her bedroom. “Oh god, is someone gonna throw a yoga ball at my head?”

            Down the hallway. “Here’s a hint: No.”

            Just outside of the living room. “Good.”

            Walking into the living room, Kate moves her hands away from Victoria’s eyes.

“SURPRIIIIISE!”

            Standing in the living room are Victoria’s parents, her aunt Mia, Max Caulfield and Chloe Price, Rachel and Rose Amber, Joyce, David and little Clarence W. Price, Taylor Christensen and Courtney Wagner, Sean, Esteban and both Daniel Diazes, Kate's sisters and her parents, K’mai, Master Godho, Sani, and Naton. They are standing in front of a big cake with red, white and gray frosting.

            Victoria's eyes become filled with tears, happy tears, for all the happy people around her. She yelps gleefully, “OHMYGODDDD!”

            From there, everyone sings for her as Kate leads her closer to the cake:

            “ Happy biiiirthday - congratulaaaations!

Happy biiiirthday - with salutaaaations!

Happy biiiirthday - and may your skies stay bluuuue

Happy biiiirthday - to yoooou!

            Victoria blows out the nineteen candles on her birthday cake, much to the applause of the many friends and family around her. Kate kisses her on the cheek as Chloe pats her on the shoulder.

            Chloe asks, with that devilish grin of hers, “What’d ya wish for?”

            Victoria holds back a laugh as she tells her with a smirk, “Can’t say it, Chloe, or it won’t come true.”

            Chloe shrugs. “Fair enough.”

            Max drags Rachel over to the other three girls and brings them all together as a small swarm of blue butterflies hold a polaroid camera in front of the girls. She tells her friends, “Okay, everyone, get in the picture!” As the five bunch together, Max holds Chloe’s hand and Kate loops an arm around Victoria’s waist. Max tells the group, “Smile!” And they do as a butterfly descends onto the button.

             SNAP schooom . The butterflies hand the camera to Max and she takes the photograph out of the camera to shake it, as she usually does.

            Colin Chase, Victoria’s father, confusedly asks, “Wha- why shake it?”

            Max looks at him and shrugs, telling him jovially, “It’s cool.”

            He looks at her with squinted eyes. “It shakes up the image, doesn’t it?”

            Victoria steps forward and puts a hand on his shoulder before telling him, "Trust her, Dad. She knows what she’s doing."

            Max hands the photograph to Victoria and the two Chases look at it. Turns out it wouldn’t be shaken up. Colin hums as he observes the image. “It’s very nice.”

            Max nods her head and says, “Thank you”, before walking over to Chloe.

            Onto the cake cutting. Victoria’s mother, Zara Chase, cuts a slice for her daughter and puts it on a plate. "Here's your slice, sweetie."

            Victoria nods her head as she takes the plate and says, "Thanks." She takes a bite of the cake and seems to enjoy it.

            Zara cuts another slice and puts it on a plate for Kate. "And here is yours."

            Kate takes the plate while graciously saying, “Thank you” and she walks over to Victoria as she takes a seat on the living room couch.

            Chloe walks forward with a baby carrier now attached to her chest. Seated in it is her baby half-brother, Clarence, born just two weeks prior. "How about some for the other August folks?"

            Sean Diaz walks forward with a smile, stating, "I could go for some cake."

            Zara cuts a slice for him and puts it on a plate. She hands it to Sean but it is swiftly spirited away. Sean turns to glare at his two brothers and annoyedly exclaims, "Daniel… s!" Zara gives him another slice and he tells her, "Thank you” as he walks over to the young monk K’mai and the two Daniel Diazes eating his original slice.

            Zara cuts a slice for Chloe, telling her cautiously, “Give this one to the baby.”

            “Of course.” Chloe detects some tension within Victoria’s mother, considering her history with her daughter. To ease these feelings up, Chloe immediately cuts a small piece and gives it to Clarence to eat. "Chow down, little guy." Clarence awkwardly eats the piece of cake and clearly wants more, prompting a chuckle from Chloe.

            Max walks over and says, “You’re doing great, deary.”

            Chloe giggles. “Hey, he’s not ours.” She rubs Clarence’s head softly and says, “Guess he can be close enough though. Think he'll be like me?"

           A wide grin crosses Max’s face and she tells her, "There will never be someone else like you."

            Zara walks around the living room to observe the party. Everything is going good. She grabs a plate of cake for herself and takes a bite. She walks over to Victoria and says, “Vic, this stuff is delicious! Where’d you say you got it from?”

            “Some bakery on Mars that the Marauders are running.” Victoria adds with a laugh, “Yes. There’s life on Mars now.” Zara nods along as she viciously tears into her slice of cake.

            Colin looks at it and asks, “Is it… non-allergenic?”

            “I think so.” Victoria looks away as a snarky smile grows on her face. “Though it’s got little Xenomorph eggs baked into it.” Both of her parents look at her in confusion, prompting her to tell them, “I’m kidding, obviously!”

