The blades of a Capsule Corporation helicopter loudly chopped through the dry night air of the Diablo Desert, an ornipther flying on a parallel path. Below, Kim Possible drove a motorcycle through the desert, ahead of the bouncing, lurching jeep driven by Tights and occupied by Twilight Sparkle and Sonata Dusk. A constant stream of chatter between the radios in all the vehicles could barely be heard over the noise of the engines.
"He's headed back toward Son-kun's place! But why...?"
"There's not much out that way, is there? I mean, I know East District is a pretty big place, but..."
"Guys? Something's happ—THEY'RE TURNING AROUND!"
The four vehicles slowed and widened their formation as the airship turned. The muzzles of the miniguns flashed as hailfire tracked the two flying vehicles.
"Why are they shooting at us WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING AT US?!" Ron wailed as Jaco swerved the helicopter to evade the gunfire.
"I don't know, but I'm not gonna stand for it!" Tights snapped into her radio. "Sonata, take the wheel!"
"Uhh...sure!" Sonata said, blinking. The jeep started to swerve as Tights levered herself out of the driver's seat and hopped up onto the rollbar; Sonata quickly jumped into the driver's seat and, with effort, managed to straighten out the jeep. "Uhh, just so you know? I've never driven a car before. Like, ever."
"Just keep us straight for a few minutes," Tights said, bending down and grabbing the strap of her bazooka. She hoisted it onto her shoulder and peered through the scope, which lit up with a targeting reticle.
"ONEESAN! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU—"
"KURAE!" Tights screamed into the night as she fired at the airship. Her shot struck the rudder, causing the ship to judder violently and wobble in the air.
"She's got the right idea!" Roshi said as he tied a safety strap around his waist and leaned out the door of the ornipther, cupping his hands at his side.
"WAIT!" Bulma yelled in alarm. "If you do that, you could blow up the Dragonballs—"
"Dragonballs are practically indestructible, m'dear! Besides, the wreck'll break the fall! KA...ME..."
"Oh shit!" Oolong leaned into the radio. "FIRE IN THE HOLE, EVERYONE!"
The dark night was split apart by a lance of blazing blue ki which struck the port engine of Pilaf's airship. It flipped onto its side and juked violently in the air; a moment later, another grenade fired from the jeep struck the starboard engine, and the dark ship dropped to the desert like a stone.
* * * * *
"UWAAA!" Pilaf cried, flailing his stubby arms as he scrambled about on the tilting, lurching deck in a mad panic. The Dragonballs rolled this way and that; Shuu scrambled to catch them and throw them back into the bag, while Mai ran around with a fire extinguisher. "This can't be happening! My Invincible Albatross is invincible! Shuu! Mai! Do something!"
"There's nothing we can do, Lord Pilaf!" Mai replied. "They got the engines! We're going down!"
"I've gathered the Dragonballs, My Lord!" Shuu reported. Then a third explosion rocked the ship, and he cried out. The bag flew from his grasp and sailed over the railing. Shuu let out a surprised bark, running to the railing and looking out into the dark desert. "Awuu?"
"YOU IDIOT! YOU IMBECILE!" Pilaf yelled. "YOU AAAHHH!" A piece of debris conked him on the head, igniting his hat. He shrieked as he patted the flames, finally pulling the hat off and stamping on it.
Mai had given up on fire control and rushed to the bridge. "The rudder's out, so I can't do much to steer, but if I can get the flaps to level..." She grabbed the yoke and tugged on it with all her might, gritting her teeth. "I think I can...put us down...in one piece...nnnngh!"
The ship lurched, bits flying off as it crashed into the desert, digging a deep furrow in the baked ground as it shuddered to a violent, bone-rattling halt. Once it stopped, Pilaf found himself thrown against the mizzen, panting and gasping. Shuu lay flat on his back on the deck, his tongue lolled out.
Mai emerged from the bridge, strapping a submachine gun to her hip and checking a flashlight. "We need to go," she said. "I've got a skycar, if we can just find the Dragonballs before they get here, we can leave..."
"Yes! Let's do that!" Pilaf said, nodding rapidly. "I'll be damned if I let that obnoxious woman get the better of me yet again!" He frowned. "But my ship—"
"Once you have the Dragonballs you can wish for an entire fleet, but if we don't beat them to it, we'll have nothing, My Lord!" Mai insisted. "Now get up and let's get moving!"
