“Psst! Kim, Ron...wakey wakey!”
“Humng whuh?!” The duo grumbled as they awoke from their cargo bay nap and found Trepid standing over them.
“Am I to assume that the coffee didn’t have the desired effect?”
“You could say that,” Kim replied with another yawn.
“Well, I need the two of you need to get up. We’re about ten minutes out and I need you to get buckled into your seats. Safety protocol and all that whatnot.”
“W-wait,” Ron said in a slight panic. “If you’re here…”
Trepid’s eyes shifted to a less serious expression. “...who’s flying the plane?” he answered.
“Did you forget how the two of you arrived at the base yesterday?” he said referring to Wade’s ability to fly the jet via remote.
“Oh, right, wasn’t thinking.”
“Yeah … I could see that,” he said, showing concern about his company.
Ron stretched again then climbed onto the cargo bay bench and strapped himself and Rufus securely into place. Kim on the other hand, noticed the slight Trepid had made towards her boyfriend and took it upon herself to confront him.
“Stay here Ron,” she said stomping towards the cockpit.
Ron obliged, and when his girlfriend was out of view, reached into his pocket to make sure the ring he had in his pant pocket was safe and secure.
“You know you didn’t have to do that,” Kim scolded the agent while sliding into the co-pilot seat next to him.
“I saw that look you gave Ron.”
“What? For stating the obvious?”
“Ron might not be a Rhodes Scholar, but he’s not an idiot.”
“I never said he was.” Trepid responded, flexing his fingers on the jet’s yoke.
“You didn’t have to,” she continued angrily. “If I had a dollar for every time someone questioned his intelligence I’d h-”
“You’d have the same amount as I would have if I got one for every time someone freaked out and saw me not flying a jet which can be flown via remote,” he said shutting her down in mid sentence.
Kim gave him a look, unimpressed with his response.
“Look,” Trepid said, “I know you’re protective of your him. I know that when you were down on your luck exploring the depths of being a college coed that he was there for you and brought you back from a series of really bad decisions. I get that. Plus if I had any serious doubts about either of your abilities to work this mission, you wouldn’t be here, would you?”
Kim remained silent for a few seconds longer before finally nodding in agreement.
“Good. Now since that’s out of the way, how about we land this jet?” he asked assuming control of the aircraft and began the landing process. “Better strap yourself in, this can be a bit bumpy.”
Within a matter of minutes, the large silhouette of the Middleton Space Center began to emerge over the horizon. As the jet approached, Trepid powered down the primary engines and engaged the vertical thrusters which brought the craft to a hover and then proceeded to descend into an empty parking lot adjacent to the facility.
“Looks like we’re here,” Ken said shutting off the engines and unbuckling his belts. “Let’s go see what fun awaits us.”
The cargo bay doors opened and the team stepped out. As planned, the “malfunction” had went into effect and the mandatory evacuation of the complex had been successfully completed.
The emptiness of the place in which Kim had spent so much of her childhood gave her chills and the uneasiness which had plagued her yesterday began to inch back into her body.
Ron, who had seen the troubled look across his girlfriend’s face, asked, “Everything alright KP?”
“Yeah, Ron, everything’s fine,” Kim said at the sight of the empty Space Center. “It’s just so odd seeing this place so …”
“Yeah. I’ve never seen it so empty. I’m so used to seeing the hustle and bustle of scientists and engineers everywhere, this is just awkweird.”
“And a little creepy,” Ron added.
“Well at least everyone followed our plan to stay home,” Ken injected into their conversation. “If things go south, at least the risk of collateral damage is low.”
“You are so reassuring.”
“I try,” Trepid winked.
“So what’s the plan now?” Ron asked.
“Well, according to Wade, he has a lone contact still here that we are to meet up with. And then from there we can formulate our plan with their help.”
Just as he had said that, the group heard a strange whirring sound coming from the top of the steps of the main entrance.
“Do you hear that?” Kim asked, clenching her fists and moving to a preemptive attack stance.
“Yeah, I hear it,” answered Ron who also went into formation.
“Easy you two,” Trepid replied calmly. “I don’t believe that’s anything dangerous.”
“How do you know?”
“Call it a hunch,” he said noticing a shiny robot begin to roll down the steps towards them.
“You don’t believe?” Ron asked increasingly nervous. “How do you know that’s not some death machine drone Akuma is using?”
“Not his style. Plus, the little MSC logo on top of it kinda removes all doubt,” Trepid said nonchalantly and walking towards the approaching robot.
The robot was equipped with a small video monitor attached to its top onto which after a few seconds an image popped up of a familiar face.
“Well, if it isn’t Vivian Porter,” Kim said relaxing her stance and approaching the robot. “Nice to see you are still enjoying robotics.”
“And it’s nice to see you’re still into crime fighting,” she replied messing with a stray hair in her face on the screen.
“Well, not exactly. It’s technically my first day back.”
“Eh, knowing you it should come back to you like hopping on a bike,” the blonde said from what appeared to be a laptop on her couch. “So, as you can probably tell from the way we are talking to each other, I’m telecommuting today. We were all told about the ‘malfunction’ which occurred last night followed by how none of us were supposed to come into work today due to ‘safety concerns.’ However, I was contacted by Wade last night and he filled me in on your plans and I offered my assistance. So here I am via proxy to help you all out with whatever you might need.”
