“GOTCHA!” Trepid screamed as the tension from his grappling hook took hold and stopped Bonnie’s fall a mere five feet from the pavement below.
“I...I...I think I’m going to be sick.” she whimpered.
Ken slowly released more tension from his line and gently descended to the ground where he promptly took out a laser cutter and began to sever her bonds.
“You alright Stoney?” he asked her finally cutting through the last chord and freeing her.
“Let’s see, I’m a little roughed up from the crash, my arms are sore from being tied up for the last twelve hours, and I think I need to change my underwear after being tossed out a window, but other than that, I’m peachy-fucking-keen!”
“You’ll have to tell me about what happened later, but right now we need to get back in that control room. Kim and Ron are up against two guys they aren’t equipped to handle.”
“Um, I think that might be a problem,” Bonnie said pointing back up at the tower and the metal curtain which now covered the windows, “I think the facility might have just gone into lockdown.”
“Blast doors?! Who puts blast doors on a control tower?” He groaned.
“Oh I don’t know Ken, someone who deals with blasting things into space all the time?”
“Now’s not the time for smartassery,” he scolded while trying to get his communicator to work. “Wade, you there?”
“What’s up Trep? I lost your signal for some reason.” Wade said as he signed on, sipping on a soda, “How’s the operation going?”
“Sideways. Will Du is the mastermind behind all of this.”
“Apparently he’s gone rogue and has been the one giving Akuma orders.”
“What would he want with a laser drill?”
“I don’t know, but what I do know is that he took Stoney as a hostage and used her to separate me from Kim and Ron. And now they’re locked into the control tower with him and Akuma while the two of us are on the ground, unable to get in.”
“I guess that explains why Bonnie never answered her communicator when I tried to get in touch with her.”
“Yeah well, that and I turned it off. Spring Break remember?” she grumbled.
“Dually noted Bonnie. What do you mean by locked out Trep?”
“Locked out as in there are big friggin metal shutters covering all of the windows to the place and we can’t get back inside.”
“That...must be new, I didn’t see any lockdown system on the station’s schematics.” he said confused.
“Well, they’re here now Wade! I don’t have time, we need a way back in. Can you log into the system’s computers and see what you can find?”
“Sure thing, give me just a sec.” Wade said, frantically typing away at his keyboard. “Oh, so there are blast doors.”
“Tell me something we don’t know Wade…”
“Okay, okay...According to my data, all main windows and entrances to the center are locked out and the elevator to and from the control tower is non-operational. However, there seems to be an air vent just to the right of the main entrance which you could use to enter the facility.
Looking at the plans, the ventilation system can take you to fairly close to where the elevator shaft is located. Once you get there, access the shaft and use your grappling hooks to go up the tower, but you’ll have to find a way into the elevator cabin to get back to the control room.
“How long do you think that would take?”
“By the looks of it, you’ll have to cut through at least three ventilation grates and find a way around a large metal fan before you can make it to the elevator shaft. Conservatively using your laser cutter probably thirty minutes?”
“That’s 29 minutes too many.”
“Well then I guess, if you happen to have packed some of your proximity mines, you might be able to shave off some more time using the ‘more direct’ approach.
Ken quickly looked into his utility belt and saw a pair of discs situated in one of the pockets. “I’ve got two...I’ll figure out how to get through the third when I get to it.”
“Do that and I’ll try to patch my way into the space center’s servers and see if I can get it out of lockdown. You two be careful.”
“Got it.” Ken said signing off and then turning to Bonnie who had overheard the conversation and nodded in agreement.
“Ron you alright?” A winded Kim asked her boyfriend.
“Yeah, KP...this Akuma guy, he’s freaking fast on his f-”
“INCOMING!” she screamed as both dove out of the way of another powerful charge by Akuma which saw him plow through a series of control panels.
“Well there goes any future space missions.” Ron huffed.
*Kim, Ron..this is Trepid, do you read me?* Ken spoke over their radios.
“Little busy dodging a hulking monster Trep, what is it?”
“First off Bonnie’s safe, so don’t worry about her. Second is that we’re going to try to get back into the building, which might be tricky with everything locked down.”
“Yeah, Akuma has some sort of device he hacked into the system with.”
“Wade’s trying to hack into it. It might take some time but I’m coming back to you. Try to stall Du and Akuma as much as you can until I can get there. And whatever you do, don’t let him take the mirrors!”
“Yeah, so not the drama Ken.” she remarked dodging another swipe, “We’ll hold him down until you get here.”
“Ron we have to split up. We can’t go after this guy side-by-side. We have to attack him from different angles to have a chance.”
“A chance at what?”
“A chance to see if we can hold him off until Trepid finds a way back into the building,”
“If he finds a way back into the building...and how does he know Bonnie? He asked confused.
“Not sure, we’ll have to ask him. In the meantime, MOVE!” she yelled while another massive fist came slamming down close to the pair with them rolling out of the way just in time.
“Here’s an idea: Stay on the ground and try to keep him distracted and I’ll take the grappling hook and see if I can do anything from the air.” Kim said running across the room.
While Kim was thinking out her plan, Ron caught a glimpse of some movement out of the corner of his eye.
“Du’s making a run for the mirrors KP!” he exclaimed.
Kim turned her head and saw as well.
“Ron, go stop him. I’ll take care of the big guy.”
“Kim that’s crazy!” he protested “You’ll get killed!”
“Ron, do it! He can’t get away with the mirrors!”
“Where’s Rufus at? She asked.
“In my pocket.”
“Give him to me.”
Ron consented and pulled Rufus out of his pocket and handed him to his girlfriend.
“Now go stop Du, Rufus and I will try to keep Akuma distracted.”
Ron nodded and ran after Du while Kim again barely dodged another swing of Akuma’s giant arms.
“Go, Ron! Now!”
While Kim and Ron battled inside the control tower, Ken and Bonnie were hard at work down on the ground floor, desperately trying to regain access into the space center.
