Note: Please see the foreword for updated Author's Notes
Chapter 6: Damage Control
The view from the helicopter was simply breathtaking. They were cruising at about a thousand feet over the Middleton Mountains, cutting through the still night air like a blade, giving the passengers a look at the horizon and the glow from downtown Middleton. It was quite the picturesque scene, which was nevertheless completely lost on the lone occupant of the helicopter that was still conscious.
Kim was staring out the window, watching the landscape zip by at several hundred knots but not registering a single image. The redhead heroine was completely lost in her thoughts, which centered mostly on her complete disaster of a day. Most of it she was able to simply dismiss as the hazards of being a teenager in high school. The whole Bonnie-Tara situation and the blown date with Ron were bitter pills to swallow, but in the end, neither threatened national security in the slightest way. "Although if I don't get some alone time with Ron in the near feature, I might become a threat to national security," she thought, as a faint smile crossed her lips.
No, what really had the teen torqued was the fact that she and Ron had failed to stop Draken and Shego from getting away with the Mirage. She wasn't used to failing and, even in those few instances where the villains had gotten away, she was always able to go after them herself and fix her mistake. But she doubted that she was going to the chance this time. With the loss of a multi-million dollar research project and the kidnapping of a leading military scientist, Kim was pretty sure that both the military and Global Justice would be assigning a number of agents to this case, in addition to the FBI and NSA, just to name a few.
It was no use worrying over it, however. What would come, would come, and she was sure that after tonight's events, a firestorm was awaiting her when she got back to the Photonic Imaging and Concealment Lab. The redhead estimated that she had about five or ten minutes until they reached their destination, so she leaned back, closed her eyes, and took advantage of the last moment of peace she would have for awhile.
Sure enough, a scant five minutes later, Kim felt the Global Justice helicopter slow its forward momentum and begin a gradual decent to the parking lot below. She noted with a hint of bitterness that their current method of transportation was landing in the exact same spot as their first method of transportation. "Just one more thing that I'm going to have to justify," Kim thought. "How exactly do you explain the loss of $30 million in military hardware when you have nothing to show for it?
The redhead was once again brought back from her inner thoughts by the slight jolt when the helicopter's wheels touched down on the asphalt. She took stock of her surroundings and immediately noticed the EMT crew that was standing by. When Wade had contacted the head of the Denver field office of Global Justice, which was the closest one to Middleton, the Special Agent-in-Charge dispatched the first available helicopter to Kim's location. Unfortunately, the particular model that he dispatched was too heavy and would have collapsed the rooftop helipad at the Middleton Trauma Center. Nobody realized this, however, until the pilot called ahead to the triage nurse on duty that night and was informed that they couldn't land. So, because Arrowhead's injuries weren't life threatening, the decision was made to reroute the helicopter back to PICL where an EMT team would be standing by.
Kim heard the whine of the engine begin to slow and quiet and the steady whoosh of the rotors get more infrequent. She turned her head to take a look at the only other passenger on this flight, and was thankful that she was still out cold. Back on the mountain, Kim had had Wade perform a medical scan on her to make sure that she wasn't in any danger and all the genius could turn up was a concussion.
The heroine felt sorry for Arrowhead all of a sudden, realizing that as little as a few hours ago, the pilot was on a routine mission to move a GJ transport from their airfield in Oklahoma to their airfield in Northern California. Just a simple little hop and she would be at home, relaxing. Instead, she had been brought into a situation in which a transport plane had no business being in, and she had been placed there by her orders. Kim Possible might be able to do anything but one thing she was going to have to learn to live with if she was going to continue on her current crime fighting path was that sometimes people under her command were going to get hurt.
Still, as she watched the EMT's swing open the door to the helicopter and place Arrowhead on the awaiting stretcher, it was a new situation that she found herself in. Sure, she had gotten hurt plenty of times on missions and had landed in the hospital more than her fair share but she was the one who had taken on the risk. It was even a different feeling than when Ron got hurt on her orders; he knew the risks going into each mission and took them on voluntarily whereas Arrowhead wasn't field personnel. Maybe she could talk to Dr. Director about this, as Kim was sure that the head of Global Justice had been in her shoes a number of times.
"Ma'am, we're here," came the voice of the helicopter pilot from in front of her. The redhead realized with a start that she had been staring at the slowly receding sight of Arrowhead as she just sat there in the cabin of the aircraft. She turned to look at the source of the voice and blinked at him owlishly, silently wondering just what she should do now. The helicopter pilot simply looked back at her with a mixture of confusion and sympathy, the combination of which only served to depress Kim even more.
The heroine shook her head slightly, as much to clear the fog that had seemed to settle over her mind as it was to get her moving again. It was clear that the pilot wanted to get going again, probably to go home to see his wife and kids and despite how much she just wanted to sit there and be numb, it wasn't fair to the man. So, very slowly and reluctantly, Kim pushed herself off her seat and stepped out onto the asphalt. She took a few steps, turned to look once more at the pilot who shot her off a quick salute, gave him a small smile and a wave, and headed off into the parking lot in search of Captain Millar.
The first thing Kim noticed about her surroundings was that, while there was still a high level of activity around the PICL, the atmosphere was much less stressed. The cops knew that whatever danger there had been had passed and they seemed to be milling about, waiting for instructions as to what to do next. Several ambulances had arrived, although thankfully they had little to do beyond treated a few minor cuts and bruises and the Middleton Fire Department similarly had nothing to do. As the cheerleader was wandering through the various official vehicles that littered the parking lot, she glanced up and to her right and she paused to look at the spot where Shego had blasted her way out of the building. She suddenly felt so tired, just standing there and looking at the interruption in the wall, like the weight of the world was on her shoulders.
She was once again brought out of her thoughts when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She jumped slightly (she had been feeling a little jittery since she had landed on the side of the Middleton Mountains) and turned to see who it was that had gotten her attention. It was just another nameless, faceless police officer, one of the thousand that she had come across in her career. She was always polite to those in law enforcement, but had given up long ago trying to remember all of them. She tried to smile at this particularly young looking officer but couldn't seem to get her muscles to cooperate. Part of it was her extreme physical and emotional exhaustion and part of it was that she just didn't give a damn at the moment. On an intellectual level, she knew that wasn't the best attitude to have just then, but it was how she felt nonetheless.
"Are you okay, Ms. Possible?" the man asked her. His expression had started out as one of questioning but quickly changed to one of concern when he saw the gash that was on her forehead; at some point during the night, she had lost the makeshift bandage that Ron had placed over it. Kim blinked twice before clearing her throat and answering him.