Ken walked up to the monitor and injected himself into the situation. “Vivian, this is Agent Ken Trepid of Global Justice, we need to know where MSC’s component to the Deep Venture Project is housed so we can access the situation and plan our next moves accordingly.”
“Ah yes, the mirrors. Not a problem,” she answered after taking a bite of Chinese takeout. “Let me know when you’re ready and I’ll walk you there. Well, roll I guess is a more proper term,” she joked.
The team gathered up their gear and followed Vivian inside the dark, empty corridors of the Space Center. A slight uneasiness came over the group as they walked past room after empty room which were typically filled with the hustle and bustle of some of the greatest minds on the planet.
“So Viv, you said you had mirrors here?” Ron asked.
“Correct. High precision, very delicate, very expensive mirrors similar to what we use on our space telescopes. They’re so precise that when we were creating them, we had to do it late at night because we were afraid that vibrations from cars in the parking lot would disrupt the polishing process. We didn’t want to find ourselves with another Hubble fiasco, especially with funding drying up,” Vivian explained.
“A few years ago, we discovered that we could apply the same mirror technology we used in telescopes in laser drills, resulting in a superior light pulse capable of immense power. Toss in my skills in robotics to automate the process and viola! High-powered laser technology.” She sounded quite pleased with herself, leaning back in her seat and grabbing another bite of food.
“Hmmm, who knew?” Ron said.
“And here we are,” Vivian said rolling up to a pair of elevator doors. “The components are just through these doors and a short elevator ride up to the control tower.”
The doors opened and the crew loaded into the lift and began their ascent.
“Why have it all the way up in the control tower?” Ron asked.
“Well upon our discussions with Wade,” Vivian explained, “we concluded that it best to put the components in the least accessible area of the center. Which in our case would be the control tower. It’s ten stories high, separated from the rest of the buildings and only accessible to and from an elevator.”
“Yeah that’s not a fire hazard,” Trepid muttered uncomfortably.
“Probably, but hey this place is a product of the 80’s so maybe it was grandfathered in.” She said, giving a slight shrug.
“At least there’s a lot of windows to jump out of in a pinch, right Possible?” He winked at the redhead.
“Oh, yeah. Do you know how long it’s been since I last swung from a grappling hook?” she asked rubbing the back of her neck apprehensively.
“Freshman year in college. Seattle. Botched Nautilus Wheel mission, right?” he quickly answered.
There was a moment of silence as the group looked to the agent with varying expressions of intrigue of how he knew that.
“What?,” Trepid asked, raising his hands almost defensively, “I took over your missions remember? Don’t look so surprised, I read the dossier.”
“Wade kept mission briefs?” Kim asked.
“Yeah,” Trepid said with a nod, “Going all the way back to time you and Ron switched bodies.”
“Yep, I bet those were an awkward couple of days.” he grinned.
“You have no idea,” Ron injected. “I had to pretend to be a cheerleader and KP kept going into the girls bathroom on accident ...”
Kim gave him a glare followed by an eyeroll at the comment. “Ron, we agreed not to talk about that!” she grumbled.
“Yeah, I bet shower time got a little awkward,” Ken cracked.
“No comment,” they both quickly replied in squeamish unison shortly before a bing sound was made in the elevator.
“You’ll be fine,” Trepid assured.
The lift came to a stop and the doors opened, revealing the inner rotunda of the control center. The edges were lined with an array of monitors, controllers and mainframes which kept track of all of the missions, satellites and telescopes the center was responsible for. In the center of the room was a large palette upon which sat a very large canister wrapped in protective casing.
“As you can probably guess, the mirrors are contained within that canister,” Vivian pointed out. “We did our best to insulate and protect them but please do your best to not get them dinged, dropped, damaged or anything else that would be bad for them. Granted our villainy insurance is paid up and that container is designed to withstand a small nuclear blast, but we have plans for them in an upcoming telescope project we have been working on, and any disruption to that would seriously delay the project.”
“We’re only planning on using it as a lure, if all goes well that is all it will be,” Trepid assured her as he inspected the bright yellow canister.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to anything more.” Vivian shrugged. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few readings to take down in the labs that I need to log. In the event that you need it, there is a break room with vending machines and a restroom through that far corridor. Oh, and Ron … don’t forget the next Robot Rumble is in two weeks. It’d be awesome if you and Larry came down to root for me and my newest entry. I’m calling it ‘The Ace of Blades’. Hope to see you there!” she waved as her robot made its way back into the elevator, and the doors shutting behind her.
“You … and Larry … are actually going out and doing things? Together?” Kim asked her boyfriend astonished.
“Oh well, you know. He still has a year before he graduates high school and most of his friends are already off to college.” Ron said, looking a little sheepish.
“Yeah?” Kim prompted.
“And well, you know. He likes robots that blow things up, I like robots that blow things up …” Ron said, trailing off.
“Uh huh,” she continued in a teasing tone.
“I mean, it’s not like we go out all the time, but you know, occasionally, I like to hang out with my in-la- … errr, intelligent friends every once in awhile. You know?” he said catching a Freudian slip.
“Ron, it’s alright. I actually think that’s rather sweet that you take him out to things,” she said as she gave him a peck on the cheek in approval.
“Alright love birds, I need you guys to come over here so we can figure out our plan of action,” Trepid said spoiling the moment.
The duo met him over at the canister and stood admiring the space-age polymer which was protecting the contents.
“So this is it?” Ron asked, “This is what Akuma’s coming for?”
“Apparently,” Trepid replied, running his hands down his shoulder straps.
