Carmen honestly hadn't meant to take the Blue Box, she'd been trying to not steal things for awhile. She'd found it sitting on the street corner and gone to inspect it. She had been attempting to not steal things for awhile. After all, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had helped her get past her slight compulsion towards leaving clues behind her and she was attempting to repay them by staying on the straight and narrow. But the Blue Box had called to her and she'd just gone to look. She hadn't even taken her gloves off.
Except there had been a burst of light and an image she tries not to remember. A large, glowing eye, filled with hate, that seemed to be laughing at her. Just thinking about it gave her cold sweats. Whatever had happened though had done something to her, maybe unhinged her in time. All she knew was that her abilities were no longer under her control and everywhere she went more and more things ended up in her pockets. Things she didn't want, things that had no value and weren't anything close to what she would normally have stolen. If she was still stealing.
The auditorium of people watching the Battle of the Bands was perhaps the most confusing of the items that ended up in her pockets. Items she couldn't let go no matter how hard she tried. Her pockets wouldn't empty and her gloves did nothing to stop the acquisition of items. She had no idea how long she bounced through time before they found her.
It was a mismatched group that finally caught her outside the strange, dark, Addams house. The makeup of the group suggested they were part of the League, but not any League she had ever known. The older women had 'federal agent' written all over her, whereas the the younger said 'disaffected youth' without even opening her mouth. The younger man had a suggestion of extreme confidence that belied his age. The older man was the last out of the phone booth they arrived in and also gave off the appearance of federal agent, but in a more relaxed way than she had ever encountered before. He was also incredibly angry.
He marched towards her and looked ready to grab her before he stopped a few feet away, “Dana thinks we need your help. I don't think she's wrong, but I need to know why you took them.”
Carmen let her hat cover her face to hide her confusion and fear, “Took who?”
“Bill and Ted!” He made a move to grab her, but she quickly moved back a few steps. She didn't know what would happen if she touched a person outside of a building and she wasn't particularly inclined to find out. “They were inside the auditorium.”
“Auditorium?” Carmen had only taken one auditorium in the recent past, “The Battle of the Bands?”
“Yes!” The older woman stepped forward and whispered something in his ear without taking her eyes off of Carmen. He visibly pulled himself together and moved away, back towards the phone booth.
“I didn't mean to,” Carmen said. If they were League, then perhaps they could figure out what was wrong with her and help stop it. “I can't control it anymore. Anything I touch gets taken, not even my gloves are helping anymore.”
Finally the younger two stepped forward and the girl asked, “Can't control what?”
“You're League, aren't you?” Carmen was sure her file at the League had a full rundown of her powers.
“Yes,” the older women responded, “but we were gathered somewhat hastily and without a lot of time to prepare. I only know you by reputation.”
Which meant the older woman was likely the Dana the other man had mentioned. “It's how my abilities work. Or worked.”
It was a longer explanation that she wanted, but they all seemed to accept it. And the older man, who introduced himself as Rufus, even pulled out some devices to study what he called her chrono field. “I think I can fix what's wrong, but you'll be stuck in whatever time we're in when I do it. I think this is what's also affecting your abilities as well.”
“So once you fix it I'll be able to empty my pockets?” Once again Carmen was glad of the hat that kept them from seeing her relief. She had a reputation to maintain as an enigmatic figure.
“So we bring her back to 1996, fix her, and stop the invasion?” The younger girl, Nancy, attempted to look bored by the events around her, but Carmen could see right through her.
“Yeah,” Rufus said before walking off.
Carmen looked at Dana and tilted her head in question. Dana grimaced and shrugged her shoulders, “Bill and Ted apparently belong in 1991. I'm not sure why he's so concerned about them though.”
“I don't know why he's so concerned. 1996 is so much better than 1991,” Zack, the younger of the two men, said as he grinned suggestively at Carmen. She would've slapped him if she wasn't afraid of what would happen.
The rest of what Nancy said finally caught up to her though, “Invasion?”
“Our turn to explain,” Dana said and gestured towards the phone booth. “I'll tell you everything on the way.”