"Yeah, I'm fine officer, just a little tired, that's all." This time she was able to flash him a smile, albeit a very weak one.
"That's a pretty nasty gash you've got there. Why don't you head on over to one of the EMT stations and get it checked out?" he asked her, all the time keeping his smile but looking at her skeptically.
A flash of annoyance ran through the heroine. She already had one mother and she sure as hell didn't need another one. The redhead was about to tell this noisy cop off when she realized that he was just trying to be helpful. She gave a single, silent, humorless chuckle at the foul mood that she was in and reminded herself to be careful not to bite someone's head off.
"Thanks officer, I think I'll do that. Where is it?
The officer pointed off to a corner of the parking lot where there was a concentration of ambulances. She looked over at them, turned back to the officer, gave him another smile, and then headed off in that direction. She wasn't in any real hurry and walked to her destination slowly, a woman without a mission or a purpose. She wasn't even sure why she was going to the ambulances in the first place; the cut on her forehead no longer bled and was now nothing more than a dull ache.
Still, she had nothing better to do at the moment and was convinced that any second now, someone was going to recognize her and summon her off to her debriefing. She wasn't really paying attention to anything, walking with her head pointed down and becoming lost once again in her self-pity, when she heard a very familiar male voice call out to her. The cheerleader stopped walking and looked up at the sound of her name, trying to find the source and her eyes rested upon the only thing she really wanted see just then.
Ron had been sitting on the edge of one of open ambulances but had risen once he saw Kim come into view. For a moment, all she did was take a good, long look at him. He seemed to be just as tired as she was, if not more so, but the key difference between his disposition and hers was that he was sporting a small smile for her. She suddenly realized that, while she prided herself on being an independent woman, every now and then all she wanted to do was to be wrapped up in his arms and comforted.
And that was exactly what happened. Her boyfriend, sensing the need in the girl that he had known for over thirteen years, closed the gap between the two of them and took her in his arms. Kim encircled her arms around the small of his back, pulling him in as tight as she could while burying her face in the nape of his neck. There were no tears (those were reserved for only the most private and vulnerable of moments when it was just the two of them) but he could feel the sadness radiating off of her, although he wasn't exactly sure why. But the reason didn't matter, and all he concerned himself with was reassuring his redhead that, no matter what, he would love her and be there for her.
The young couple was allowed to enjoy their personal yet public moment, where the entire world dropped away except for the sweet embrace of the other, when the inevitable call to duty came. It was personified in the form of Lieutenant Daniel Riverez. He had caught a glimpse of Kim as she was talking to one of his officers and was prepared to intercept her then, to shuttle her off to the debriefing, but when he caught sight of where she was headed, he paused. The young woman had been through enough tonight to earn a moment to herself before the circus started again, but now that moment was over and it was time to go back to work.
Kim and Ron reluctantly separated when the heard the gentle clearing of Riverez's throat. The blond could tell that there was nothing she wanted to do less than turn and acknowledge the police Lieutenant, but with an understanding smile from him and a resigned sigh from her, she swiveled her head to the right, dropping her hands to her sides, and gave the interloper a questioning look.
"Umm, look, some of the GJ brass just arrived and they want me to escort you to the debriefing. So, if you want to follow me..." he trailed off, turning away from the two heroes and heading towards his car.
A few minutes later, both members of Team Possible found themselves in the back of a Middleton black-and-white, cruising well above the posted speed limit as the cop car screamed its way towards some unknown destination. Not that the two passengers cared; Ron was staring blankly out the front of the car, his arm around Kim, who was resting her head on his shoulder. The short ride passed in total silence, with the exception of the blaring siren, so it was easy for the occupants to notice the increase in noise as they neared the end of the ride and their destination, the Middleton Police Headquarters.
The entire scene in front of the modest building could have rivaled the chaos at the Photonic Imaging and Concealment Lab. The front lawn and most of the street was crawling with reporters, and it appeared that it wasn't just the local affiliates that had a presence there. Kim looked out the window on her side of the car and she could see reporters from Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN as Riverez maneuvered the car past the swelling crowd and around to the back of the building. She guessed, correctly, that when the local stations heard over their police scanners that a theft had taken place at a high security military research lab, they quickly bumped it up to the national desks in New York. Right now, some 50 million Americans were discovering what Kim and Ron knew intimately. Team Possible, and by extension Global Justice, had failed.
Thankfully, the officers that had been assigned crowd control were doing their jobs perfectly and there wasn't a reporter in sight when the two teens stepped out of the cop car and walked in the back entrance of the MPD building. First stop was Riverez's own office, where he told the two to wait while he went to see what was going on. The Lieutenant returned a few minutes later, instructing the two members of Team Possible to follow him. They left the small officer and headed off down a series of hallways, all stuffed with various officers rushing around, performing their various tasks and it looked to Ron like the chief had called in every cop on the force for duty that night.
When the blond brought his attention back from taking in his surroundings to the matter at hand, he noticed that he was now in the part of the building that held the interrogation rooms. It wasn't a place that he had spent a lot of time in over the five plus years of his career, mainly because once he and Kim had caught the bad guy, they turned over the prosecution to the proper authorities. The entire situation was all the more foreboding now he was the one being interrogated.
"Okay, Ms. Possible, Room One, Mr. Stoppable, Room 2," the police Lieutenant informed his guests.
Kim hung back for just a second to watch her boyfriend disappear into his own interrogation room before twisting the knob on her own door and stepping through. It was exactly what the redhead was expecting. The entire room couldn't have been more than seven by twelve feet, painted in a faded lime green that was pealing in several places. The wall that was adjacent to the hallway contained a large, one-way mirror and there was a metal table with two chairs set in the center.
But her attention was focused on the man sitting in one of the chairs. He was an older gentleman, perhaps in his mid fifties, but still in good shape with salt and pepper hair and half glasses over his blue-grey eyes. He was dressed in a dark charcoal suit and he had an air of importance about him as he continued to examine the contents of the open folder in front of him. After a moment, Kim took a step towards the mystery man and opened her mouth to introduce herself but was cut off when the man raised his index finger in a gesture telling her to wait and keep quiet. Unfortunately, it also had the unintended effect of informing Kim that the man thought she was of little importance, instantly putting the girl in an annoyed state of mind.
He took his time finishing up while the heroine just stood there, her displeasure at being blown off quickly turning into anger, when the man finally motioned for Kim to take the seat opposite him. The redhead narrowed her eyes at him, as he didn't even have the common curtsey to look up from his reports to look at her, but decided that given her less than stellar performance that night, she wasn't in a position to really argue with him. So, she reluctantly pulled back the cool metal chair and sat down.