“It seems so … anticlimactic.”
“Laser drills rely on a series of mirrors and lenses to work properly,” Ken explained. “Without them it might as well be just a giant flashlight. According to Wade, the contents of this container is a set of the most perfectly polished mirrors on the planet. So we need to do our best to make sure that they don’t become collateral damage in this exercise. Or else you might be meeting the Ace of Blades a lot sooner than at the Robot Rumble.”
“Hmmm, you know it’s too bad we didn’t just have another container that we could just pretend contained the components and use as a trap,” Ron suggested.
“Yeah, that would be a good option, however this container was specially created to hold and protect these plates. It’s as rare as the contents inside and probably cost a small fortune to build.”
“It doesn’t look like much though.”
“Not on the surface, no. But the insulation has to be a special material, the box has to be airtight, and I’m willing to bet that in order to assemble it into the other components, you’d have to have a clean room to make sure it’s installed properly before exposing it to the outside. Maybe if we had some more time and more money, but right now we’re going to have to work with what we have.”
“How do you know these things?”
“Let me guess, another dossier?” Kim replied to which Ken gave another wink.
“So I guess that dossier of yours didn’t happen to have a plan did it?” Kim asked.
“Welp, it would have helped if they didn’t place it in a room that was ten stories above the ground, totally breachable by a ring of windows and placed among a ton of delicate instruments.”
“Not to mention the whole, one way in and out thing,” Ron added.
“True. But, on the other hand, we can probably use that to our advantage,” Ken said rubbing his goatee in thought. “If we secure that entry way, we could create a bottleneck as he tries to enter.”
“And how do you suggest we do that?”
“I brought some gel grenades in the duffle bag. My thought is that we strategically place the charges around the entrance, we can pin him down in various degrees of restraints. Then once he’s subdued, maybe we can find out who’s behind all of this.”
Kim and Ron agreed and they went to work setting up their plan.
Hours had passed and the sun had set, replaced by a moon-filled night, its light creating a brilliant sheen of soft yellow across the windows of the Middleton Space Center. Inside the tower Kim sat backwards in a folding chair, her eyes glued to the double doors of the elevator while Agent Trepid paced diligently between the rows of control panels, deep in thought of what challenges would be before him and his crew. Their evacuation decoy had been deployed and their trap laid, so now they waited for Akuma to take the bait.
“So are your missions always this boring?” Kim asked her new teammate.
“I wish,” he replied from behind a monitor. “I’ve got a feeling that won’t last though.”
Seeing an opportunity to pass the time, Kim leaned up from the chair and attempted to start a conversation with her replacement.
“So how do they stack up these days then? The missions.”
“Depend on the situation,” he replied while fiddling with some buttons, “the villains aren’t as tongue-in-cheek as they were in your day, less goofy, more dangerous.”
“Do you have any run-ins with the old bad guys?”
“Not exactly. Truth be told, most of your Rogue’s Gallery called it quits years ago.” he shrugged. Killigan finally came to the realization that golf course management was more lucrative than trying to turn Europe into a giant putting green, Frugal Lucre got out of prison and is now a bean counter for a non profit who specializes in reintroducing inmates to society, Senior Senior Junior is too busy working three jobs after his father died and the recession zapped all of his assets and Monkey Fist is now a hangout for birds in a park in Hunan, China. Then there was Drakken and Shego, and well you know how that turned out.” he shrugged again.
“Oh,” Kim said somewhat surprised.
“In all honesty, I think some just up and quit after you retired. In an odd sort of way, without you there to meddle in their plans, it just wasn’t that fun being ‘bad’ anymore.”
“You mean they actually enjoyed me stopping their capers?” Kim asked with astonishment.
“Take the Fearless Ferret and White Stripe or Batman and The Joker for example, “Trepid said casually, “Fictional characters of course, but they all had this strange love/hate relationship between the hero and antagonist where they somewhat completed each other, and without one the other one would be meaningless.”
“That, doesn’t really sound like most of those guys in all honesty,” Kim objected, “Well, with the exception of Shego maybe. She had several opportunities to send me to an early grave but never followed through with it.”
“Well that just proves my point. Universally people look to Shego as your true arch nemesis despite Drakken’s lame attempts to be. And when she is missing, presumed dead, it’s none other than Kim Possible coming out of retirement to find her.” he said leaning while watching some buttons blink. “Hmm, wonder if that’s important.”
“I guess that’s one way of looking at it,” Kim conceded.
“Yeah, then there’s the other reason.” he sighed, still intrigued with the blinking buttons.
“Which is what?”
“The way that I may have been a tad rougher on them than you typically would be,” he said with an exaggerated look of innocence.
“Well, I may have taken a little more ‘direct approach’ with a few of them.” He shrugged. “Broke Motor Ed’s arm after he swung at my head with a tire iron, then I overwhelmed Camille Leon’s morphing ability after I trapped her in a room with a few dozen video monitors.”
“You WHAT?!?” Kim replied bitterly.
“The good news is that the second nose eventually went away. Like I said, I was still adjusting to my new role. Then there was DNAmy with that whole … thingmagigmmermerm ...” he mumbled inaudibly.
“Come again?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.
Ken sighed. “I may have killed her Rabbit-Rhino thing.”
“Hey, it was 8 feet tall, with a horn and it came at me. What else was I supposed to do?”
“Step out of its way like you do with a charging moose or elephant?”
Kim looked on with a raised eyebrow.
