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Last Minute [IC]

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The two teens, a guy and a girl, sprinted through the corridors of the hospital, snow bouncing off their boots and onto the polished floors. The guy was wearing a long brown trenchcoat, orange goggles around his neck, and a long streaming scarf in alternating stripes of dark and neon green. Messy brown hair flopped behind him as he went.

The girl was lagging slightly behind, and wrapped up in a brown leather jacket with fur around its collar, a strange glowing blue device held in one mittened hand. Her long brown hair was lightly dusted with snow, and her pale forehead creased into a frown. The blue thing seemed to be pulsing into light and off again, rapidly in short bursts. It was also making a high-pitched "PINGpingPINGpingPINGpingPINGping" noise over and over.

"The signal's getting stronger, we're heading the right way!" she shouted over the sound of pounding footsteps, slamming an unfortunate orderly into the wall as she ran past.

"Sorry," mouthed the guy, momentarily turning back. "Well, maybe we should hurry!" He kept running side by side with the girl. "We need to have done this five minutes ago, Liz. Maybe ten. Depends, really..."

"I know!" snapped the girl. "Dammit, Chris, can't we have a normal Christmas like everyone else?" She looked at Chris like this was a normal argument and not some high-speed investigation with a glowing blue sensor. She suddenly swore, and doubled back to a small private room door. "In here!"

Chris skidded to a halt, and doubled back. "Sorry, but duty calls. Anyway, you built the Grue scanner, not me. Now, excuse me while I make a dramatic, heroic entrance and save the day."

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Carson Smith lay prostate on the bed, a sickly green light spreading over his skin. A doctor and a nurse stood at either side of him, trying to resuscitate him as machines screeched and beeped all around him. "Clear!" His whole body convulsed, the defibrillator doing nothing but somehow causing the green glow to become even brighter as Smith let loose a piercing roar of agony.

"Woah!" shouted Chris, holding up a hand. "Nurse, doctor, get out of here!" He waved Liz in, even as she tried to silence the now-wailing scanner. "Sorry. Portable siren. We're specialists, just flown in." The doctor and nurse looked at him skeptically. "MOVE! This man's life is in danger!"

Soon, Chris and Liz were left alone at either side of the bed over Smith's writhing body, Liz tossing Chris implements from her bag, before pulling a long metal object from her pocket. "OK, this is going to be a bumpy one, the energy build-up is causing some distortion."

"Fantastic," said Chris, winding a cable around his waist, then pressing the pad on the end of it hard onto Smith's torso. "Not only do we deal with a horrible glare, the flight has turbulence!" Liz just rolled her eyes, and pressed a button on the slim rod, the three of them fading into blue light.

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The three of them crashed down onto the hard metal floor of the Arborealair. Chris immediately went to grab Smith as he began wailing once more, picking him up and racing after Liz into her workshop. When there, he strapped the struggling man down to a table, and immediately grabbed a syringe on the counter, holding it up in the event the man was lucid enough to know what was going on. It was empty.

Until he plunged it hard into his arm, drawing blood. "Ok, if what you say is true, my blood should stabilise the gene-bomb temporarily. Right?" Liz merely nodded, darting around, hooking Smith up to machines and turning them on. "So it's time to stick a needle in him!" And thus he did, plunging the blood into Smith's bloodstream, swiftly and adeptly pulling the point clear.

"Right," he said, watching the green glow move across the man's body, concentrating into small clumps before splitting up and moving off again.

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Carson Smith awoke to a young man in a green t-shirt sitting over him, the straps on his arms loosened, but blood pressure monitors and the like wired up to him and by necessity holding him in place.

"Sir?" asked the young man as he stirred, getting up from his chair. "How are you feeling?" Carson looked around groggily.

"Feel like hell. Who the hell are you and what's going on?" He tried to get up, but felt a surprisingly strong hand pushing him back down on to the bed. "And why are you keeping me here?"