After another minute passed in silence, the man finally looked up from his work and at his guess. The expression that he wore was not one that read 'friend'; it was at best indifferent and at worst openly hostile. He removed his glasses revealing an unobstructed view at his narrowed eyes as he quickly assessed the redhead in front of him. It was clear by the silent, mirthless chuckle that he was not impressed by the freelance GJ agent and he was not shy about sharing that opinion with his guest, which severed to place an even greater amount of distrust and anger towards the man in Kim.
"My name is Spencer Frederickson. I am both the Deputy Director for Global Justice and the Director of Operations. My job here is to determine what happened at the Photonic Imaging and Concealment Lab tonight and why there is now a kidnapping and espionage case sitting here in front of me instead of two captured criminals," he informed her, all ready placing the blame for the incident at the PICL squarely on Team Possible's shoulders.
Upon hearing that Frederickson was with GJ, an amount of confusion crept into Kim. "That's odd," she thought. "I always thought that GJ stood behind us but this guy seems pretty pissed. I wonder where Dr. Director is? I usually deal directly with her." The DDGJ seemed to anticipate her next question.
"The Director of Global Justice, Dr. Betty Director, is in a conference in Los Angles to assess that city's response plan to potential terrorist plots, so she asked me to step in and conduct this investigation. Now, why don't we start by you telling me what happened tonight."
It took the heroine a half hour to cover everything that she knew and she left nothing out, including how Shego had gotten the drop on her in the secret room and the destruction of a $30 million jet. The entire thing was difficult to relive, especially since her mistakes had caused someone under her command to be hospitalized. She made a mental note to go and visit Arrowhead in the hospital the next day to see how the woman was doing.
But while her thoughts centered on her own feelings over the mistakes made that night, the heroine completely missed the deepening frown and the ever-growing look of contempt that was Frederickson's expression. Quite frankly, he couldn't care less that she was only seventeen or that she felt bad about what had happened. In the end, Team Possible, the thorn in his side since he had taken over this job some three years ago, had fouled up royally. As Kim's tale wound ever closer to its conclusion, his thoughts turned more and more to the inevitable Senate hearings before the Select Committee on Intelligence. And they were an even less pleasant bunch of people to be around than he was.
When the cheerleader had finished recounting her tale, the DDGJ put down the pen he had been using to take notes with, sat back with arms crossed, and leveled his gaze at the woman across from him.
"Alright, Ms. Possible, there are just a few things I would like to clarify. When you were in Dr. Fedor's lab and had just discovered the holographic wall, why did you just enter the hidden room without making sure it was safe first?"
That certainly wasn't a question that Kim had been anticipating or one that she really had an answer to.
"Ah, I figured that Shego must have been knocked out when she didn't come charging back out of the room after me so I thought it was safe."
"So, you made a guess that you had knocked your opponent out simply because you had thrown her through a holographic wall?" Frederickson inquired incredulously.
"Well, yeah, I guess so..." Kim replied, with a bit more hesitation in her voice as she did not like where this conversation was going.
"And it was this miscalculation that almost got you killed, isn't that correct?"
"I have no idea if it almost got me killed or not. After Shego got the drop on me, I was out of it until Ron woke me up."
"Ah, yes, lets turn our attention to Mr. Stoppable, shall we?" he changed directions while flipping to another part of his report.
Now Kim was completely on the defensive. Say what you want about her, but there was no way this suit was going to criticize her boyfriend and get away with it.
"What exactly about Ron do you want to know?" she asked, with more than a little hostility in her voice. But the DDGJ dismissed it with a wave of his hand.
"On second thought, we'll cover that later. Tell me why you felt it necessary to destroy a $30 million dollar piece of government equipment in an unauthorized pursuit over a civilian population," he commanded.
Now that pissed the redhead off.
"Look," she started, pointing a finger at the man, "I did not destroy the jet, Shego did, and as for why we were in pursuit, it was because I didn't think it was a good idea to give those two a hostage, any hostage, let alone a top military scientist."
"I can understand that, but why didn't you call the Denver field office and arrange proper transportation? The pilot, what's-her-name, Arrowhead is not trained as a combat fighter pilot and the jet that you were in was considerably less agile and maneuverable than your opponent's."
"It was a judgment call. I wanted to make sure that we had a good lock on Shego's position before we lost her entirely so that GJ could send in a team to extract the Doctor."
"And how exactly were you tracking the villainess?"
"Wade had a lock on her jet via a Global Justice satellite."
"So, there really was no need for you to go after Shego in the first place then, was there? I mean, if a ten year old can track her movements from his house in suburban Middleton, why go after her in our jet in the first place?"
For that, Kim had no response. It had seemed like the absolute logical choice at the time, to use any means necessary to go after Shego while she had the chance. But, after listening to Frederickson's line of questioning, she was beginning to have her doubts. Why hadn't she just let Wade keep an eye on Shego and call in the cavalry? It would have been a hell of a lot safer and there wouldn't be a Global Justice pilot in the ICU right now.
The DDGJ, correctly interpreting the heroine's silence as a lack of an appropriate answer, pressed on with his attack.
"Could it be, Ms. Possible, that you took off after Shego in the reckless manner in which you did out of some need for revenge?"
"What?!" Kim was totally shocked by the accusation. She did the things she did because she believed that they were the best course of action at the time, not out of some desperate need to get one-up on her arch-foe. But Frederickson wasn't buying it.
"Come on, Ms. Possible. We both know that's what you wanted. She drew first blood, and you wanted some payback."
"No...," she stammered while shaking her head.
"You were beaten by her back in the lab."
"No...," she repeated over and over.
"You let her get away with the Mirage."
"No...," she wound not allow herself to believe that that was what had motivated her.
"And you were pissed because finally, Shego had won and you had lost and your ego just couldn't take it, could it?"
"No!' she all but screamed at the badgering attack of the agent in front of her.
"Tell me about your relationship with Ron Stoppable."
"Wha...?" she stammered. The older man was an expert interrogator, a skill that he had honed to razor sharp perfection in the thirty-some years he had spent s an agent of Global Justice. "Keep 'em off balance. Press them in one direction, then slam on the brakes and switch gears. They never know what hit 'em, and they always slip up," he remembered the words of his instructors at the academy. They were good lessons, and ones that he had learned well, as Kim Possible was finding out at the moment.
"You heard me. What is your relationship with Mr. Stoppable?"