            Zara shrugs and gets back to her feast. Colin lets out a bored laugh and adds, “We figured.”

            Kate walks over to gently hold Victoria by her waist, and asks, “So how’s November sounding? For the wedding?”

            Colin tells her, “It sounds perfectly. Where are you guys looking to hold it?”

            “There’s this church that Kate’s family always goes to. We’ll go there.” The two girls smile at each other, blushing as they do so.

            Victoria’s parents beam at this affection, adding, “Perfect… How about Thanksgiving Day? I don’t think we’re too busy then. What do you think? Too tacky or what?”


 

            “It feels like a warm hug!” The Other Max hugs a black blazer - one of Jefferson’s - as Dr. Court steps around the containment cell. “I guess that’s just the vibe he always gave off.”

            Looking at Max’s wall of photographs, Court tells her, “I wouldn’t call that creepy fuck ‘warm’ if he paid me a thousand dollars. Glad he’s dead.”

            The Other Max squints at Court, offended: “To appreciate art is to appreciate the past. And I always appreciated his lessons.”

            The Other Max looks at her wall of photographs. Photos of the past. Photos of Max in the Dark Room. She thinks back to one of his lessons: “ You can’t just throw a few subjects around and expect a cohesive style or theme. ” She says to the wall, “RIP, Jefferson” before grabbing the photos off the wall and dropping them onto her bed.

            “This is gonna blow some minds.” The Other Max reaches into a bucket full of sewing needles with one hand as she opens up the jacket with her other.

            “Piss people off.” She sews one photograph - a scared Max glaring at Jefferson’s camera with pink lights illuminating the Dark Room - into the jacket.

            “The right people.” Another photograph - Max and Chloe discovering the body of Rachel Amber in the Junkyard. She sews it into the jacket too.

            “People who-” A photograph of Kate in the Dark Room. She freezes up and blinks. “No.” She puts the photograph aside and grabs another photograph of Max, lying on the floor of the Dark Room.

            “People who will know.” Max picks up the jacket and tries it on. A surprisingly comfortable fit. As she tugs on it, she tells herself, “Just gotta take a chance…” She puts the camera helmet on her head. “ Always take the shot.


 

SEPTEMBER

 

             BANG . A bullet enters the forehead of a print-out of Nathan Prescott’s sneering, smiling, smug face.

            Chloe jumps up in the air at the sound of the shot and high-fives Victoria, telling her, “Nice one!”

            Victoria returns the high-five and says, “Thanks.” She aims the gun at a picture of Damon Merrick and pulls the trigger on it with a BANG . It hits the print-out in the cheek, much to Chloe’s delight.

            Sitting on a couch, meditating, with Naton next to him, K’mai states, “They’re so much louder here than in the games we play!”

            Victoria turns to him and says, “Right?” Still aiming her gun at the targets, she pulls the trigger with a BANG . Except she isn’t aiming at the targets; she’s aiming at a rusty barrel. The bullet ricochets around the Junkyard with a PING PANG PENG before flying into the sky.

            Chloe grabs Victoria’s gun and smacks her upside the head: “Dude, watch it when you’re shooting!”

            Victoria freezes as she realizes just what could’ve happened. Warmly and apologetically, she says, “Sorry…” She looks at Naton and K’mai, both freaked out a little bit, and tells them nervously, “Master Godho should really look into training you guys on this stuff.” Victoria sighs. “Okay, bad time to joke. I’m sorry.”


 

            Coldly yet patiently, Bedlam tells his minion, “All is forgiven, Tangi…”

            Standing before a blackboard with maps of Arcadia Bay, Culmination, Beaver Creek and the Agency’s Missouri Headquarters is the evil tattoo… thing himself: Bedlam. He is armed with a small branch, which he is hitting the board with as he makes his points. “Back to the plan. We will have two teams. One for Independence. And one for Arcadia…”

            Bedlam snaps his fingers next to his temple, adding, “Alas, I am getting ahead of myself. We need to focus on getting our supplies… for the party.”


 

OCTOBER

 

            A brisk breeze flows through Kate’s apartment as Max and Chloe walk in, dressed as Supergirl and Batgirl. Sitting inside at a circular table are Joyce, Rose, Rachel, Zara, Sandra, Victoria and Kate. The latter two are wearing devil horns and a golden halo, respectively.

            Max holds up a paper bag and proclaims to her friends, “We had to beat down a Vampire-Nazi Max for this thing!” Everybody gives her a “Woo” collectively.

            Kate jokingly asks while holding her rosary out to Max, “No bites?”

            Max howls into the sky before laughing and telling her, “Nada! But these fangs are good for one thing.” She pulls out a sharp fang from her hoodie and stabs it into the cork of the bottle in the bag. POP opens the green bottle of Mellow Moscato wine as mist pours out from it. “You’re okay with this.”