"Because," said the young man softly. "If I don't the Grue bioweapon inside you will explode and ruin a lot of people's Christmases. Well, most of their lives. But let's start with Christmas. And I can't let it happen." His face was grim, jawline set. But he clearly wasn't expecting Carson Smith, a grown man, to start crying like a child.

Over the next hour, he told him of how he had a wife, and a three-year-old daughter. He'd already missed Christmas morning due to having to work a shift, then got taken into hospital when he'd collapsed. He couldn't bear the thought of never seeing his daughter again and making her grow up without a dad.

By the end of it, Chris understood. "I'm going to fix this," he told the man. "Give me a few details, and then... you're going to spend Christmas 2010 with your daughter."

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Chris looked solemn as he came out of the room, and looked at Liz, who was busy pinning various metal circuits and batteries into the lining of an old leather jacket. "We need to fix this. But I can't see how to fix it," he said.

Liz held up the jacket. "Kenzie, the bomb isn't removable. It'd just trip it off. But, I have this." She sighed deeply. "It should be able to throw you back in time to undo this before it actually happens." Chris frowned, taking it off her and examining the circuits.

"Doesn't look very big. You sure it's a time machine?"

"It's got enough battery to get back to the invasion, and then to get you back here," she explained, ignoring his comment. "You set the date and time with this fob watch." She reached into a pocket and pulled out an old fashioned pocket watch attached to the jacket with a chain. Only the chain had a lot of cables running down the middle of it, and the watch was glowing vaguely green-yellow. "I don't know how altering time is going to work, but I know I'm not going to stop you doing it, so... what are you waiting for?"

Chris simply laughed, dropping off all his clothes to reveal the green Geckoman jumpsuit. He pulled the leather jacket on over the top of it, clicking a couple of straps dangling from it over his chest and pulling his goggles down over his head to rest at his neck. "A Christmas miracle," grinned Geckoman, pulling a cord on the jacket.

The flash of white light was all-enveloping.

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Carson Smith leveled the handgun at the hulking red alien as it shattered through his front door. And pulled on the trigger. THUD! THUD! The bullets tore huge holes in the creature's torso, but still it came. Behind him, his wife Maria was holding their struggling crying daughter in her arms, frozen in fear. Carson briefly turned to shout at her, "Maria! Get Kimberly out of here! GO!"

He turned back as the alien's powerful fist slammed into his chest, hurling him backwards and into the wall. Kimberly screamed as her daddy grunted in pain and struggled to his feet, firing three more rounds at his attacker. "Get out of my home!" he roared over the bark of the pistol. Maria started running for the back door, Carson limping behind her, keeping the alien beast at bay.

Then they all turned in horror as the back door exploded in, revealing three more of the brutes cutting off their escape. Carson took Maria's shaking hand and held it in his. "Mar, I'm happy we had all this time. I love you," he said hurriedly as the pack of red monsters closed in on him.

"I love you two, Carson," she said, holding him close along with Kimberly, who was still bawling and screaming. Carson put his arms round his daughter, and shushed her gently, covering her eyes with his hand.

That was the point where the green-clad boy in the black leather jacket came down through the ceiling. His foot was pointed heel downwards, having obviously kicked clean through the floorboards and plaster, his messy brown hair tinged white from the dust. "Allons-y, alien freaks!" Before he'd even landed, the kid had put his feet shoulder-widths apart, landing on them as a yellow object flew from his hand and smashed into the side of the wounded alien's head, sending it crashing to the ground.

"Carson Smith? I need you to come with me," commanded the figure, jumping and twisting in mid-air to bring two legs firmly into another alien's chest. "Unless you want to stick around and get attacked by Grue," it continued, spinning and driving an elbow hard into the guts of the last two aliens. "And that'd be... not good."

The family, warily, got to their feet and looked oddly at this new arrival. "How did you know that we needed the-" began Carson, before his gaze shot to something over Geckoman's shoulder. "Oh Lord. There's five more," he whispered.

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