They had managed to force their way into the ventilation system Wade had pointed them to and were quickly confronted with the first metal security grate. Ken instructed Bonnie to remain around a corner while he attached one of his proximity mines to the edge of the grate. He was careful in his placement of the mine so the blast would only warp or weaken the grate without broader damage. Due to the various compartmental lockdowns throughout the facility, the ventilation shaft was the quickest and most direct way to the elevator, so any damage to the structure of the shaft would result in lost time.
Once the mine was set, he armed the device and quickly shimmied back to Bonnie’s position. He threw a quarter at it and got on top of Bonnie to protect her from the ensuing blast and as the quarter rolled within the proximity of the mine, the device detonated. The explosion was quick and as planned, warped the grate enough that Ken was able to kick it in enough so that the two of them could crawl through its opening. They continued down the shaft and soon came to the second security grate. Ken once again placed his last proximity mine on the corner of the grate and repeated what he had done with the first, except this time the blast managed to blow the grate off completely, and leaving it on the ground in a twisted heap.
“Well that’s two down, one more to go and we’re out of mines.” Bonnie said waving through the residual smoke. “Got any ideas on how to get past the last grate?”
“I’ve got one,” he said bending over and picking up the mangled remains of the grate. “We have a laser cutter which should be able to cut through the sections of the grate, barring its the same type as the last two. Since time is something we don’t have, we’ll cut through a few sections and then ram this bent piece in the hole and try to pry it apart.
Bonnie nodded in agreement and the two hurried again through the shaft and reaching the third and final grate. Ken took out the laser cutter, and turned it up to its highest setting before starting to cut through the iron bars. Slowly but surely the bars began to glow a bright orange and a small slit began to form through the bars. Minutes later he was through, then he went to work on the next bar, and the next, and the next, until he had cut through what he thought was enough for his plan to work. He next laid down on the floor and began to kick at the cut section of the grate, inch by inch, the metal began to bend from the impacts and soon enough of it had been pushed back to the point he could insert the piece of the other grate into the hole. Bonnie joined him and helped pull against the bars until they had managed to pry out a small opening.
“Do you think you can fit through that?” He asked Bonnie.
“I think so,” she said as she turned herself sideways and tried to shimmy through the small, tight opening. “I’m through, but can you fit through it?”
“Not yet,” he said picking up the fulcrum and began to slam it into the warped section several times. “There, now I can.”
With the mangled bars still in his hand, he and Bonnie hurried down the shaft until they arrived at the giant metal exhaust fan which was busy spinning around.
“There’s always a moving fan…” she sighed.
“Wade, what are the chances you’ve hacked into the system and can kill the airflow in this duct?”
“No can do Trep, I’m still trying to hack into this system.”
“So I guess we’re going to have to do this the old fashioned way, stand back Stoney, this might kick back.”
Ken took the old mangled piece of grate from earlier and followed with his eyes one of the three giant fan blades. He began to time a single blade and how long it took to cross paths with a straight brace which mounted the fan to the shaft. “One, two,” he counted on his breath, “THREE!” and shoved the bar next to the brace and stopping the blade in its path. The fan’s engined whirred in a painful sound as it tried to break through the stoppage.
“Is that safe to go through?” Bonnie asked.
“Nope, so you better dive and do it fast!”
“Fine, she said taking a few steps back and entered a starting pose reminiscent of a gymnastics routine, she then took off, did a quick flip and slid with ease through the fan’s opening and popped back up on the other side.
“Your turn.” She mocked with her hands out as if she had just finished a floor routine.
Trepid furled his brow watching the fan blades continue to quiver as they tried to free themselves from the barrier. “Here goes nothing,” he said to himself while he crawled through the tight space. He wiggled his head through, then his chest, and then his torso which he thought he was through when all of a sudden, the bar became dislodged and the fan was able to begin to spin freely again, catching Trepid in the waist and pinning him against a side brace.
“Shit!” he screamed, half in anger and half in pain.
“Oh no, Ken are you ok?” Bonnie asked.
“No...this hurts..” he squeaked. The blade’s stuck on my belt, so it’s not cutting into me...but this really hurts.”
“W-what do you want me to do?!”
“Take the laser cutter and aim it into the fan’s housing. Fry...the...motor!”
Bonnie took the laser and quickly went to work trying to disable the fan’s inner workings. After several tense minutes sparks began to fly and the fan was finally offline and with it the pressure of the blade on Ken’s body. He quickly shoved the blade off and crawled in pain next to the brunette.
“Yeah, just a little pinch...I’ll make it.”
“Hey...I was getting to that,” he gasped. “Let me get some feeling back in my legs.”
“So now what?”
Ken stood back up and took a few deep breaths, “Let’s find out. Wade, you there?”
“Still here Trepid, what’s your status?”
“We made it through the grates and the fan, now what?”
“Okay according to the schematics, there should be an air duct grate about ten yards away from your location. It will be on your right and exits out into the main concourse just outside of the propulsion lab. It’s probably only secured with a couple of screws, so a good kick should be all it takes. Once you’re into the concourse, the elevator should just be a short distance from you.”
“Got it Wade, we’ll let you know when we’re there.”
“Going somewhere Will Du?” Ron said slyly from behind the rogue agent.
“Mr. Stoppable, are we really going to do this?”
“Um, Yeah. You’re not getting those mirrors.”
“As you and your counterpart have implied several times already to the point of redundancy..” He said turning and approaching Ron. “You do realize what you are inviting onto yourself, yes?
“What? A washed up sidekick who’s given up a crime fighting hobby in exchange for a chef’s hat?” He scoffed. “Against a seasoned soldier trained in so many forms of Kung Fu that it reads like a list from the Audobon Society, so what exactly do you think the outcome of this confrontation is going to be other than your ultimate demise?”