“...Just so happened that I was standing next to a 300 foot cliff when I side stepped.”
Kim pursed her lip in disapproval.
“So did you maime or seriously traumatize anyone else in my absence?”
“Nah, like I said, everyone else pretty much quit shortly after you did. Well, I take that back, Dementor … he didn’t know when to quit,” he chuckled. “He decided that instead of following suit with everyone else, he’d exploit the power vacuum and try to elevate himself to becoming the top villain in the world. But that didn’t last long and after a few confrontations, Wade and I set him up with a nice post-crime career as a license plate stamper. Should have quit while he was ahead like the rest of them.” he said going back to tapping the button.
“Satellite relay beacon.” she said.
“The button, it blinks when a satellite has relayed information to the space station. It’s basically telling the astrophysicists ‘they’ve got mail.’”
“Grew up around this place remember?” she winked.
“Good point.” Trepid replied. “Back to our original conversation, the bulk of the missions nowadays are ones I would have done as a Global Justice agent. You know the type; stopping some terrorist, overzealous warlord, drug kingpin, or the occasional nutjob having a really bad day. It’s not exactly dealing with mind control shampoo or mutant poodles.”
“Lovely,” she sighed in reservation.
“It’s what I do baby, it’s what I do,” he replied with a half-efforted Fonzy pose.
Kim made a face of being unimpressed as Ken approached and sat in an office chair across from her.
“So besides traumatizing and maiming my old foes, what else is there to the mysterious Ken Trepid?” she asked.
“What do you mean?”
“What’s your story? What did you do prior to being a Global Justice agent? Where do you come from? Where did you learn how to be an agent? You know, all that good origins stuff everyone is into these days.”
Ken put his arms nonchalantly behind his head and leaned back in his chair as if to be in thought. “Classified, not saying, classified, and um … oh yeah, classified.” He smirked.
“Here you are, knowing everything about me through your ‘dossiers’ but when it comes to you, nothing?”
“It doesn’t work that way, Kim,” he replied. “In regards to knowing everything about you, well … it’s not like you’ve kept a low profile over the years. You are one of those rare individuals in the world of crime fighting that basked in the limelight whereas me and everyone else prefer to keep a low profile. I found it makes it easier to go undercover when your face isn’t plastered on the front of a magazine in the checkout lane.”
“True, but then again I hardly ever went undercover in my early days.”
“Back before you got popular and recognizable, which makes it almost impossible for you to go anywhere without being recognized … no pun intended,” Ken replied. “But that’s fine, undercover isn’t exactly what we’re doing here.”
“Do you go undercover often? Or is that classified too?” Kim asked with a slight eyeroll.
“I might.” he said trying to be mysterious.
“Does that explain that ink job you have there?” she said pointing to his shoulder.
Ken’s smirk dropped slightly as he refused to answer and tried to cover up his arm with his hand.
“Don’t be coy with me, Trepid, I’ve studied enough law and history to know a Waffen-SS symbol when I see one. Seeing how good you and Wade are together, I can’t see you exactly subscribing to the ideology of white supremacy, so what’s the story behind that?”
Ken sighed and rolled up his sleeve, exposing the large black “SS” logo of the elite squadron of Nazi Germany along with several other smaller designs.
“Late in 2008, Global Justice received a credible tip that a group of Aryan Brotherhood members were planning to attack a target on the West Coast.”
“And you volunteered to go undercover and infiltrate the group?”
“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘volunteered,’ but yeah. Being one of Global Justice’s top agents, Betty assigned me to the task.”
“And she made you get inked?”
“Not exactly,” he said rolling his sleeve back down. “Global Justice kind of runs on the premise that its agents are left to decide how best to perform their mission objectives, we found that it worked better to let agents rely on their instincts which lead to their recruitments over some egghead’s thoughts on the matter. Especially after said eggheads came to the brilliant conclusion that your pet molerat was the key to all of your success and not say, your teamwork, attitudes and intuition. A lot of the agents lost a lot of faith in them after that exchange.” he shrugged.
“But yes, to answer your question the tattoos were my idea.”
“Why would you do that?” she asked.
“I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of Aryan Brotherhood members in your case studies. If you tried joining up and you didn’t at least have one tattoo dedicated to ‘the cause’ you’d raise a lot of red flags. I might as well have just worn a giant sticker on my shirt that said ‘informant’. No, to join you had to show your commitment, so I did what I had to in order to be accepted. After months of following leads and shady backdoor meetings I finally found those who were carrying out the plot. I was on my own, deep undercover with no correspondence with HQ, with only my wits to make sure they didn’t carry through with their plans.”
“Anyways, I managed to infiltrate their group. After doing a lot of things that I’m not proud of nor will repeat here, I was able to discover the plot and ultimately worked my way onto the team who was to carry it out.”
“What was the target?” Kim asked.
“The target was the West Coast Student Shabbaton Conference which was being held in Sacramento. We had cased the venue, figured out where the weakest parts of the structure were, exit patterns, and what places and situations would create the most casualties. We had more ammonium nitrate than the state of Nebraska by the time we were ready.”
“Oh my gosh,” Kim said, taken back, “how close did they get to pulling it off?”
“The objective was to get them as close as possible to pulling off the attack. The more evidence we had piled up against them, the more we could put everyone away for a long, long time.”
“And how close was that?” she said leaning in, becoming more interested in the story.