"He's my best friend of fifteen years and my partner for over five."
Frederickson all ready knew that the two of them were seeing each other, and he was immensely surprised that she had left that fact out.
"Is that the entire extent of you relationship with him?"
Kim sighed. She had wanted to avoid bringing up the fact that she was dating Ron, not because she was ashamed of him or her love for him, but that it would lead to all sorts of uncomfortable questions, but it seemed as though this agent was well aware of the new dimension that their friendship had taken on in the last several weeks. She thought about lying to him to protect a still somewhat fragile relationship yet, seeing as how her interrogator knew she would be lying, she told the truth.
"No, Ron and I are currently seeing each other."
"Romantically?" It was an unnecessary question, but one designed to upset the redhead and keep her off balance.
"Yes, romantically," she replied, the annoyance evident in her voice.
"Don't you think that that is a huge conflict of interest, with him being both your partner and your lover?"
"No, I don't," she snapped back.
"So, if there ever came a time when it meant saving the world or saving your lover, which would you choose?"
It was the question that she had been dreading the most since she had fallen for her best friend. Which would she choose? She had thought a lot about it and, in the end, it was a question that had taken less than a second to answer, but it wasn't the answer that GJ would want to hear. She would save Ron. There was no question, no hesitation, no doubt in her mind that, while it may haunt her for the rest of her days, she would easily let millions die if it meant saving the one she loved.
But she couldn't tell him that. They'd disband Team Possible in a heartbeat. So, she chose the only option available to her. She kept quiet. Which, of course, was what Frederickson was expecting.
"All right, Ms. Possible, you don't have to answer. I think we both know the answer anyway, and God help us if you do ever find yourself in such a position. We're done here, but if there is a lesson to be learned from his debacle, it's that you allow your emotions to override your judgment. It was your rage and jealousy that helped Shego escape tonight and it will be your feelings for Mr. Stoppable that will eventually endanger us all. Think about that the next time Wade calls you in on another mission."
With that, he closed the file that had been sitting in front of him and placed it in a black leather briefcase that he retrieved from the floor beneath him. While he gathered up his things, Kim just sat there, not really paying attention to the GJ agent, absorbed in her thoughts. She thought his characterization of her motives that night were completely off base, and wanted desperately to argue the point with the man, but she knew she couldn't because at least part of what he was telling her was the truth. And it was something that she was going to have to talk to Ron about.
She wasn't brought out of her thoughts until she heard the creaking of the door to the interrogation room opening. Kim looked over her shoulder towards the sound and noticed that Fredrickson was all ready half way out the room when he turned back.
"The officer outside will escort you to one of the offices here. Mr. Stoppable is still wrapping up his debriefing and will along shortly. Goodnight," he informed her curtly and moved to exit into the hallway.
"Wait," Kim called out just before he disappeared. "Arrowhead. How is she?"
The DDGJ turned only his head to the right, and mumbled out, "She's stable and resting comfortably at Middleton Trauma." Then he shut the door, leaving Kim alone with her thoughts.
Ron wasn't exactly thrilled with the prospect of separate debriefings; he had seen enough cop shows to know that the first thing they did was split everyone up so that they could play one suspect off the other and the blond had a feeling that given all that had gone wrong that night, people would be looking to save their rears and find a scapegoat. Who better than the two agents that had fouled up the operation in the first place?
But, while he was going to keep his guard up, he wouldn't jump to any rash conclusions about his interrogator. So, the teen hero turned the knob and stepped into the small room. It was identical to the one that Kim currently found herself in, except that there was a different, yet no less friendly, man sitting down at the dull grey table. He was a portly man, easily pushing 300 pounds, and would have been thrown off the force by now if it weren't for the fact that he was the chief of police. Chief Luke Matthews was dressed in a cheep light grey suit whose white shirt was about a size too small and was straining against its buttons. And the man was sweating profusely, despite the air conditioning that ran throughout the station.
"Sit," he ordered the younger man in a voice that still contained some of the Southern twang it had picked up from his childhood in Alabama. Ron couldn't have cared less about the accent but the implication in his tone was that the hero was somehow his inferior. That tactic hadn't worked very well when Will Du had tried it two years ago and it certainly wasn't going to work now. The blond complied, however, more out of a sense that it was in his best interest not to upset the Chief of Police rather than the man's attempt at intimidation.
"Alright, boy, start talkin'."
"How in the hell did this man raise the nice, sweet cheerleader that I know? If anything, he should be Bon-Bon's father," Ron thought. Luke Matthews was the father of Tara Matthews, the blonde cheerleader that Ron had had a crush on in their sophomore year. But, past crushes aside, he still had a debriefing to get through, and it looked like it was going to be a rather unpleasant one at that. Besides, he had a girlfriend waiting for him when he was done.
So, he launched into his version of events. Like Kim, he left nothing out from the decision to go find his girlfriend instead of stopping the villains to his barking orders over an open frequency at his men to theft and destruction of police property, namely one police motorcycle. It seemed that although the bike that was ruined was actually driven by Riverez, they were still blaming him for it. At least it was only $30,000 instead of $30 million like the jet.
"Just who in the hell do you think you are?" the chief asked when Ron was done with his tale.
"Um, excuse me?"
"You heard me. Who gave you the authority to order my officers around? Who gave you the authority to take that motorcycle?"
That did it. All the anger that he had felt towards the Middleton PD over the years, all the put downs, and especially the actions of one Lieutenant that night came bubbling to the surface. Perhaps if he had the time to think it over, he would have realized that his next action wasn't the brightest of moves. But everything that had happened had created a cold fire deep within the man, a fire that had now been sparked to a white-hot intensity by Chief Matthews's boorish questions. So, instead of staying calm and answering the questions rationally, the teen lashed back.
"Oh, I don't know, perhaps it was the same person who gave your Lieutenant the authority to shoot at my partner without making sure that she was one of the good guys!"
The Chief just dismissed the accusation with a wave of his hand.
"Bah, that was a clean shoot. Besides, it was the girl's fault anyway."
"The girl's fault..." he managed to stammer. Rage went coursing through his system like some kind of narcotic, but one thought managed to pierce the fog of irrationality that was quickly setting in, and voiced it.
"The girl has a name, and it is Ms. Possible. I would appreciate it if you would address her properly. I believe she has earned that right." It was more of a command than a request, as the low, dangerous way in which he spoke it testified to.
"Whatever, it still comes down to the fact that Ms. Possible placed herself in that situation in the first place."