“I think that you being a Kung Fu snob has made you forget that I, Ron Stoppable was the one who trained at the Yamanouchi Ninja School, possessed the Mythical Monkey Power AND welded the Lotus Blade…”
“Of which you merely attended a semester of, hardly enough to make you a master of anything; and if I recall you’ve lost your Mythical Monkey Powers AND lost the Lotus Blade to the power known as ‘gravity.’ Rendering you nothing more than than another martial arts wannabe who can break boards with his hands.”
“Hey, I went back...for a few weeks...a few years back.” Ron defended himself.
“Then stopping me from taking these mirrors should be a breeze then,” he said cracking his neck and entering a strike position. “Prepare yourself for your end!”
Ron dropped his eyes and focused his gaze on his opponent. He assumed his own strike position which Yori had taught him and braced for Du’s attack. Will came at him with several tiger strikes which Ron successfully defended and then returned the favor with his own set of blows which Du also was able to block.
“Impressive,” Du admitted. Your vacation seems to have amassed the basic groundwork for Kung Fu. Now lets see what you can do with an advanced skillset.”
Unimpressed, Ron motioned his adversary to bring said skillset to light. Which Du obliged, this time utilizing a series of high kicks, to which again Ron was able to repel with his own knifehand blocks and connecting with a counter sweep which sent Du to the floor, only to spring right back up.
“Still impressed?” Ron said with a rush of adrenaline flow through his body as he began to recall his Yamanouchi training.
“So you can block, congratulations...you’re a green belt at a Tiny Tigers.”
“Says the guy this ‘Tiny Tiger’ just knocked on his keister!”
“Lucky shot, nothing more.”
Du came at him again with a series of punches and knee strikes, and again Ron managed to block all of them with increased ease. After two more sets of attacks, Ron began to realize that the strikes that Du was landing on his body didn’t particularly hurt or sting like the hits Yori laid on him in sparring sessions. This had to mean one of two things: Either Ron was a lot tougher and stronger in martial arts than he thought he was, or that Will Du wasn’t as tough and experienced as he was making himself out to be. He dodged another round of kicks and again and decided to test his theory on the next wave of attacks by intentionally letting his guard down. That next round came swiftly with a series of punches to Ron’s midsection.
Ron was right.
Du was landing either landing weak strikes or Ron was substantially better than he thought he was.
Despite the slew of punches, Ron simply backed up while a smirk came across his face.
“What’s so funny?” Du questioned as he threw another punch at Ron’s midsection, to which he grabbed his opponent’s arm and threw him over his shoulder. Du picked himself up stunned at the counter.
Ron let out a smirk and scowled, “What? Is the Grand Master of Audubon Society Kung Fu unable see a Stone Monkey technique when he sees one?”
Du was both humiliated and furious at getting bested and charged at Ron with a slew of fists, and once again Ron successfully countered and shoved him out of his way.
“My turn.” Ron said charging at a dazed Du, landing multiple shots across the agent’s body and forcing him back away from the mirrors.
In the control room Kim and Rufus were having a lot less luck in their fight with Akuma. The beast had already wrecked and destroyed several crates and control panels while attempting to smash the redhead with his charges and so the thought of trying to preserve as much of the room had gone out of her strategy and now it was just a matter of staying alive until reinforcements arrived.
“Trepid, if you can hear me it would be really great if I could get your hand up here.” She yelled into her communicator in between dodging a thrown computer monitor.
“Working on it Kim...almost through the ventilation system. Keep him busy.”
“Yeah, sure...easy breezy.” she groaned seeking shelter from behind a crate to catch her breath.
The break was short lived when she saw a shadow cast over here and a giant foot came slamming down on her position. She grabbed Rufus and rolled safely out of the way before making it back to her feet and sprinting across the room.
“I’ve got an idea Rufus,” she said to the rodent on her shoulder. “But you’re not going to like it.”
“Huh?” he chirped.
“I need you to get near him and try to have him try to stomp you with his foot. Obviously don’t get squashed but jump on his boot and try to climb into his pant leg.”
“Ok?” Rufus agreed, but with some confusion.
“When you’re in there, do something to distract him. Tickle him, bite him, whatever it takes!”
“Um, okey dokey!” The molerat chirped and saluted, before hopping off of Kim and stood in Akuma’s way. He wagged his tiny pink arms in an attempt to distract him from chasing after Kim and to turn his attention towards him instead. The distraction worked and Akuma slowed down and stared at the creature.
“Puny rodent, do you think you’re any match for me?” He boasted before lifting up his foot and then slamming it down on Rufus. Kim watched nervously as Akuma ground his boot into the floor as if he were putting out a cigarette butt, hoping desperately that her little friend was able to get out of the way. Akuma lifted his boot up to see if he had squashed him yet was confused when he was unable to find him. She looked hard while Akuma checked the floor and then his boot and then back to the floor around him searching for the mole rat. Kim finally let out a sigh of relief when she saw Rufus’ little bright pink head pop up from around his ankle and then quickly scurried up his pant leg.
She could tell Akuma knew that he was somewhere on his body by the unusual twists and turns he suddenly began to do. The brute began to let out some light giggles suggesting he was tickling him from inside, and then Akuma quickly dropped to his knees in a roar of pain.
“Oh Rufus that’s low even for him.” She murmured. Seeing Akuma on his knees, she finally sensed an opportunity. Lifting up her arm she aimed her grappling gun at a rafter situated above the ailing Akuma and leaped over him and onto a stack of crates which were stacked behind him. Once on top she jumped back off, swinging from the hook and plowing into the back of Akuma’s head, toppling him over face first into the ground. It may have been through dirty means but she was able to bring the beast down. Or so she thought, for as soon as she landed back on the ground, Akuma had begun to stand back up, his eyes glowing red and his jagged teeth flashed with rage.
Akuma rose back to his feet and emitted a loud roar of anger before shoving his hands into his pants and yanking a stunned Rufus back out. He took the tiny rodent and then threw him across the room and into the side of wall which followed the mole rat falling to the floor where he laid motionless.