“I thwarted it as we were en route to the convention center. I had sabotaged the detonators and changed the chemical composition of the fuel the night before and then placed an anonymous tip to the local sheriff’s department.” he continued. “And as planned, when we got within the vicinity of the conference we were met by an army of SWAT teams which then resulted in us escaping the scene which may have caused a lot of collateral damage to the surrounding area.” he said with a slight eyeroll. “Box trucks aren’t exactly known for their maneuverability qualities you know.”
“Eventually we were neutralized, apprehended and booked. Well, my accomplices were. Doc extracted me discretely following a rough interrogation session. That was just before we got the news that Global Justice was shutting down.”
“And yet you kept the tattoos?”
“My cover is still good. And as far as my co-conspirators know, they think I was extradited to New Jersey over outstanding warrants. If there was any other plot to have come up, I would have been able to go back in without suspicion.”
“And you’re fine with that?”
“Well, it makes it difficult wearing short sleeves in public, but in the end I suppose it was worth it. There’s a lot of college-age Jewish kids alive today because of what I did.” he said. “Like I said, we’re expected to do what we have to in order to keep people safe. It’s the sacrifice we make as Global Justice agents, you know, to serve something bigger than yourself.”
“Yeah, so it’s a little more involved than that cutie mark you’ve got going on your wrist.” he winked as he rolled his sleeve back down, “Let me guess, got it in Florida while not of sound or sober mind right?” he smirked.
Kim rolled her eyes at the jab and turned to look outside the windows. It was then, Ken noticed that her scowl began to drop from her face and replaced with a more pale, frightened look.
“Hey, I was only kidding about the sober thing.”
“I-its not that,” she said, her voice slightly trembling. “Ron, he … he was at that conference in Sacramento,” she finally got out with a shaky voice. “He went down there with a few of his friends from Temple.”
“Oh … Well then I guess you’re welcome,” Ken awkwardly answered as he stood back up and stretched. “I’d appreciate if you kept this conversation between us. I don’t need your boyfriend thinking that I’m holding an ‘I saved your life’ card over his head. Those tend to become distractions I’ve learned.”
“Right...yes, of course,” Kim said, still shaken up with the revelation that she came close to losing her best friend.
“And speaking of which, where is your boyfriend at?”
“He went to the bathroom,” she said looking at the watch on her glove, “40 minutes ago.”
“Kimberly Ann Possible, you are the love of my life, the yin to my yang, the sauce to my naco, the entire reason that I am alive. To not have you in my life would be like a bird unable to fly, or a fish unable to swim. You complete me in every way possible, so to speak. And because of that, I can’t see how I can go through this life without you by my side. To be my partner to be my steadfast beacon of light which I draw my lifesource from, to ...”
“No,” Rufus chirped as he vehemently shook his head in disapproval from the edge of the bathroom sink.
“No? What do you mean ‘No’?” Ron demanded, kneeling down. “I didn’t even get to the question.”
“Too mushy,” The molerat chirped again.
“Too mushy? This is a proposal Rufus, it’s supposed to be romantic and mushy.”
“Eh, not you,” The molerat explained.
“Not me? What do you want me to do? Hey KP, wanna get hitched?” Ron asked.
“Uh no.” Rufus nodded, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
“Dearest Kimberly, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife and partner for the rest of our lives.”
“Blah blah blah,” Rufus said, mocking the man next to him.
“Well what would you suggest?” Ron groaned as he rose from bended knee off the bathroom floor. “We’ve been at this for over half an hour. KP’s going to start to think I stroked out on the toilet or something.”
“Hmm… be you,” the rodent suggested.
“This is me!” Ron said with exasperation.
“Nuh uh, phoney!” he said as he mockingly pretended to be Ron in an over-romantic parody.
“Fine…” he huffed “I’ll do it one more time, your way.”
“Good,” Rufus chirped with a nod.
Ron begrudgingly went back down to his knee again and continued to pretend his pet was his girlfriend.
“You know I was planning on doing this right after we wrapped this mission up right? By the time we get the whole proposal figured out, she and Trepid are already going to have captured Akuma and rescued Shego.” Ron cleared his throat, closed his eyes and regained his composure before proceeding.
“Kimberly Ann Possible, ever since I met you back in preschool, I knew deep down in my heart that we had something special between us. And that feeling has continued to grow and grow throughout the years as we’ve gotten older and closer to each other. And although the last few years have been a little rocky, our love for each other has overcome all of the obstacles life has thrown at us and, and .. and …”
A large explosion interrupted him, rocking the entire control center and made Ron lose his balance, dropping him to the bathroom floor.
In the control room, Kim and Ken had also felt the blast and had both dove to the floor for safety.
“What the heck was that?!?” Kim asked as she peeked up from behind the office chair.
Ken, popped up from behind the control panels and cautiously approached the windows of the control center from where he could see a pillar of black smoke rise.
“That, was our ride,” he said with a sigh.
Kim stood up and made her way over to Ken where she could see the silhouette of the jet mangled and engulfed in flames.
“Hey, KP I thought I heard an explosion, you guys alright?” Ron said, running back into the main room from the restroom and seeing the damage.
Kim turned towards her boyfriend just as she caught the movement of an object heading rapidly towards him from outside.
“RON, GET DOWN!” she yelled dashing towards him and then pulling him to the floor just as a flaming object crashed through the window above them.
After a few seconds, Kim lifted herself up to inspect her boyfriend.
“You alright?” she asked concerned.
“Absolutely, KP,” he replied with a smirk, always enjoying the opportunity to have her on top of him.