"So what you're saying is that people in this town have to be careful that they don't accidentally walk in front of a crazed cop with an itchy trigger finger? Otherwise it's their fault? Did I get that right, Chief?"
That hit a nerve. "Look, how dare you accuse me and my men of acting improperly? From where I'm sitting, its you who are in a heap of trouble."
"Trouble? What are you talking about, trouble?"
It was at this point that Matthews opened the folder sitting in front of him, flipping through its contents until he came upon what he was looking for.
"Well, lets see here, Mr. Stoppable. Why don't we start with obstruction of justice and interfering with a police investigation? Then, we can add on trespassing. Finally, we have theft of police property, destruction of police property, and grand theft auto. You are looking at over twenty years for this laundry list. What, no witty little comeback, Mr. Stoppable?"
Now there was another emotion that had been added to the mix of anger and hate that was swirling inside of Ron at the moment. Fear. It was starting to look like the Chief had found his sacrificial lamb and it was him. They would weave of story of selective fact and some proper spin and feed a story to the media of how it was the actions of one rogue GJ agent who flouted the law that caused the failure to apprehend the thieves at the PICL, despite the fact that it was surrounded by cops. When they were done with him, he'd be lucky to see sunlight again before his fortieth birthday.
This suspicion was confirmed when the next thing out of Matthews mouth was the Miranda rights. He then ordered Ron to stand up, which the blond complied with, mostly because he was in too much shock to argue with the stocky man. The Chief then walked around over to the teen's side of the table and in back of Ron, quickly grasping his right, hand, bringing it behind his back, and securing it in a set of handcuffs. He then repeated the process with his left hand and then roughly shoved the hero back down into his seat.
"Stay right there, I'll go get an officer to come get you and complete your booking," the Chief spat as his waddled over to the door. The man was just about to open it when it opened for him to reveal the figure of a man that Ron had never seen before. He was just about the opposite of Matthews, tall, lean, and looked like a man who wasn't to be messed with, but it didn't look like the Chief was picking up on his body language. Or maybe the man was just plain stupid.
"And who in the hell are you?" he asked the latest addition to the party.
"My name is Spencer Frederickson and I am the Deputy Director of Global Justice. I have orders from the Director herself to ensure that Mr. Stoppable is released from your custody when his debriefing is done without any charges."
"Ha," Matthews spat. "You may be some big shot out there in Washington, but around here, I call the shots. And young Mr. Stoppable has already been placed under arrest, so he's not going anywhere."
"I'm sorry you feel that way," Frederickson replied calmly and coolly, like a man who had all ready won the contest but his opponent didn't know it yet, raising his eyebrow just a bit. "There is just one other thing, however. You are not the last word when it comes to law enforcement in this town. The Governor of the State of Colorado is and I have a letter here that he drafted some fifteen minutes ago, at the behest of my Director, granting a full pardon to Mr. Stoppable here for any crime he may have committed in connection with the incident at the Photonic Imaging and Concealment Lab tonight."
At this, the DDGJ reached into the inner pocket of his suit jacket and produced a letter. It was a fax, but the chief could still easily recognize the Seal of the State of Colorado at the top and the signature of the Governor at the bottom. He had to read it twice to believe it, and even then he wasn't sure. What seventeen year old had enough clout to call in favors from on high? But, cut it anyway you wanted to, the letter amounted to a get-out-of-jail-free card. And it pissed him off.
"Son of a...," the man mumbled under his breath as he crushed the letter in his hands. He then stormed out of the interrogation room, yelling at the officer that was standing outside, "Get in there and release him. I'll be in my office."
By this time, Ron had turned around in his seat to get a better look at what was going on and he locked eyes with Frederickson. His savior did not seem to be pleased to be helping him out, however, and he wondered how badly Dr. Director had to twist his arm to get him to present that letter to the Chief.
"Look, Mr. Stoppable, I can't even begin to imagine what kind of friends you have made, but it doesn't change the fact that you and your partner screwed up tonight. From now on, I'll be watching you two. Oh, and you girlfriend is waiting for you in Riverez's office," Frederickson informed the blond and then closed the door, leaving the young officer to free the rather confused teen hero. When she had left, Ron began to tub his wrists for a moment to get the circulation back and then left to go find the only person he really wanted to be with at that moment. His girlfriend.
The buzzing was beginning to irritate her. The brunette was quite content in her own little world of peaceful black where there was no Draken, with his insane ranting, no inane plot that was destined to fail, no stupid gadget to steal, no wasted money and no Kim Possible to defeat her again. In fact, it was one of the few moments in recent days that she could remember feeling happy, or at least content. Unfortunately, her blissful silence was being invaded by the shrill alarm of her jet and, try as she might, she simply could not block the noise out.
Shego's all ready sour expression turned to one of annoyance, as her brow furrowed and her frown deepened. She shook her head slightly and her eyelids began to flutter as the once peaceful form of the villainess began to stir. Suddenly, with a start, the brunette snapped open her eyes and inhaled sharply, the momentary disorientation that comes from awaking clouding her mind. Her jade eyes darted about the instruments of the cockpit as she was caught up in a mild panic. It took but a fraction of a second, and Shego realized that she was still in her jet that was on autopilot, but it was informing her that something was wrong.
She quickly found the source of the alarm; she was dangerously low on fuel and her reserves had crept down to a mere ten percent. She reached over and punched a few quick commands into her on-board computer, activating her global positioning system and locating her position. The villainess was pleased to see that the autopilot had placed her is a holding pattern over their mountain lair and it was a simple matter of deactivating the system and retaking control of the plane. She began to transmit the entry code and the concealed hanger door that was embedded into one of the mountains slowly opened.
Shego circled the peak once more allowing the hanger door to fully open before she brought her jet out of its circular pattern and angled it so that she was lined up with the runway. The brunette slowed her speed, adjusted her flaps, and lowered the jet to the asphalt below. Unfortunately, the plasma blast that she had used on the GJ jet that had been following her had taken a lot out of her and she lost her concentration at the last moment. The cobalt fighter jarred into the runway with such force as to snap the front landing gear, instantly sending the nose of the aircraft crashing down and scrapping along the floor of the hanger in a shower of sparks until came to a gradual halt a mere thirty meters from the far hanger wall.
In a heartbeat, dozens of henchmen were at the site of the crash. Most converged on the jet itself, dousing the entire front end of the fuselage with a fire suppressing foam while a smaller contingent was dispatched to the hanger doors to begin immediate repairs so that their lair would remain secret. Approximately five minutes later, after which time the head of the fire fighting crew informed Draken that there was no longer any danger of an explosion ripping through the hanger, he ordered his henchmen to pop the canopy and see to Shego's well being.