“Rufus!” Kim screamed in horror at the sight of her limp friend. Doing so she had taken her eyes of off a recovering Akuma and paid for it when she turned back around and was met with a giant slap from his hand. The force was so powerful it flung her into the stacks of crates she was standing on moments before, shattering several of them before the rest collapsed on top of her.
Ron, who had Will Du on the ropes, saw the exchange and watched as his girlfriend was unceremoniously hurled into a pile of wooden crates and too completely lost his train of thought.
“KP!” he shrieked while watching the crates collapse on top of her.
Sensing a change in momentum, Du capitalized on Ron’s distraction and quickly delivered a roundhouse kick directly to in the back of his head, dropping him instantly into a heap on the ground. He then climbed onto the back of Ron and continued to deliver punches to the back of his head and upper body while Ron attempted to regain some semblance of focus.
“Alright Wade, we’re out of the ventilation system and in inside the labs, where do we need to go now?” Trepid said over his comm link.
“Good job. According to my schematics, the elevator to the control tower should be to your right about 200 feet.”
“On it.” Trepid relayed back, running down the hallway until coming to the double doors of the elevator.
“Okay we’re here, any chance you’ve managed to get an override on the elevator shaft?”
“Working on it,” Wade replied back, “this security system has a tricky encryption attached to it...tricky but not...unmanageable…”
Ken heard a clicking sound and looked to his left and saw Bonnie pushing the “Up Arrow” button repeatedly.
“What?” She asked innocently. How many times have we busted into places with keys under the doormats and hotwired cars with keys in the sun visor? I didn’t think it would hurt to actually try to push the button like a normal person for once.”
“Oh come on Bonnie, do you really think that would….”
BING went the double doors.
“...work.” Trepid finished, blinking in astonishment.
“You were saying?”
“Got the override on the doors guys,” Wade said.
“I was going to say nice timing on Wade’s part.” Ken smirked while Bonnie rolled her eyes..
“Unfortunately the cabin is on a separate network than the doors are,”
“Of course is it.”
“...so your most direct route would be to just scale the shaft and break into bust through its floor to get to the control room.”
“Sounds easy enough,” Trepid said walking through the opening and staring up the dark shaft. Sounds of the struggle could be heard coming from above.
“Wade any word from the rest of the team?”
“Negative, Kim’s comm link went down a few minutes ago.”
“We’ve got to get up there, now!” he sighed.
“Um,” Bonnie mumbled.
“I was a victim of a kidnapping remember? I don’t exactly have my gear with me at the moment.”
Trepid thought for a few moments and hopped into the base of the shaft and motioned to Bonnie to join him.
“Grab onto me, I’ll use my grappling hooks to get us up the shaft and once we get to the cabin, you take the laser cutter and carve a hole into the cabin.”
“That sounds a little convoluted don’t you think?”
“Oh come on Miss ‘I took ballet for twelve years, and spent the majority of grade school on a human pyramid.’ Surely cutting a hole while standing on top of someone isn’t that big of a deal. I’d do it myself but between holding you and making sure we don’t fall my hands are going to be a little tied up.”
“I...was typically on the bottom of those cheerleading pyramids.”
“Whatever, just get on my back and get ready to go.”
Bonnie flashed an unsure look across her face while she wrapped herself around Ken’s shoulders. Once she was secured he raised his arm and shot a grappling hook up the shaft which latched onto a girder about halfway up the large metal tunnel. Trepid depressed a button on his glove and the two ascended up the shaft. Upon reaching the girder, he quickly reached out with his other hand and shot off a second hook while detaching the first one. This time the hook latched on to the under chassis of the elevator lift.
“You’re on, Stoney.” he said, “The laser cutter is in my shoulder pocket.”
Bonnie carefully unbuttoned his shoulder pocket and pulled out the small device.
“Alright, I’ve got your legs, just I’m going to need you to lean up just a bit and start to cut the surface in between those two hoses.”
“Don’t cut the hoses, they’re brake lines. Sever those and we’re going to get squashed.”
“Sure thing Trep. Just balancing here on the back of a guy’s shoulders suspended a few hundred feet in the air by a wire, cutting my way through a metal plate only to take on a giant man-beast. Nooo pressure at all.”
“More cutting less talking please,” he said, “my arm’s getting a little sore.”
“I thought the grappling gloves we’re supposed to be easier to use than the hand held?”
“Yeah well they weren’t really designed for hanging and holding up another body. They were more for personal transportation use over difficult terrain.”
“You know the Fearless Ferret had one that he would attach to his belt that could help him carry two people.”
“That was an old tv show...it wasn’t real..don’t care, keep cutting!”
Back inside the control room, Kim struggled to free herself from the pile of boxes which came tumbling down on top of her. Her arm had multiple lacerations from wooden shards in the debris and her back was extremely sore. The single punch Akuma landed on her felt as if she had been hit by a car and made it hard to breathe.
Suddenly a bright light had come across her, Akuma stood over her and had lifted above his head the remaining boxes which she had been buried under. Seeing his opponent was still alive, he promptly attempted to slam the crates back onto her, however she mustered enough strength to roll out of the way and eked her way between Akuma’s legs and escaped what would have surely been an early demise. She shook the cobwebs from her head and tried to regain focus just as Akuma turned around towards her. She could see in his face that he was becoming increasingly frustrated at her hit-and-run tactics. This came to a head when he pressed a button on his gear which deployed a pair of shoulder cannons. Once they were set into place, an orange glow began to shine from each gun’s barrel.
“Shoulder cannons? Seriously?” she mumbled to herself, still catching her breath.
“Seriously.” he replied, opening fire and letting out a barrage of energy blasts.
Kim ran away from the blasts through a series of jumps, flips and slides across the room.
“Hmmm, still got it!” she thought to herself, impressed that her old adventurer self was still inside her.
“Grrr!” Akuma growled, annoyed with his misses.
“WHY...WON’T...YOU...DIE!?!?” he roared while unleashing another series of blasts towards her direction.