Kim rolled her eyes at the obvious ploy and pulled him up from the ground, brushing off shards of glass off both of their bodies.
“What was that?”
“That, would be Vivian’s robot,” Ken said standing over the crushed, smoldering heap. “He’s here.”
“Either that or Viv seriously needs to work on her robotics skills,” he mumbled hastily while a second explosion was heard outside. “Kim, I need you to arm the charges, on the right side of each casing is a little black switch, click that switch up and a green light will come on signaling it’s armed.”
“On it.” Kim confirmed, turning to begin her work.
“Ron, I need you to go into that duffel bag you brought in and find the little black and yellow box that’s in there and bring it to me.
Ron obliged and after checking his pocket to make sure his ring was still secure, he rummaged through the duffel bag until he came across the box which Ken had described.
“What is this?” he asked bringing it to the senior agent.
“Detonator,” he replied opening the case and exposing a small device which resembled a flash drive. “How are we doing on those charges Possible?”
“On the last one,” she shouted from the doors. “There, that should do it!”
“Good, now get back here.”
Kim ran back over to behind some control panels where Ron and Ken were to receive their next instructions. Ken then asked to see Kim’s hand, to which he proceeded to attach the detonator to a port located on her glove, pressed a few buttons to sync the two devices together which then resulted in a little flashing red button to emerge above the casing.
“Alright, Kim, you’re going to be responsible for springing the trap,” he instructed. “When that smug hairball walks through those elevator doors, I’ll give you the signal and you push this button and trigger the first set of charges. The way we have them set up will shoot large gel globs at him from various angles hopefully pinning at least one of his limbs to the ground. Once those go off, count to five and then press the button again, setting off the next wave of charges. Those are more directed to where his body should be and theoretically should stop him in his tracks.
“And if that doesn’t stop him?”
“Stoppable and I will run defense for you in the event he gets through the gel grenades. I’m a seasoned combat veteran and he’s got those magic monkey powers so we’ll be good if push comes to shove.
“Yeah, um … those powers. I haven’t really figured out how to make them work after the last time I used them. I think they may have been a one-off.”
“Well In that case I hope you still know those 16 styles of Kung Fu you liked to brag about,” he said looking at Kim.
“That doesn’t seem like much of a plan.” Kim shrugged.
“Just be sure you hit those charges when I tell you to. The gelling compound was originally developed as an emergency stopper for use on aircraft carriers. If it can keep a fighter jet from falling off a flight deck, it should be able to stop Akuma in his tracks.
While the trio were finalizing their plans, the elevator began to bing and signaling that the car was making its ascension to the tower.
“Um, guys, I think he’s coming up!” Ron said nervously.
“Alright, game time people. Obviously with the jet he knows someone’s here, so we’ve lost the element of surprise, and if he’s coming up he might come out either blazing or with a full head of steam. So be ready for anything!”
As discussed, Ken and Ron took their positions on each side of the laid trap while Kim intently stood with her finger on the button attached to her wrist. The whirling sound of the lift engine began to slow and then came to a complete stop.
The moment of truth was here.
“Ready,” Trepid mouthed to both of his teammates while a bing was heard and the doors began to slide open. Kim kept her eyes focused on the opening, ready to strike the instant she was given the order. Several seconds passed and still no one came through into the room.
“Is there anyone even on the lift?” Ron whispered over his comm link.
“I’m not sure. Stay alert though in the event this is a diversion,” Trepid whispered back.
“Wait, something’s happening,” Kim added.
What Kim saw was plumes of purple smoke begin to travel from out of the opening.
“Well aren’t we clever,” Trepid remarked, “He’s in there and must be trying to provide himself with a cover. He knows he’s walking into a trap.”
A few seconds later, some movement could be seen from inside the cabin and a figure began to make its way out of the elevator.
“Get ready,” Trepid spoke again over his comm link as a dark figure began to appear through the fog and apparently limping.
“Um, is it just me or does that figure looks a lot smaller than what you were making Akuma out to be?” Ron asked Trepid.
“Yeah, you’re right, crap. Stand down Kim.”
“Akuma’s got a hostage, stand down!”
Indeed the situation became much more complicated when a much smaller individual, bound by rope from the knees to the elbows and wearing a black hood, escorted Akuma into the room, his hands firmly planted across the hostage’s shoulders.
All three of them were taken back by Akuma’s massive presence. Like Kim and Ron, Ken had never seen him in the flesh and only through security camera footage, none of which gave his true appearance justice. He stood well over seven feet tall and as he hunched slightly over and placed his massive hands on each side of his hostage he dwarfed them in comparison. His pale skin was almost white in the light of the room while shadows highlighted his muscles and scars in a hue of blue. A long black mane of hair flowed down his back while a large, jagged beard ran across his square jaw. Several piercings adorned his pointed ears and the red glow from his blank eyes reflected through the studs. For clothing, he donned a unique outfit which appeared to be a cross of tactical gear and biker clothes, all custom made for his massive frame.
“Get out of my way you germs,” he finally boomed.
“Not happening, Pal,” Trepid said obstructing his path.
Akuma laughed at the threat and pulled his hostage into his chest and snickered. “If you haven’t noticed, I’m the one here holding all the cards. Unless you’d like this prisoner’s death on your hands.”
“Ken, are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Kim questioned her teammate nervously.
Ken ignored her calls of concern and stood his ground, his eyes seared into the glowing eyes of his adversary.