"Ah! R-Right!" Pilaf hopped to his feet and shuffled after Mai, Shuu bringing up the rear. "Wait! I mean! I give the orders! Move out, my minions!"
* * * * *
The helicopter and ornipther landed, their floodlights bathing the desert near the wreck. The bike and jeep ground to a halt nearby. Kim jumped off the bike, tensed for action. Twilight got out of the jeep, her legs wobbling and knocking under her as she swayed and lurched. "Bad...bad ride," she said wheezily. "Bad ride..."
"Whee, that was fun!" Sonata giggled. "Just like a video game! What do we get to blow up next?"
"No more explosions please," Ron said as he walked over. "What's with you people and explosions?"
Tights was busy rooting around in the equipment box strapped to the back of her jeep. Frowning, she pulled something out and tossed it to Bulma, who had just walked up after encapsulating the ornipther. "Here," Tights said offhandedly.
Bulma caught what Tights threw at her, studied it, and frowned. "Wow, it's been a while since I had to use one of these."
"Ack! More guns! Explosions and guns, this place is crazy!" Ron moaned.
"Ron? Chill," Kim ordered. "So, how much of a fight are we expecting here?"
"That depends on what kind of fighting force Pilaf has," Bulma said as she checked the clip on the 9mm pistol she held. "If it's just him and his two goons, then we really only have to worry about how well armed they are."
"They were well armed enough to mug us earlier," Sonata said.
"Yeah, but miniguns aren't exactly portable," Tights noted as she tossed a second handgun to Kim. "Here, you look competent."
"Uhh...thanks," Kim said. "Not really a big fan of guns."
"Take it anyway," Tights said in a clipped tone. "I want to see this little blue bastard piss himself in terror." She pulled an assault rifle out and slung it over her shoulder, then took out several large flashlights.
"Oneesan, since when do you carry around this much firepower? What the hell have you even been doing?"
"It's a dangerous world," Tights said. "An innocent young maiden needs to be able to take care of herself!"
Bulma rolled her eyes. "Right," she drawled.
"Hey!" Sonata whined. "Don't I get a gun?"
Tights shot her a look and tossed a flashlight at her. "YOU get a flashlight," she said. She tossed another one to Twilight, who fumbled it and dropped it. Ron just barely caught the one he was offered, juggling it before flicking it on and waving it around.
"Alright, let's move out," Tights said, taking the lead with her own flashlight, her hand on the strap of her rifle. "Bulma, cover me. You too, red. Old man, have you got another of those freaky blasts in you?"
"I'm good to go," Roshi said.
As they crossed the desert, Bulma and Twilight each kept one eye on their trackers and the other on the path ahead. Bulma clicked the button on her Dragon Radar, frowning. "The Dragonballs have stopped moving," she said. "Wait, no...six of them stopped moving. One's still..." She furrowed her brow. "Moving toward the others..."
"Maybe the Dragonballs went overboard when we blew up their ship?" Tights suggested. "They might've managed to hang onto one but lost the others."
"Probably," Bulma mused. "Anyway, we need to hurry. We can't let them waste that wish!"
* * * * *
"Sire! You're not...puff...gonna believe this...woof! I'm picking up two Dragonballs headed for the bag where the rest of them are!"
"CURSE that foul woman!" Pilaf snarled.
Mai frowned. "Wait...two?" Her brow furrowed. "But...no. I mean, we had one fake, but the rest were real. The Dragon Radar shows them as real..."
"It shows the fake one as real too," Shuu said with a frown. "Don't ask me how she managed that."
"Must be something similar to the box we used to hide the Dragonball that one time," Mai said. She shook her head. "Anyway, we can worry about that later. Odds are at least one of the Dragonballs they still have are real."
"Then we have to get the Dragonballs from them at all costs," Pilaf said. "I will have my wish!"
"YES, LORD PILAF!"
* * * * *
Flashlights jerked and bobbed across the dark, cracked desert landscape as feet pounded across the ground.
"Couldn't...we have stopped...a little closer...to the crash?" Twilight puffed and wheezed out.
"The ship's down but the guns might still work," Tights said. "We couldn't risk being an easy target from closer up."
"Yeah I'm all for being a hard target any day," Ron said.