A moment after that, they had placed a mobile set of metal stairs next to the jet and were frantically working on opening the slightly damaged and therefore stuck canopy. As they were working, a visual inspection of the interior was made; the brunette woman was unconscious and had slumped forward in her seat, held in place by the flight harness that she was wearing. It took them a few minutes, but eventually the metal and glass enclosure swung open giving them access to the interior.
"Careful, you buffoons," Draken called out when he saw that his henchmen were successful. "Make sure to support her neck. The last thing we need is a crippled sidekick right now!"
The two henchmen who were attempting to remove the villainess as gently as possible looked at each. For a moment, just the briefest of moments, both of them though that their employer was showing some compassion towards his second in command, but they should have known better. It was a common belief among the worker bee's in the Draken organization that he kept her around only because she provided the necessary muscle to counter Kim Possible. And every one of them was expecting some sort of confrontation between the two, whether now or in the future.
But that was neither here nor there and at present they had a job to do. Careful not to injure her further, they pushed her back so that she was resting against the cockpit seat. A quick glance at her showed that the villainess had hit her hear rather forcefully against the instrument panel, as evidenced by the fair sized bump that was growing and the smattering of blood that was matting down her hair. The one closer to Shego placed two fingers at the crook where her neck met her jaw-line and, for the most part, was rather indifferent when he felt her slow but steady pulse.
But while they couldn't care less about her well-being, they also knew that they didn't stand a chance against Team Possible without her. Heck, most times even Shego wasn't up to the challenge but she was still the best opposition that they had to Kim Possible, so precautions must be taken to ensure that she was in peak fighting form. The henchmen unhooked her harness and, while the first one supported her head and grabbed her under her arms, the other took hold of her knees and they lifted her out of her jet.
Two other henchmen had brought a stretcher to the top of the stairs and the young woman was placed upon the brown canvas and brought down and away from the blue jet. Draken gave a terse order to have her taken to her quarters where he would be in in a minute to check on her. He was no medical doctor, as his doctorate was in robotics and not medicine, but having spent more than half his life running from the law, he had picked up enough skills to be a proficient healer.
The blue skinned scientist watched as the his two lackeys took his right hand woman away then turned his attention towards the injured plane in front of him. The first part of his plan had worked to almost perfection; in fact, if it weren't for this last little bit here, there wouldn't have been a single hitch in the night's activities. So why didn't he better? He should be gloating to everyone within earshot about how he beat Kim Possible and how his latest plan was in full swing. But he just couldn't bring himself to care at the moment.
Perhaps it was the fact that the manner in which he had won was not the best experience of his life. Sure, he had beaten the buffoon and some local cop, but he had been humiliated not once but three times at the military lab. And while he had become somewhat desensitized to the humiliation that Shego dealt to him on each mission, there was something different about this time. Before, no matter what happened, he was always the boss, always in charge. Yet tonight, a shift had taken place. Shego had stopped taking orders and started giving them and was what was disturbing him. Their relationship had always been a fragile one; his supplied the money and she supplied the skill. But, while there were other sources of money in the world, her fighting skill was easily the best on his side of the law.
The mad genius was brought out of his brooding by the sound of one of his minions calling out his name. He shifted his gaze from the nose of the wrecked jet to the offending henchman and refocused his eyes, giving the man a look that wilted him on the spot. As his employer's stare became full of even more malice, the henchman came to the realization that Draken was slowly building up to detonation, which was enough to allow him to overcome his fears and blurt out his question as to what to do with the other man in the jet.
"Take him to one of the holding cells. I'll deal with him later," the evil genius replied darkly, his anger all ready beginning to subside as a malevolent grin began to grace his features. And although his eyes followed the unconscious holographics expert as his henchmen removed him from the room with little care, he had allowed his mind to once again wander as to the glory of his plan. The blue skinned man became so caught up in his daydream that he didn't realize when his hand absently found its way into the front pocket of his lab coat where it fingered the object that would help enable him to achieve his second greatest ambition, the elimination of Kim Possible.
After several minutes of enjoying his insane fantasy, he was brought back to reality with the clanking of metal on concrete as one of his minions, who was working on repairing the crippled jet's cockpit, dropped a wrench to the ground below. His head snapped in the direction of the sound as his once unfocused eyes now sought out the offending noise. The scientist was able to quickly locate the metallic tool on the dull grey tarmac and brought his piercing gaze up to his lackey, who cringed under the unwanted attention from his employer.
His all ready disfigured face took on an even more horrific note as the villain bared his teeth in a snarl, followed closely by a low, almost feral growl. His fury once again began to build to the ranting point when he was reminded that this fool of a peon was inconsequential and that he had much work to do if he was to pull of the second part of his self proclaimed brilliant plan. With his snarl slowly changing to a joker-esque grin, the mad scientist turned to head back to his lab, a soft laugh escaping from deep within him that was no less malevolent for its muted tone.
It had been several hours since the crash and the raven-haired vixen could be found resting quite comfortably in her own bed deep within Draken's lair. She had woken up a few minutes ago naturally, without the dubious benefit of alarms or warnings or any other unnatural intrusion into her peace. She rolled over onto her back, her jade eyes finally opening as she let her unfocused gaze wander over the uneven rocky surface of her ceiling.
She had only lost her concentration for a moment, but her timing could not have been worse and all it took to turn the end of the perfect mission into a life threatening crash was that single moment. Her frown deepened, how could she have let it happen? The villainess was sure that she had been at the top of her game, firing on all cylinders. She has beaten back not only a squad of Marines but she had also dealt a wonderful blow to prefect little Kimmie.
And they had won! The brunette couldn't have cared less what it was that the moron wanted this time, as she knew that his plan would eventually fail, but despite the fact that Kimmie and what's-his-name were there, they were still able to get away with the Mirage. And while the small metallic device was even less interesting to her than stories of Draken's childhood, she was quite curious as to why her employer wanted to bring along the geek from the lab. They had never taken hostages before and the little blue man only kidnapped people for their knowledge. Could it be that Draken once again had no idea what it was that she had stolen for him?
If that was the case, then he had spent a lot of time researching his latest plot for nothing. The villainess knew that anything that was guarded by a platoon of Marines wasn't something that was likely to be openly talked about in those loser chat rooms that he hung out in. No, he had done some digging to come across the Mirage just like he had to find references to the Neutronalizer, another top-secret military project. Perhaps the thing had some sort of password to activate it? Or maybe Draken had no idea how to work the damn thing and needed the scientist's help to get it to work? If that was the case, then her employer was going to have to do some serious persuading to get their captive to open up, and that was her department.