            As everyone claps for her, Victoria asks, “Pass it along, Max!” She extends a hand to take the bottle and Max hands it to her. She pours the red into two cups - one for herself and one for Kate. She hands the second cup to her fiance and says with a smile, “Here’s to us, Katie! And here’s to all of you guys!”

            The two toast their glasses and down their drinks happily. A buzz overcomes them both and Kate remarks gleefully, “Oh my God. Just like old times.”

            Both Kate and Victoria fall over onto the table with a soft slam. Out like lights.

            Chloe looks at the two, looks around, pokes Victoria’s shoulder, and asks of them, “Guys?”


 

            Blackwell Academy. It’s cool, serene, empty and at peace. Victoria and Kate - dressed in their old Blackwell outfits - step out of the Prescott Dorms as a blue butterfly flutters in front of them and lands on Kate’s nose. Victoria states cautiously, “This isn’t the future. It’s Blackwell…” Another familiar face walks past them: Samuel, the kooky custodian himself. “And also Samuel.”

            Kate waves at him, saying happily, “Hi, Samuel!”

            Samuel smiles at them as a squirrel scuttles into the Arcadia Bay wilderness. “Hello, graduates. What brings you back to Blackwell?”

            Victoria looks around, frantically seeking an answer off the top of her head. She says one: “Uh… Nostalgia?”

            Samuel nods at this and points, “Ah, good choice of cider. I prefer the Surging Champagne myself.”

            Both Kate and Victoria freeze, confused. Victoria opens her mouth to respond before stopping and trying again with, “I- How do you- Okay?” Samuel nods at them again before grabbing a can of white paint and marching off elsewhere. “Bye.”

            The two lovers walk to a bench where a mallard is honking at a doe. The mallard rushes away into the wilderness too, with the doe following closely behind. Victoria looks at Kate and smiles at her: “It’s so peaceful here. Think it’s post-final-battle-whatever?”

            “It isn’t the future, right?”

            “And yet, it isn’t the past… Or maybe it is?”

            A new voice, from a wily and weird young lady, says, “It’s post. And pre.” The pink Moth - Dolly’s spirit animal - flutters onto Victoria’s shoulder and nibbles at her crimson cashmere sweater. “It’ll all make sense later.”

            Victoria glares at her to meet her “face” - white wings with four gray eyes - and she angrily asks, “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”

            The Moth flutters away from Victoria, still chowing down on a tiny patch of fabric. “Yes. And No. Lots of ‘ands’, but that’s what happens with a topsy-turvy-timeline.” The Moth flies into the air, away from Blackwell but within Arcadia Bay. She tells them, “Be seein’ you soooon!”

            Victoria sighs and crosses her arms. “Well, this just got worse…” She looks at Kate and hugs her, a bit afraid of the future with this new knowledge they have. “Let’s just sit here then ‘til we wake up, boo-thang.”


 

            “Boo!”, yells Tangi, the Happy Clown, as he presses his face against the back window of an SUV.

            Inside the car screams two elderly lovers embracing each other in a makeout session, dressed as skeletons: “AAAAAAAAAAH!”

            Tangi curtsies for them, giddily adding, “And a happy Halloween to you too!” He runs off down the suburban streets of Redding, California to his Enforcer acquaintances. He asks of them as they look into their candy bags - stolen, of course - “What do we got?”

            Damon Merrick runs his hands through his bag and comments what he has: “Some Laffy Taffy, Choco-Crisp up the wahzoo, Hawt Dawg Gummies… Strudels?”

            Elmer grabs these Strudels and glares at them gluttonously. “Can’t complain!”

            Lord Laundry eats a bag of candy corn whole just as a homeless man stares at him in astonishment. Spotting him, he roars a loud “RAAAAWR!”

            The homeless man grimaces at the supervillain. “You don’t scare me!” He pulls a notebook out of his jacket. In it are sketches and sayings scribbled in French. He recites one: “ Quitte cet endroit, Démon, car j'ai nos dieux en moi! Your powers are powerless against our Gods!”

            Elmer looks around and tells the homeless man, while chowing down on a toaster strudel, “I ‘ave da power a’ shpiky ‘air.”

            Suddenly, out of the blue, sirens blare and a police officer yells, “FREEZE!”

            With a gun drawn on them, the Enforcers look at the cop and raise their hands. Tangi remarks, “‘Freeze’. Heh, bud, I’ve been tryin’ to go cold turkey!” Swiftly, he pulls a turkey out of his candy bag. “Give it a try!” He throws the turkey at the cop, causing him to recoil as it begins to tick tock because of the apparent bomb within.

            The Enforcers run to a sports car and hop in. Damon demands, “Start the fuckin’ shit, start the shit!” At the driver’s seat, Elmer revs up the engines and drives off into the night, leaving the cop in the dust. “YEAH!”

            Tangi looks out the window and waves the cop goodbye while yelling, “Byyyyyye!” He ducks back into the car and laughs amongst his friends. He tells them. “You guys rock! Soon though, we will rule.”