Kim began to sense Akuma’s increased frustration and thought she might be able to take advantage of it if the right opportunity showed itself. She again dodged his cannon blasts and found herself now in front of the elevator doors. She had an idea and stared down Akuma as he charged up his cannons for another blast, when the orange of the cannon barrels began to glow, she steadied herself and waited for the blasts she knew were coming to be unleashed. Seconds later Akuma shot his guns which flew straight towards Kim. At the last second, she jumped up in the air, missing the blasts which flew straight into the elevator doors. With the blast smoke as cover, she aimed her grappling hook straight at Akuma and fired, the dark carbon fiber hook whizzing through the air and wrapping itself around one of the shoulder cannons. Then out of the smoke came Kim riding off the recoil with a flying kick which landed straight across Akuma’s face and throwing him off balance. Kim reached around and grabbed onto his maine and tried hard to “bulldog” Akuma to the ground all the while swiftly dodging his flailing arms.
Kim looked to have found the upper hand on the giant and thought if she could steer him close enough to one of the gel grenades she had placed and detonate it on him, she could bring him down. She spotted one a few feet away from their location laying in a pile of crate debris and was thrown by the blast to the elevator doors. She started to lean down on his neck, forcing him to stumble near the grenade.
“Just..a little...more…” she grunted, putting all of her weight into wrestling the behemoth. Akuma however caught a glimpse of the LED light on the grenade and figured out what Kim had planned. He reached over to his shoulder cannon which she had wrapped her grappling hook around, placed a firm grip on the gun and dislodged it from its mount and flung it out like a whip with his arm. Kim, whose arm was still attached to the hook, was promptly yanked off of Akuma’s neck and found herself now violently flying through the air. Not letting go of the shoulder cannon, Akuma then began to whip and fling the cable and Kim like a child’s toy through the air before letting go and sending Kim crashing into an array of control panels which sent glass and sparks flying everywhere.
Kim laid in a heap of broken electronics and glass shards. She groaned while trying to get up but her body was in so much pain it took all that she could just to get to her knees. The taste of blood pooled in her mouth and her vision was blurred. Out of the side of her eye she made out a large dark outline of Akuma hunched over a desk looking over at her. She panted and groaned as she tried to get out of his range, an act which was as futile as a wounded deer trying to escape a hunter. She knew that she was outmatched and the only thought running through her head was to hold out until Trepid made it back into the tower. If Trepid made it back.
She slowly scooted herself away from Akuma’s shadow, in a pitiful attempt to escape. Her grappling hook was still attached to the cannon and she drug it behind her like a ball and chain, its outer metal shell making a raspy scraping sound across the floor and debris. Akuma went for the kill, tossing the control panels he was standing in front of like toys and slowly and methodically made his way towards her. Kim tried her hardest to escape but it was no use. Akuma reached down and grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to her feet, her legs kicking aimlessly in a weak attempt of escape. Akuma kneeled down and faced his opponent eye-to-eye and flashed an evil grin.
“Had enough yet?” he growled arrogantly.
She winced a scowl of disdain towards her adversary who she knew had bested her. And she knew that unless by some miracle that Trepid came through the hole where the elevator doors used to be that she and Ron were both done for. She knew she had to try to hold out for as long as she could so in an act of defiance, she furled up her lip and spit a large wad of blood and spit across Akuma’s face. He was taken back by the slight and in a last ditch effort with all of her strength, swung her fists wildly trying to land any sort of punch on him.
Unimpressed with the offensive, Akuma stood back up and grabbed Kim’s hair closer to their roots, turned her around and slammed her head-first into one of the control panels with so much force it broke the composite countertop.
Back in the elevator shaft, Ken and Bonnie had run into a problem. While they were working feverishly to break into the elevator lift, the blast Akuma had hit the elevator doors with severely damaged their work area. The resulting impact not only blew off the doors to the elevator, but it also dislodged the lift from the tracks and made the lift fall ten feet down the shaft with Ken and Bonnie underneath it.
“Are you okay?” Ken murmured, his hand outstretched and holding Bonnie upside down by her ankle, swinging freely high above the ground.
“Well, on the bright side I’m not dead.” she said shaken. “What the hell was that?”
“From the sound of it, I’d say that would be our side losing.”
“Could you um, maybe pull me up? I’m so over being hung from a thread today.”
“I’m not really in the position to do that,” he replied looking at his surroundings. “Between holding you and having my other arm still attached to the grappling hook, I don’t have the leverage to do that. Is there any way you can try to bend up and grab my wrist? he asked.
Bonnie tried to reach up and grab Trepid’s arm but the precarious nature of the state they were made it difficult to reach.
“I, I don’t think I can do it.” she whined.
“Okay, well that just means we go to Plan B.” he said.
“You have a Plan B?”
The agent was quickly losing his grip on the sweaty leg of Bonnie so he went back to looking at his surroundings until he saw a cable hanging off the shaft.
“I do now.”
“You’re not going to like it.”
“Yeah well I’m not really a fan of this situation either.” Bonnie snapped indignantly.
“Okay, well do you see that cable hanging on the side of the shaft?” Ken asked, nodding towards the cable in question.
“Okay, I’m going to swing you back and forth and then let you go and when I do, you flip around and grab that cable.”
“THAT’S YOUR PLAN?!?”
“You have a better idea?”
“Do you?” He demanded. There was a pause, in which Bonnie did not reply. “Didn’t think so.” he said as he began wriggling his body back and forth, “Swing with me and help me get some momentum.”
Bonnie sighed and started in on her own gyrations to build up their swinging. After a few seconds they had reached enough of a velocity that Ken was comfortable working with.
“Alright Stoney, on three. One...Two...Three!” he said letting go of her leg as they reached the apex of their swing. Ken held his breath as he watched Bonnie curl up into a ball and flip several times through the air before stretching out rightside up and grabbing onto the cable.
“Good job!” he shouted over to her.
“Ken?” she whimpered clenching to the cable. “Next time you go off on an adventure, BE SURE TO PACK A SPARE GRAPPLING HOOK!”