Carmen kept her hands stuffed firmly in her pockets during the trip as she listened to why they'd come looking for her in the first place. “Parasitic aliens are invading and the group that's supposed to fight them off disappeared?”
Everyone looked at least mildly embarrassed by the circumstances. Carmen shook her head and tried not to think of a small space ship in a destroyed grocery store she'd appeared next to briefly. She hadn't meant to touch it, but she'd tripped on the spilled cans. “What's the plan?”
“You steal the mothership and we hold it for ransom while we negotiate the aliens' surrender,” Dana replied promptly. “These Yeerks can't live for long without special nutrients found only on the ship.”
“The ship is in space?” Carmen asked even though she knew the answer. “We're going to have a small problem. If you can fix me I'll only be able to grab it with my bare hand. Even now I still need to be able to touch the thing.”
She didn't need to elaborate as they all realized the problem with that. They remained quiet as the phone booth landed in the woods.
They were on a hill and Carmen could see a large city in the distance, not one she could put a name to, but she figured a lot changes over the years. It was Nancy who started laughing as Rufus started pulling out more machines and carefully attaching them to Carmen. “I think I know how we're going to do this.”
The plan was insane. Carmen had done some ridiculous things in her life, but this was definitely at the top of the list. Dana stayed behind to manage the reintegration of the various people and items Carmen had inadvertently stolen. Whatever Rufus had done had fixed her and allowed her to empty her pockets. It would be a few hours before anyone in the buildings woke up and started to freak out about being in the wrong time so at least Dana had some time to come up with a story.
They all avoided looking at the space ship sitting on the grass next to the auditorium.
The plan was deceptively simple. Nancy would create a bubble of air that would extend around the phone booth and drop it, starting with the area around Carmen's hand. Once it was down, Zack would then freeze time, pull them all into the phone booth and restart it once he was sure the doors were closed. Theoretically, the mothership should still be transported directly into Carmen's coat pocket and they would go back to Earth and arrange the Yeerks' surrender.
The plan relied on timing, though, and the spell Nancy was using would be too complicated to try more than one or two times. They'd have to go without any trial runs. It was nerve wracking, but Carmen had stolen the Amazon river and the Mississippi; she could handle one alien mothership.
Everything went off surprisingly well. Zack said that it had been a bit harder than expected to move her back inside the phone booth without falling out himself, but he'd managed it. Nancy had just about passed out once they landed back on Earth, but she said that it was about what she had been expecting. Once they landed, Rufus had rushed towards the auditorium to see how his Bill and Ted were fairing. Carmen had then left Nancy in Zack's hands and gone over to Dana.
She was standing next to an oddly dressed group of pre-teens holding a hawk and standing protectively in front of what Carmen could only assume was some sort of alien horse creature. Although, it had hands, so she really wasn't sure. She nodded towards the group, “Our missing fighters?”
Dana nodded and they shared a look of concern and relief that these children no longer had to fight an entire invasion alone. “You have it?”
“Safe and secure,” Carmen patted her right hand pocket and continued to study the group from beneath the brim of her hat.
They seemed unsure of what exactly to do and shifted uneasily before one of them stepped forward, “You really have the Yeerk mothership in your coat pocket?”
She smiled at them, going for her most enigmatic look possible, “Now we just need to figure out how to negotiate a surrender.”
They nodded back looking stunned and she couldn't blame them really. It must be hard to suddenly find yourself without a war to fight. Even when you were much too young to be fighting the war in the first place. The same boy swallowed nervously and gestured towards the alien, “Ax has some ideas about contacting his people now that we don't need to worry about the Yeerks finding out.”
“Get on it then,” Dana said. The group seemed to be relieved that they weren't trying to take control of everything from them, but Carmen figured Dana was smart enough to know that some things were left in the hands of those most familiar to them.
They watched them walk off before Dana turned to her, “Will you be sticking around? After?”
Carmen hadn't thought about it. She'd never been much of a team player, but she liked working with these people. She'd have to think about it. Instead of answering, she smiled back.