“I can’t let you do that Akuma,” Trepid said sternly, confronting him. “I know why you’re here and no, you’re not leaving with those mirrors. We’ve made sure of that.”
The hulking figure snickered at the threat. “Ha! Looks like we have a hero on our hands. And you know what they say about what a hero is right? A person who gets others killed.”
“Did he just quote Firefly?” Ron asked.
“Not now Ron…” Kim groaned.
Akuma tilted his head towards Stoppable and began to grin a sly grin.
“Wait...so there’s three of you. A hero, a ginger and a buffoon. This is absurd!” he cackled.
Kim took offense to the ginger remark and suddenly regained her nerve and approached where Trepid was standing.
“As the man said, you’re not leaving with those mirrors!”
“Kim, what are you doing? Get back to your position..” Ken mumbled
“Yeah!” Ron echoed as he also approached where his teammates were standing, punching his fists. “Not gonna happen big guy!”
“You guys are going to screw this up...get your asses back to your places!”
“So let me get this straight,” Akuma started, holding back his laughs, “You three have some stones between your legs. You ain’t no security guards so who exactly are you?”
“The name’s Agent K-”
“His name is Ken Trepid,” another voice interrupted from behind Akuma, “Agent Ken Trepid of Global Justice...well, I suppose I should say formerly of Global Justice. The agency isn’t necessarily a thing these days sadly.”
“That voice,” Kim said squinting to see through the smoke, “I swear I know that voice...”
“As for the other two, they’re Kim Possible and her sidekick-slash-boyfriend…um, Dan...Don..”
“Ron…” Ron supplied helpfully.
“Right, Ron Stoppable...a couple of amateur freelancers masquerading as crimefighters.”
“Wait, there is only one person who would call what I do amateur,” Kim exclaimed. “And that’s…that’s......Will Du?!?”
A slow clap was heard coming from behind Akuma where the voice had originated. Then a dark outline of a figure could be seen as it walked methodically from behind Akuma and his hostage.
It was indeed Will Du, albeit a much darker version than the last time he had crossed paths with Kim and Ron.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Trepid snarled.
“Agent Will Du? You’re behind all of this?” Kim exclaimed in shock.
“Tah dah.” He exclaimed sarcastically, wiping his now long hair off of his stubbled face and smiled at the redhead while engaging in a mock curtsey.
“More like former agent,” Trepid remarked.
“What? Did he get laid off too?” Ron asked.
“Not exactly. Du here decided to take advantage of being the top agent at Global Justice and ran a little extortion racket on the side. Eventually the agency got wind of it and Betty had him discharged.
“Seriously? Who caught him?”
“Me.” Trepid replied, his vision still fixed on his predecessor.
“Eighteen years...eighteen years of hard work, dedication and personal sacrifice all undone by this paragon of virtue. And it was then all taken away from me!”
“You were crooked Du. You’ve got nobody to blame but yourself for getting canned.”
“Oh no, you’re correct. We all are responsible for our own decisions. I should really thank you for turning me in if you want me to be completely honest with you. After I was fired, I retreated to the Drakensburg Mountains of South Africa to sulk and to reflect on my life. Frankly the experience was enlightening. All of a sudden my eyes were open for the first time in ages to the world around me.”
“Great, he’s starting to monologue,” Trepid moaned. “How about you just fast forward to the part where you tell us what kind of cockamamey plan you have for the laser drill before I kick your ass back to South Africa so you can reflect on your life some more?”
“Oh please Kenneth, what do you take me for? Some sort of Bond villain? You and I both know that any sort of arrogant speak that divulges a plan or a plot is almost inevitably foiled because of it. No, what I am going to do instead is tell you one last time is to get you and your comrades out of our way. That is unless you all wish to join your blue friend laying up on the morgue.”
“I’m not Drakken,” Kim spoke up in defiance. “Whatever you think you have planned, you’ll lose.”
Du gave an arrogant smirk to that threat and began to calmly pace back and forth in front of the group. “Foolish girl. This is the last piece of a puzzle which we have went through a lot of trouble and bodies to put together. It just happened to be housed at a laboratory in Middleton, Oregon; a laboratory which happens to be where your father is employed. Did you think that we would be so shortsighted to not think that you and your boyfriend wouldn’t have gotten mixed up into this little project somehow? Especially seeing how my predecessor and his portly friend is, how should we say, ‘shorthanded’ at the moment?’”
“Huh? How would you know that?” Kim asked.
Du scoffed at the question and snapped his fingers which signaled Akuma to approach him with the hostage. “Let’s just call it a hunch.” he said yanking off the hood and revealing the identity of the person underneath.
It was Bonnie.
Her hair was disheveled, a streak of blood had dried down the side of her cheek from a busted lip and her arms and hands were beginning to bruise from the hefty amount of rope which wrapped around her body. On her shoulders rested the giant grey hands of Akuma who escorted her into the control center, and past the set devices.
“Bonnie?” Ken said.
“Bonnie!?” Kim echoed, “What’s she doing here?”
“Kim? What are you doing here?” she responded with an angry groan.
“Long story Stoney,” Ken replied.
“Stoney?” Kim asked.
“Long Story Kim.”
“Ah yes, I have to tell you it’s quite fascinating what you can find on the back country roads of rural Idaho this time of year,” Du said while arrogantly caressing Bonnie’s face, “The occasional bison grazing along the shoulder, a herd of antelope galloping across the prairie...the unsuspecting coed whose Jeep was unexpectedly forced off the road before rolling several times down an embankment.”