“Yeah...duly noted.” he said catching his breath. “Hey check it out.” he pointed.
“That blast...it blew a hole in the bottom of the lift where we were cutting. It did our job for us.”
“So it did...is this the part where you ask me if I can get to it and crawl through? Because by the looks of it I can.”
“Good. Do that and I’ll come in behind you.” he said as he started swinging again in hopes of being able to reach the cable.
It was a tight fit but Bonnie was able to scale along the bottom of the elevator lift and make it into the smoky cabin interior.
Now on somewhat sturdy ground, Bonnie peaked her head down through the hole to see how Trepid’s progress was going.
“You coming?” She asked.
“Not sure, he said swinging back and forth in an attempt to regain momentum. “Almost… There...Got it!” he exclaimed, grabbing the cable.
“Great, now...now what?” she said seeing a problematic look on Trepid’s face.
“The grappling glove...I can’t retract it. When the lift fell it jammed the hook into the housing.”
“So take your glove off genius, you have two.”
“Which is the problem...these things aren’t made for two people.”
“So what are you saying?”
“I’m saying I need you to head on up ahead of me.” he said as he wrestled with holding onto the cable with one hand while trying to deglove the grappling hook from his other.
“Um, did you not just see that explosion? You know, the one where we fell and almost died...again?”
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll be right behind you, once I get up there and can scale the side of the shaft…” He grunted, “maybe those parkour lessons weren’t for nothing after all.”
“Here, reach down and take this,” he said pulling off his glove with the one good grappling hook on it still. “Use this to reach Kim and Ron., do whatever you can to stop Du and Akuma from taking those mirrors.”
“Okay...um, are you expecting me to take them on with my hands and feet?” she quipped.
“Well, your predecessor did manage to do all the stuff you do with a grappling gun.”
“Yeah I think this situation calls on something with a little more umph.” she said while putting the grappling glove on her hand and making a triggering gesture.
“Fine, take this too.” he said pulling out a handgun from his shoulder holster.
Bonnie looked at him with shifty eyes. “I thought only L3 agents were able to use firearms…”
“Yeah well, consider yourself promoted.” he said reaching the gun out to her and handing it off. “I’m assuming you know how one of those work or do I need to show you?”
Bonnie gave the handgun a once over, turned off the safety, pulled back the slide and loaded a bullet into the chamber without hesitation.
“Well, look at you.”
“Yeah well, when you’re father is a Life Member of the NRA, you tend to get shown your way around one of these.” she smirked.
“Duly noted,” Ken replied impressed, “now go up there and help those guys out. I’ll be right behind you.”
Back in the control tower, Akuma grabbed Kim’s leg and pulled her bloodied, motionless body out of the debris pile and displayed high above his head as if he were a fisherman with a prize catch.
“Excellent job Akuma,” Du said, still beating on Ron, “perhaps you should try to get your friend to regain conscious so she can watch her boyfriend’s final moments.”
Akuma concurred and pulled Kim’s limp body up from the floor like a fisherman with his prized catch. Her face was covered in blood, originating from a large gash on her forehead, a bloody nose and cuts on her lips. Her left eye was swollen shut and her eyelid had begun to turn purple from injury. He propped her on his knee and proceeded to slap her across the cheek to get her to regain conscious. After several attempts, she let out a small groan and began to move.
“Whuh...where…” she moaned.sneered.
“Welcome back dear Kimberly.” Du
“We thought you’d like to be awake to see this.” Akuma growled contently grabbing her chin and turning her attention on the beating Ron had continued to receive.
“R-ron...no…” she said reaching out in vain with a weak trembling arm.
“Uh uh uh….Look but don’t touch.” he said tightening his grip around her as they both watched a beaten Ron fall to his knees in defeat.
“A valiant effort young Stoppable, but a foolish one nonetheless.” he started while looking down at his opponent. “I believe the time has come for us to wrap up this little exchange. Tell me, have you ever heard of the dim mak?”
“Noooo!” Kim cried out again while desperately trying to get out of her captive’s grip.
“Is that...like...some Ju Jitsu or somterng…” Ron slurred in a sarcastic defiance, still severely dazed from the cheap shot he received earlier.
‘Hardly. In Chinese it means ‘Touch of Death.’ It is an ancient martial arts technique where one can deliver a lethal blow with literally the touch of their finger to their opponent.
“Ron...get up! Get out of here!”
“Now now, calm down my dear, you’ll get your chance in due time. Now, as I was saying, the technique is believed to work in the same manner as acupuncture, using pressure points in the body. For decades it was thought as a myth, dismissed by many in popular culture as nonexistent fluff promoted by frauds. But the truth is that it is very real. The martial arts equivalent of a nuclear weapon, known only to a few students deemed worthy enough to possess the knowledge. By the sounds of your lady friend over there it would appear she is familiar with the term.”
“Oh...and I suppose you’re ‘worthy’ enough to know it?”
“Me, ah ha ha ha...no.” Du laughed, “But Master Sensei...he knew. It’s amazing what one can say when the proper leverage is applied.”
In hearing that, all of the pain and aches Ron’s ravaged body seemed to suddenly dissipate and instead was replaced with a sense of rage to hear that Du had harmed his master. He struggled but rose to his feet to stare down his opponent for one final stand.
“K-knew?!? WHAT DID YOU DO TO MASTER SENSEI!!!” he yelled as he lunged towards Du with clenched fists flying desperate to land on their intended target. Still through all of his rage, Will Du was still too powerful for him and countered with devastating accuracy, resulting in Ron again being thrown to the ground while a screaming Kim looked on helpless.
“What I did or didn’t do to your master is not important. What is important is what I intend to do to you.” He said removing his glove and rubbing his bare index finger together with his thumb. “As my grandfather used to say, ‘Only death can cure a fool.’”