"The Dragonballs are straight ahead," Bulma said. "I think they must've fallen off the ship!"
The group poured on as much speed as they could muster. After a minute, Jaco threw out a hand. "I see the Dragonballs," he said, his yellow eyes glowing brightly in the night.
Tights' flashlight swept over a sack, from which a shining amber orb had spilled. "Yeah, looks like we got here first," she said. "Come on!"
Shots rang out, forcing them to hold back. Kim reflexively brought up a hand to catch a shuriken inches from her face. The group trained their flashlights on three figures approaching from the opposite direction: the squat blue imp Pilaf, a serious-looking woman with long, dark hair in a military uniform who had a machine gun trained on them, and a short, fat anthropomorphic Shiba Inu in a purple ninja uniform.
"DOGE!" Sonata squealed, a huge, cheery smile on her face. "Very ninja! Much fluffy! Wow!"
Twilight facepalmed. "Now's not the time for stupid memes, Sonata..."
"Silly Twilight, it's ALWAYS the time for stupid memes!"
"BULMA!" Pilaf yelled, a vein throbbing in his temple. "You thought you could trick me with a fake Dragonball? We're wise to your games! Hand over the real Dragonball or we'll kill you all right here, right now!"
Bulma blinked. "Fake Dragonball? What are you talking about? We gave you all our Dragonballs."
Mai leaned forward. "Actually, Lord Pilaf, we found that fake one on our own, remember? Technically, Bulma-san did give us the real Dragonballs..."
"Yes, well...she planted the fake one we found, I know it! And the proof is right here on the Dragon Radar!" Pilar snatched the Radar from Shuu and held it up over his head. On it, the sack of Dragonballs lying between the two groups blinked as a massive blob of yellow, with one smaller dot blinking to one side of it, and two joined dots blinking to the other side. "According to this, there are nine Dragonballs here," Pilaf pointed out after counting briefly on his fingers. "Now, we all know there are only seven, and out of the seven we have, one of them turned out to be a fake!" He pointed a trembling, accusatory finger at Bulma. "Now you give me that Dragonball, or else!"
Bulma frowned. "Look, Pilaf, I don't know what to tell you. I don't have any Dragonballs. I gave you all the Dragonballs we have!"
"Wait a minute," Kim said suddenly. "What 'fake Dragonball'?" She took a step forward; when Mai pointed her gun at her, Kim held her hands out at her sides placatingly. "You found a Dragonball that had golden bananas on it instead of red stars?"
The trio shared a blink. "That's...that's exactly what we found," Mai said.
"AHA! So you admit it!" Pilaf crowed. "You are responsible for—"
The ground began to shudder underneath their feet. "What was that?" Sonata wondered. "An earthquake?"
"Don't try to change the subject!" Pilaf continued. "We're gonna settle this right here, right n—"
The ground bucked violently, throwing them all off their feet. The ground cracked open, and a long, slender serpent with shimmering scales that glowed in all colors of the rainbow under the wan moonlight erupted from the ground, saliva mixed with dry desert dust hanging in thick yellow-brown ropes from long, curved fangs. Sightless eyes glowed like white pearls as it rose into the air, a pair of scaly, translucent wings with thick red veins unwrapping from around its sinewy body and bearing it aloft.
"Heeeeeh," Tights said wonderingly. "A prism moonserpent. We must be the first humans to see a live one in at least two hundred years!"
The two conflicting groups could only watch in dismay as an amber shimmer fell into the beast's gaping maw.
Twilight's jaw dropped, and her glasses slid down her nose. "Oh...oh no..."
"Did it just...eat a Dragonball?" Kim asked, blinking.
"Umm..." Bulma looked at her Radar. Her heart sank. "It got...three of them," she said.
"We'll see about that," Kim saw, firming her jaw. She pulled her grappling gun from her belt and fired it at the ascending beast. The hook found purchase in the scales of its tail, and she rose up into the air after it.
"STOP HER!" Pilaf ordered. Mai pulled a similar grappling gun from her own pack and fired, piercing the beast's wing with the grapple. She winched herself up the line as she fishlined around in its wake.
Everyone left on the ground watched them for a moment, then turned their attention to the three Dragonballs still perched precariously on the broken, unstable ground.
A mad scramble ensued.