“Yeah and my father had just bought me that Jeep last April you asshole!” Bonnie scolded in defiance.
Du took his hand which had been traveling across her bruised chin and made its way up to Bonnie’s mane where he promptly grabbed a fistfull of her long brown hair and yanked her head back in a sudden motion. “Speak to me like that again, and I will slit your throat from ear to ear right here in front of all of your friends.” Du warned.
“You can’t do that to Bonnie!” Ron shouted.
“Oh I can...and I will if I have to. However I would prefer not to as the whole reason she is here is to act as an agent of civility.”
“It’s quite simple really,” Du explained to Ron. “You see, this little wench is valuable to you as the mirrors behind you are to me. So we are going engage in a little exchange. The Deep Venture’s set of mirrors for her life.”
“I can’t do that.” Trepid answered reluctantly.
“Um, are you sure about that ‘Trep?” Bonnie asked, growing concerned with where his train of thought was going.
“You’re not getting the mirrors. If you think you will, it’ll be through us.”
Du sighed in resignation over the agent’s answer. “Well that’s unfortunate you think that way, it truly is, for your sake, and for her’s, especially her’s.” he said as he motioned to Akuma who lifted Bonnie up with one hand and began to walk to Du’s left.
“Wait, what are you doing?” Kim demanded.
“In football it’s called an audible, in negotiations it’s called it following through on your threat.” he said. “We came here in anticipation that an exchange of some measly parts for the life of a fellow human being would have occurred. But apparently you think we’re bluffing about doing any sort of bodily harm to young, sweet Miss Bonnie here. So now it’s time to show you that we’re not fooling around. Now Akuma, if you would please now do what we talked about on the way here.”
“You got it boss.” he snarled as he walked Bonnie towards the windows.
“Don’t do it Du…” Ken warned increasingly getting into an attack stance.
“Obviously you don’t take my threats seriously, nor do you value the life of your friend, so why don’t we just take her out of the conversation all together?”
“Trepid...I’m getting a little wigged out here..” Bonnie said in a shaky voice helpless to do anything.
“If anything happens to her Du I swear….”
“You’ll do what exactly? Whip up on me and my Lowardian-hybrid? Akuma, please continue.”
“I guess that confirms where he got the big guy from.” Ron commented.
Akuma obliged and walked over to the windows which had been shattered when Vivian’s robot flew threw them and proceeded to hang Bonnie out of it, high above the ground.
“Last chance to lose the hero mantra and do the right thing Trepid...or do you still value inanimate objects over someone’s life? Regardless of how shallow, trivial and materialistic that life might be.”
“Hey!” Bonnie said, taking offense.
“You’re not getting the mirrors Du.” Trepid said again in conflicted defiance. Several tense silent seconds passed as the opposing sides exchanged hard glares at one another, looking to see who would make the next move.
“Alright then.” Du sighed as gestured to Akuma to release Bonnie.
Akuma obliged and opened up his palm as the brunette plummeted towards the ground ten stories below while giving off a blood curdling scream.
“BONNIE!” Ron screamed in horror.
“NO!” Kim yelled.
“Shit,” Ken mumbled to himself as he broke position and ran towards the windows, dodging a swipe from Akuma and diving out head first after her.
“Okay well that evens up the score a bit, Akuma if you would be so kind as to execute the next part of our plan.” Du ordered.
Akuma pulled a small device out of his pocket which contained a small screen and several buttons. He pushed a large green button which triggered heavy metal plates to come down over the windows locking the four of them inside the room.
“First rule of building a space center with a close proximity to a launch pad, be sure to have blast doors installed. I do believe that went a lot easier than I had expected it to go, do you not agree Akuma?”
“Almost too easy.” the giant scoffed.
“You! You never had any intentions of letting Bonnie go.” accused Kim, “This whole hostage angle was just a ruse to separate us from Trepid.”
“Excellent deductive reasoning Kimberly,” Du mocked with a simple hand clap. “Say what you will about the man, but Agent Trepid is a very dangerous individual and formidable opponent. It’s too bad his ‘ready, fire aim’ mentality has always been his Achilles heel.”
“You two on the other hand, if I understand correctly haven’t seen a mission in well over two years, a fact those little paunches the two of you are sporting appear to confirm that suspicion.
So now that our mutual acquaintance is no longer in the equation, there are two scenarios at play here: The first of which is that in order for me and my friend here to get those mirrors we came for, we have to go through you two; the second one is that in order for you two to leave this control room alive...you have to go through us.”
“Which one of those two scenarios seem to have the most realistic outcome Miss Possible? The man with 18 years of combat training under his belt whose partner happens to have the blood of the most violent, warfaring race in the galaxy flowing through his veins, or the recovering lush and her dimwitted boyfriend who haven’t seen action outside of their dorm room since their freshman year of college?”
Kim’s heart was racing, she knew that both she and Ron were outmatched but she also knew she had to stand her ground and prevent Du from obtaining the final piece of the drill. With a lump in her throat, she retook her fighting stance and clenched her fists in defiance. “If you want these mirrors, you’re going to have to go through us!”
Du shrugged his shoulders and sighed, “Suit yourselves; Akuma if you would be so kind to do what I pay you for now I would appreciate it.”
Akuma walked away from the window, cracked his knuckles and stretched his neck before setting his sights on Kim’s position and charging at her full boar.