Sighing, Shego flung back the covers to her bed and, quickly swinging her legs over the side, propped herself up into a seated position. It was a good thing that she had woken up to find herself still in her mission jumpsuit; if she had discovered that someone had stripped her down to her bare essentials, then Draken was going to be two henchmen short very quickly. She rubbed her face to rid herself of the last of the remaining cobwebs and pushed herself off the surface of her bed, heading towards her private bath. Ten minutes later, the raven haired beauty felt much better, the grimy feeling that comes when one first awakes gone and dressed in a fresh green and black jumpsuit.
The second in command then made her way from her small suite of rooms towards the command center of their current lair. It was still quite early (the clock in her room had read 4:20 am when she had gotten into the shower) and Shego really wasn't expecting to find anyone up at the moment except for the couple of lackeys that were manning the graveyard shift. She was in no hurry, and in fact was just trying to kill some time with no real interest in what was going on just then, and so it was several minutes before she strolled up to the automatic doors at the heart of the lair and walked in.
The brunette instantly knew that something was amiss. The lighting in the large room was mostly off which even for the late shift was unusual, and all the terminals were off with the exception of Draken's personal workstation. She could see by the light of the gigantic fifty-foot screen that there was no one else in the room but her and the person who was sitting in her employer's oversized chair. The chair was large and made of a rich black leather and was just gaudy enough to show everyone in the room who was in charge. And who had the biggest ego to stroke.
But the real question was who was in the chair. It was currently turned away from her towards the video display, hiding the identity of its occupant from the evil vixen. She hoped that it wasn't one of the henchmen; not that she cared if one of those rejects sat in Draken's personal chair but she really didn't want to have to put up with one of his rants early in the morning or at any time of day for that matter.
Not really angry, but more exasperated at the stupidity of the actions of one of the lackeys, she took a few steps towards the only other person in the room, crossing half the distance before she addressed him.
"Alright, whoever you are, Dr. D's not going to like finding out that someone sat in his chair. So, why don't you do me and your health a favor and get up now," she commanded, with only the slightest trace of frustration in her voice.
"Why, Shego, I wasn't aware that you were so touchy over making sure no one sat in my chair but me. Thank you."
The response surprised her. She instantly recognized the voice as Draken's but she was sure that he would have turned and said something when she had entered the room, either to gloat or rant, neither of which the villainess wanted to hear. But complete silence was not something she was expecting from her boss and she had assumed, incorrectly it now seemed, that he was not the occupant of the chair. But, years of training and living with the blue skinned man had trained her to quickly recover from such surprises and it took but a second for her to slip once again into her supremely arrogant facade that she used on him.
"Ooooh, good one, Dr. D. You really sacred me there. Now, what's with all the lights being out? And what are you still doing up at this hour?"
"My, my, it seems someone is a little cranky after her little nap. For you information, I was supervising the repairs to the jet that was damaged tonight," he retorted. It wasn't often that the mad genius could be sardonic with his 'sidekick', but when it became necessary to spend a few million to fix a jet that she had damaged, he felt he could be a little more sarcastic with his employee today.
Shego felt a twinge of anger and embarrassment when Draken pointed out her mistake to her. Anger at herself for her mistake and embarrassment over the stupidity of it. And a little anger at her boss just because. But it was irrelevant and she was positive that he had not cleared the command center nor spent hours pouring over his console watching his minions repair her jet. So, she questioned him on it.
"You mean to tell me that you have spent hours watching those buffoons fix the jet? You need to get a life Dr. D," she baited him.
It worked. "Ah, that's only one of the many things I have been doing while you recovered in you room. Mostly, I was playing with my new toy, the Mirage," he said, with a tone of almost reverence for his latest prize. The small metallic box was sitting on the panel in front of him and just to his right so that it was in Shego line of sight. The villainess watched as the madman reached out with his small, girlish hand and picked up the device, turning it over so that he could get a good look at it. He then retracted his hand and both it and the Mirage disappeared from sight behind his chair.
The brunette was becoming a little irritated at his attitude this morning and her body language, with her hands on her hips and the obvious displeasure on her otherwise lovely face, screamed to anyone, "Whoa betide the unfortunate creature that should tangle with the predator in its element." She had stuck her neck out on the line for the Mirage and with Draken's holier-than-thou attitude of the moment, the twenty-something woman wanted some answers.
"Well, I'm glad that you have been having fun with your latest toy, but how exactly is it going to help us get Kim Possible? Or do you not have the faintest idea what it does?" she inquired that a disgusted laugh.
"You want to know what it does, Shego? Fine, I'll show you," her employer spat back with quite a bit of backbone behind his latest retort. It was then that the villainess heard a soft click and then a steadily growing humming sound coming from Draken's location, much like the one she had heard when she had first picked up the Mirage back at the military lab. Then she though she saw some sort of optical distortion hover around her boss' chair, but it was only for a second and she brushed it off as a trick that the low lighting was playing on her tired eyes. But when the chair started to spin in her direction and she got her first look at who was really sitting in it, there was no denying that a trick really had been played on her.
For it wasn't Draken that was in the chair to great her, but it was someone that she was very familiar with. From her horrible fashion sense ("Really, who wears olive cargos anyway?" she thought) to her fiery red hair, the evil beauty easily recognized the only person in the world who was her fighting equal. But the true dead giveaway was the always smug expression that the teen held, an expression reserved just for her. And it screamed, "That's right, Shego. I'm better than you, and I don't just think it. I know it. I'm Kim Possible and I can do anything! Like kicking your butt." It was the one thing in the world, the only thing in the world, that pissed her off more than Draken.
"Alright, Kimmie, I don't know how you got in here or what you've done with Draken, but I beat you once already tonight. Ready for a rematch, princess?" the villainess taunted as she slipped into a fighting stance.
Usually such a challenge from Shego would have elicited some kind of clichŽd, heroic response from the younger girl but instead the brunette was treated to a rather malevolent, almost crazed grin from her arch-foe. The heroine was leaning back in the leather chair, her legs crossed and her arms resting comfortably on the armrests. It was almost as if the redhead thought that Shego was no threat to her and so she would continue to lounge in her chair in an affront to everything the villainess had to offer in the way of martial arts.