Kim knew that she had to do something and fast. Failure to do so would result in her witnessing her boyfriend’s death and more than likely shortly after her own. Whatever she did, she would have to get out of Akuma’s hardened grip. She tried to think through her clouded thought and the stinging of her eyes from the blood and remembered an old trick her Nana had taught her during a Thanksgiving in high school. She took the heel of her boot and ran it as hard as she could down Akuma’s shin.
The trick worked.
Akuma reeled in pain, loosening his grip on Kim, allowing her to wriggle out of his grasp and started to limp towards Ron to push him out of the way of Du’s incoming dim mak strike.
Meanwhile from behind the action, Bonnie jumped through the smoldering hole of the former elevator doors using Ken’s grappling hook and rolled into the room. Incensed at the sight of Du, she pulled out the handgun and aimed it in his direction.
“Hey Asshole! CURE THIS!” she yelled pulling the trigger and letting off several rounds in Du’s direction.
Du had seen Kim lumbering towards him out of the corner of his eye and swiftly reached out to grab her and then proceed to swing around towards Bonnie with Kim acting as a human shield. Bonnie was not a great shot as several of the rounds were heard ricocheting off the walls and ceiling. However one appeared have found its target. A quick “ZIP” sound was heard and Kim suddenly arched backwards and let out a huge gasp. Her weight on Du’s arm became heavier as her body no longer fought to stand up. He felt his hand become wet and he knew that Kim had been hit. He then leaned into her and gently whispered:
“Well played my dear, thank you.” he said mockingly before he pulled his arm back and letting her fall to her knees.
Ron hearing the shots watched as his girlfriend fell to the ground, grabbing her side and then pulling her hand up, revealing it drenched in crimson.
“K-KP?” he murmured trying to sit up.
There was no words, she simply turned her head and looked back at him. Her face was several shades paler than normal and an expression of deep fear and panic was slapped across it. She tried to answer him but only managed to cough up a simple “R--r-----Ro…”.
Ron crawled over to her just in time to catch her in his arms.
Will Du stood over the couple as they each gasped for air while trying to console each other.
“Two turtle doves will show thee, where my cold ashes lie, and sadly murmuring tell thee
How in tears I did die” he said with a smug before turning his attention across the room to Bonnie who was still standing in the ruins of the elevator doorway, her face beaming with regret and her hands still holding onto the gun, her finger continuing to pull the trigger over and over on the empty magazine.
“And, that is why Global Justice doesn’t allow agents under L3 status to have a firearm.” he said yanking the gun out of her hand, removing the clip and throwing both in different directions.
Bonnie snapped out of her shock, backed up a bit and put up her fists into a striking position.
“Ha ha ha ha,” Du laughed at the act. “For being so green you sure have a lot of spunk. I can appreciate that.”
“Well in that case you’re going to love me!” Trepid’s voice said from behind Bonnie, finally out of the elevator shaft and jumping over her and straight into Du. The two agents engaged in hand-to-hand combat which a fresh Trepid was easily taking it to Du.
While the two fought, Bonnie rushed over to where Ron was sitting with a limp Kim strewn across his lap.
“Omigod, omigod, omigod, K I am..so...sorry! I wasn’t aiming for you, I’m sorry!” she wept in a rare instance of sympathy towards her old rival. She kneeled down next to Kim and Ron to see what she could do to help.
“Get away from her!” Ron said slapping Bonnie’s hand away from his injured girlfriend whom he continued to cradle in his arms .
“Ron, I need to see her wound and see what needs to be done!”
“Haven’t you done enough?!? And since when do you know anything about paramedic skills?”
“Since I….uh...let’s just call it a hobby.”
“A hobby? I thought your notion of a hobby was getting drunk and laid.”
“Shut up Ron! Just...shut...up.” she said pulling back the tattered strands of Kim’s shirt. “The blood’s not dark so the bullet didn’t hit her liver, and the location of it we might have lucked out.”
“If she was lucky, she wouldn’t be sitting on the ground WITH A OF BULLET WOUND BONNIE!”
Bonnie moved Ron’s arm out of the way and went into a far back pocket of Kim’s utility belt but Ron slapped her hand away again.”
“DON’T TOUCH HER!”
“Ron, I need to get...fine..you know what, you can do it.” she resigned, “On her utility belt, open up the third pocket on the right and there should be a tampon in there.”
“A tampon? Seriously Bonnie if you haven’t noticed Kim isn’t exactly bleeding from her -”
“Just..get...the... damn tampon Ron.” she ordered, trying very hard to keep from punching him.
Ron sighed and did what he was asked. He leaned around and opened up the third pocket on the right and sure enough there were several tampons located within it.
“How? How did you know there were tampons in there” Ron demanded while handing her the small white piece of cotton..
“...it’s my belt..” Bonnie mumbled under her breath as she began to remove the plastic wrapping.
“I, I said It’s...my...BELT!” she repeated.
“What? How is that?”
“Long story, for right now, will you just shut up and keep her still?” she said scowling into Ron’s eyes. “Alright Kim, I know you’re going to hate me for this but I’ve got to do this, and it’s going to hurt. You ready Ron?”
“Ready for what?”
“This.” she said shoving the tampon into the hole...with Kim responding in a chilling scream of pain. “Sorry.”
“What did you just do?”
“Old battlefield trick. Tampons are cotton, sterile and lightweight, and great for plugging gunshot wounds.”
“How do you know these things???” Ron demanded.
Bonnie rolled her eyes and then shot a look at him. “Oh come on Ron isn’t it obvious?! Do I really have to spell it out for y-”
The sound of a click cut her off, followed by a series of loud explosions.
“Uh oh,” she said looking down at Kim’s arm. Ron had made her so frustrated with his questioning that she hadn’t paid attention to the placement of her hands and had accidentally pressed the detonator for the gel grenades on Kim’s wrist. “Great, see what you made me do?!” Bonnie snapped, returning to her work of trying to save the woman on the floor.
“What I did?!” Ron demanded incredulously.
She peered over Ron’s shoulder and saw several large, transparent green cubes pop up across the room...inside one of them, she saw an upside down Ken Trepid trapped.
