The droning beeping was growing steadily louder, and Punk sighed, finally bowing to inevitability and sliding out of bed. She ran a hand through her hair, then stepped over to her in-quarters workstation and hit the comm button. “Punk here.”
The small comm screen lit up, casting a pale glow over her features in the dark room. Dr. Director had long ago become used to the pink-haired woman answering the comm naked, not that she'd ever reacted all that much. The one-eyed woman simply looked at Punk, expression serious, the slightly washed out transmission making the grey touching her temples all the more noticeable.
“We have a lead on Subject One.” Dr. Director glanced down, likely at some files on her desk. “We still don't know how he's tracking our transports, so we're going to try sending you by commercial flight. You need to be there in three hours.”
“Understood,” Punk nodded. “I'll get the team together.”
“I'll have Will waiting in the parking garage with your travel orders.” With that, Dr. Director cut the transmission.
Punk sighed, walking over and flopping back into bed on her back, letting her head rest on the pillow and her eyes closed.
“Mm.” There was a shift at her side, and lips pressing gently to her ear. “Three hours is still pretty good.”
“Nnh. C'mon,” Punk murmured, waving a hand a bit. “I'm not in the mood.”
Babylon sighed, resting her chin on Punk's shoulder. “Yeah, I've noticed you're never in the mood after she calls.”
Punk was silent for a moment, then shrugged. “What can I say? She's a buzzkill.”
“Well that's certainly true enough.” Babs sighed again, resting her head a bit more heavily and draping an arm across Punk.
“… Look, I'm sorry, babe.” Punk sat up. “But we probably do need to get ready and head out, anyway.”
“You're right, I guess.” The redhead propped herself up on her arms, then grinned. “Still… think I could have a chance to find that mood somewhere? Maybe it's hiding in the shower.”
Slowly, Punk grinned. “Sure, it seems to lurk in there often enough.” She slid back out of bed and stood, then bent and scooped Babs up in her arms, making sure to settle the other woman's legs properly. “I think it's probably hiding under the soap.”
“Oh, so it's the thing with the soap today, huh?” Babs snickered, draping her arms around Punk's neck as she was carried into the bathroom.
Punk zipped up the front of her Global Justice jumpsuit and draped her pendant chain over her head, then glanced over to where Babs was transferring herself from her chair to the workstation seat. “Want any help this morning?”
“Nah, I've got it. You go round up the rest of our little crew,” the redhead replied, bending forward to haul her mobility system from its charging station. “I'll be done by the time you pry Summer out.”
“'Kay. Seeya in a bit, babe.” Punk winked, then snagged her jacket and headed out the door.
She pulled the jacket on as she walked, then traded nods with a few of the Global Justice agents who were milling around in the dorms at the moment for whatever reason. Arriving at her first destination, she hit the buzzer then pounded on the door a few times. “C'mon, Mesh, get it together!”
After a minute and some more pounding, the intercom panel above the door beeped softly and came to life. “No one tol’ me we were fockin’ on t'day.”
“Well Subject One is a pain in the ass like that. Now haul your drunk Irish ass out of your bunk and get dressed!”
“Now I be takin’ exception ta tha, tha's a stereotype.”
“Are you Irish?”
“Are you drunk?”
“No! … Hung over.”
“Comment still stands.”
The sigh carried through the intercom. “Aye.”
Heading on further down the corridor, Punk rolled her eyes as the temperature dropped perceptibly and the sound of loud cello music reverberated through the metal walls. The dormitory administrators had been forced to relocate everyone from the surrounding rooms who didn't have a high tolerance for both cold and neo-classical music. Arriving in front of the door with a light sheet of frost over it, Punk hit the buzzer a few times, then started pounding on the door.
After a few more buzzer-presses and knocks, the music finally stopped, but there was no response. Rolling her eyes, Punk keyed the door and let it slide open.
The inside of the room looked like it had been dropped into the center of Antarctica. Every single surface was covered with a fairly thick sheet of ice, glittering and sleek, smooth in some places and jagged in others. The far wall was covered most thickly, with a single large, somewhat more opaque ice crystal in the center.
Her sigh misting in the air, Punk walked over and rapped lightly on the crystal with her knuckles. “C'mon, Summer, we've got work to do.”
The front of the crystal slowly began to melt, then sluiced away into a number of glittering icicles, Summer Kolde leaning her naked upper body forward out of the impression the melting had formed, her arms and her legs still imbedded in the ice. Her pale skin glistened wetly for a moment before frosting over in a delicate, glittering pattern.
“What is it this time?” she asked, brightly enough considering that most people would have been miserably mostly-dead in her position.
“The usual, ‘nother lead on Subject One.” Punk raised her eyebrows and ran her gaze up and down the teenager's slim torso and the glittering frost on the slight rises of her breasts. “You know, kid, you get weirder all the time.”
Summer grinned wolfishly. “Yeah, I know.”
Punk grinned back and ruffled the younger woman's short platinum hair. “Well, thaw yourself out and get into uniform.”
All of her team alerted, Punk turned and headed towards the exit of the dormitory.
After checking in with the quartermaster and making sure all her team's equipment was being properly handled and would be loaded on the plane, Punk headed for the elevator, hitting the button for the bridge level that would take her over to the vehicle area.
When the doors slid open, they revealed Dr. Director standing to one side of the elevator, hands clasped behind her back, gaze forward. Punk hesitated for just a moment, then stepped inside and turned to face the door as well.
The elevator beeped quietly, registering her voice on its authorized users list and setting the elevator car back into motion.
The two were silent for several moments, before Dr. Director inclined her head upwards a little, still not actually looking at Punk.
“Your team is ready?”
“Yeah. Summer's getting harder to roust than Mesh.” Punk folded her arms over her chest and drummed her fingers on her arm. “… I swear that kid's getting weirder.”
“Mm.” Dr. Director was silent again for a bit, before continuing. “Has Babylon had any further leads?”
Punk shook her head, still looking forward as well. “Nothing since that vague Shego-spotting in Hawaii last year. For all we know they're both still on a tour of the underground vacation resorts.”
Punk glanced down, examining the toes of her standard-issue boots. “Still, you'd figure someone with green skin would turn up more often. The redhead blending in I can understand, but… y'know.”
Dr. Director gave a small nod in response.
“Oh. She did say she'd tracked down Monkey Fist's latest hideout. Wildlife preserve in Africa.”
Dr. Director inclined her head a little again. “… I'll have someone start drawing up mission feasibility specs, if we have the clearance to go in.”
The elevator slowed and dinged, announcing “Bridge level” before the doors slid open. Punk hesitated again, before simply walking out of the elevator without another word. Behind her, the doors slid closed without so much as a shift in position from its remaining occupant.
-End Part Thirteen