“Crap.” she murmured.
“It appears that your little justice squad is a tad rusty Agent Trepid.” He mocked, “Tell me, is this the part of where your delusions of heroism take over and you tell me how I won’t get away with this?
“Screw you Will.” Ken responded upside down and suspended within his green cubic prison, struggling to free himself.
Du glanced back towards Ron and Bonnie, who were feverishly working to mend their teammate. “It was foolish to think that you could recruit a bunch of amateurs to do the job which people like you and I spent years to prepare for. Look at what damage you’ve caused them. Look at the fear on their faces, like children in Darfur.”
“They..were...doing...this...years...ago...you traitorous...son of a bitch!”
Trepid replied while who tossing and turning in anger, desperately trying to break the gel block.
“No, they were fetching cats out of trees and preventing mullet-clad cartoon villains from stealing wheelchair motors for monster trucks. Not necessarily preventing ICBMs from detonating over metropolitan areas or even preventing car bombs from going off outside of consulates. Don’t confuse some do-gooders in over their heads with legitimate, professionals who do this for a living.”
“They might be amateurs, but they sure as hell aren’t a bunch of turn-coat cowards like you ended up being.”
Du walked calmly up the gel wall and flicked it with his finger, causing a gentle ripple to come over the cube. “I’m see myself more of an agent of change these days.” he said as he walked passed Trepid and over to the canister of mirrors.
“Akuma, we have what we have come for.”
“But they’re still breathing.”
“They’re no longer a threat to us, leave them.”
“Shouldn’t I finish them off?”
“What’s the point? They’ll be too busy holding a vigil around a hospital bed for us to care...and in a few hours it’s not going to matter.”
“That’s an order Akuma! Now, seeing that our primary exit has been compromised, would you be so kind please make us a new one?”
“Fine,” he said as he aimed his functioning shoulder cannon at the ceiling and proceeded to blast holes through the ceiling and walls of the control tower, creating a massive opening to the outside. Through the dust there was a subtle humming sound which grew louder and soon the unforgettable shape of Drakken’s hovercraft appeared over the opening and a ladder descended down from it. Du made his way up the ladder first, secured the mirrors inside the hovercraft and then motioned down to Akuma to make his way up. Halfway up the ladder Du yelled down to his partner.
“On second thought, maybe we should finish them off. People with that kind of reckless tenacity tend to launch a final assault after they regroup.”
Akuma made a cheshire grin and aimed his shoulder cannon back towards the group who were still tending to Kim’s injuries.
“LOOK...OUT!!” Kim whispered, while attempting to point towards the incoming blasts.
Bonnie heard her and looked up just in time to see two orange blasts barreling towards them. She dove into Kim and Ron with enough force that the blasts barely missed their location, exploding the control tower’s flooring in the process.
The three of them laid in a disheveled heap when the floor beneath them began to crack and crumble from the blasts.
“Good call Kim,” Bonnie said, pulling herself off her two counterparts and flipping her hair out.
There was no response.
“KP?” Ron said nervously while shaking his girlfriend’s shoulder.
“Kim? Hey, Possible..”
There was still no response so Bonnie quickly leaned over Kim’s battered, motionless body and began to check her vitals.
“I-is is...is she?”
“She’s passed out. Bonnie said to a shaken Ron while inspecting her eyes. “Dilated eyes...we need to get her to a hospital, pronto.”
While Ron cradled the lifeless body of his girlfriend, Bonnie heard a noise.
“Did you hear that?” she asked.
“That sound...it’s like a cracking….oh crap.”
She caught a glimpse of the entire section of the control tower’s flooring which Akuma had blasted began to crack and collapse. The floor gave way and began to fall to the ground far below, including the part where Kim laid and soon Kim’s unconscious body began to follow gravity and fall out of the control tower.
Ron dove and grabbed her limp hand but she still continued to slide away. Bonnie acted quickly and grabbed Ron’s pant legs. The weight of Kim and Ron’s bodies were too much for her and they continued to inch closer and closer to a 10-story fall. Bonnie dug into some debris with all of her strength but Ron continued to slip, and now was completely hanging vertically over the edge. He watched as his little red velvet box became free from his pant pocket and fell past his eyes and down into the smoldering debris far below. He didn’t care at that point to try to even attempt to save it and instead was more worried about keeping Kim from following suit.
Akuma had now turned his sights on the green cube which Trepid was trapped in and unleashed another series of blasts into his direction. Ken winced, unable to move as the rounds penetrated multiple holes through the cube’s surface.
Bonnie’s face was red with tears of pain streaming down them as she continued in vain to keep her two partners from falling. She braced her legs around the remains of a control panel but her hands were becoming sweaty and her grip was failing. She was just seconds away from losing her grip when she saw Trepid’s goo-covered hands reach over her, grab Ron’s free arm and with a giant tug yanked he and Kim back up onto solid ground, both landing in another heap.
The blasts to the cube had damaged its structure enough that he was able to escape.
“What did you do Bonnie?!?” he asked after he caught his breath.
“Apparently she missed her intended target.” Ron growled, still recovering from his beating and clinging to Kim.
“Great…” he muttered, still pulling chunks of green gel off his body and getting on his comm link.
“Wade, it’s me.
“Hey Trep, I’m getting a lot of alarms going off over there, what’s going on?
“The mission’s a bust, Du got away with the mirrors.
“That’s not good.”
“Looks like he commandeered Drakken’s old hovercraft. Run some calculations and see if you can find a way to track it.”
“Will do...er, so to speak. This is bad isn’t it?”
“It’s worse than you think.”
“I need you to get an ambulance out here asap. Possible’s down.”
“Hurt? How bad?”
Ken walked back across the smoldering floor and picked up a still unconscious Rufus and brought him back over to to the group and then proceeded to walk away to the palette where the mirrors had been and sat down, rubbing his hands through his hair and over his brow trying to make sense of what had just went down.