This, of course, angered the vixen even more and as a low growl escaped from her, she lit her plasma charged hands, ready to finish what she had started in the secret room of the lab earlier that night. With a sharp cry, she launched herself at her opponent, all ready crossing the distance between them faster than even the greatest of sprinters could hope for. But she only got about half way when something totally unexpected happened. Kim laughed at her. And it wasn't a mirthful laugh or a girlish laugh or an amused laugh. It was an arrogant, hateful, almost insane laugh that escaped from her teen foe.
Shego came to a sudden halt about halfway to Kim as the chortle pierced through her rage-fogged mind and allowed a moment of doubt to enter. Had her near death experience earlier that night finally pushed the girl over the edge and into the abyss of insanity? The brunette would never have thought that the heroine would succumb to such a fate, but after hearing that, that...noise coming from the little girl, it made her pause. A sane Kim Possible was difficult enough to defeat; how hard would it be to take on one that was no longer playing with a full deck?
At the same time that Shego was wondering about Kim's mental health, the redhead began to slowly stretch her arms and legs, as if she had been relaxing all day and was trying to get the kinks out. She uncrossed her legs and leisurely used her arms to push herself up and out of the chair. The wicked grin had not left her face the entire time as she now lazily walked around to the back of the chair and, placing her arms across the top of the leather back, leaned into it as if she hadn't a care in the world.
"Well, well, Shego. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were actually scared of me. Say it isn't so! Could the great green and black terror actually has a yellow streak going down her back? Why don't you turn around so we can see?" Kim taunted, pushing the villainess further towards the point of absolute fury.
Her teasing had the desired effect. Despite the draining experience in her jet earlier that night, the brunette called forth an almost impossible amount of green fire to her hands and, if one was listening closely enough, you could hear the gnashing of her teeth and the constant growl of her rage. The evil woman wanted nothing more at that moment than to wipe that smug expression from her opponent's face, but she decided that it would be better if she had a little fun with the girl first.
"What's the matter, Kimmie? Too tired from our fight earlier? Need the chair to help stand up? I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself now, given your fragile condition."
The redhead gave off a quick, sharp laugh. "Please. Face it, Shego, an old woman like yourself couldn't even hit my sidekick let alone a martial arts expert like myself. Time to pack it in, grandma," Kim sneered at her foe. "But, if you really want to fight, okay, its your funeral," she concluded as she pushed the chair out of the way and slipped into her own fighting stance.
Nearly blinded by rage, the raven hair vixen was just about to start her charge at the soon-to-be-late Kim Possible when something struck her as amiss. There was no doubt that the overall impression of the girl in front of her told the villainess that it was Kim Possible but there were subtle differences in the way she looked now as compared to earlier that night. Her hair was a darker shade of red, more like the color of a rose than the orangeish hue it normally held. That could have simply been a trick of the lighting, but there were other things as well. Her cargos were missing the pockets and the stance that she had adopted was the sloppiest she had ever seen the heroine use. And was it possible that she was a few inches taller?
Kim took the opening presented by Shego's moment of hesitation. She dropped her hands and placed them on her hips, staring intently at the other woman with a look of pure contempt. It was then that it dawned on her what it was that her foe was looking at.
"Just because I may look a little different, Shego, doesn't mean I can't still knock you into next Tuesday. Bring it on."
That did it. Whatever doubts about the identity of the person standing in front of her vanished in a renewed wave of pure hate that overtook her psyche and she charged the redhead with all the grace of a raging rhino. What she lacked in grace, however, she more than made up for in power as every last ounce of plasma in her body came rushing to her hands. It took her exactly two seconds to finish the distance between the two of them and she brought back her right fist to give Kimmie some free plastic surgery.
In her haste, the villainess failed to notice the heroine reach down with her left hand and grasp at thin air, almost as if she was holding onto something. She fumbled with the imaginary object for a moment and then, finding what she was looking for, pressed the button on the side of the device. Instantly, the image of Kim Possible vanished and was replaced with Dr. Draken, dressed in his standard blue lab coat with the look of a man who had just swindled someone out of their life savings. The only difference was that he had a small black box, no larger than a pack of matches, attached to a strip of leather that was currently around his neck.
The transformation from Kim to Draken could not have happened sooner. Just as Shego was about to unleash a powerful right cross on the redhead, she found herself face to face with her employer. The shock was enough to not only stop her attack, but actually cause the villainess to stumble backwards, tripping over her own feet and spilling to the ground in front of the blue skinned scientist. Dumbfounded, all she could do was gawk at the strange sight in front of her.
Draken, however, was having the time of his life. It wasn't often, or ever, that he was able to put one over on his right hand woman, and he was savoring every moment of it. He took a moment to revel in the look of naked confusion and surprise on the brunette's face, drinking it in like ambrosia. The madman knew that she was going to make him pay of the trick he had pulled, but that lay in the future; right now, there was fun to be had, and he gave off another amused chuckle when Shego recoiled slightly as he outstretched his hand to help her up.
"What's the matter, Shego? Not happy to see me? I can go back to being Kim Possible if you'd like..." he teased in Kim's voice. His smile faded a little as he realized that, while his appearance might have returned to normal, his voice had not. After helping a still stunned Shego to her feet, he reached around and unbuckled the strap that was around his neck and pressed a button, turning the device off.
"Ah, now that's better," he declared in his own, raspy voice as he began to rub the front of his neck around his larynx. "The voice modulator really puts a strain on the Adam's apple."
Unfortunately, his brunette had yet to wrap her mind around what had just transpired. "How....What....Huh?" was all she manages to stammer out.
When he noticed that his 'sidekick' was suffering from a serious case of bewilderment, he decided to take pity on her and let her in on the secret. His face changed to show as much sympathy as he was capable of and he turned towards the console behind him, flicking a toggle switch on it which illuminated the large round table in the middle of the room. Both villain and villainess turned towards the new source of light, and when the brunette turned to question Draken, he merely motioned towards the nearest two chairs that circled the now lit table.
Taking the hint, the brunette walked over to where her boss had indicated, closely followed by him. As she sat down, Draken walked up next to her and, reaching down to remove something that was attached to the side of his lab coat, placed it on the table in front of Shego. Then he took his seat, tapped the small metallic object while informing the dark haired beauty, "Shego, you have just been a witness to the first successful test of the latest in espionage, the Mirage."
"The idea started to come together about four weeks ago. Do you remember the day I invented the voice modulator? Now that was a great day. I finally found a way to duplicate Kim Possible's voice and I was going to use it to destroy her and take over the world. When I informed you of my great discovery, do you remember what you said to me Shego? You said, 'What good is sounding like Kimmie? Once someone takes a look at you, they're going to see that you're not her. Maybe you can make some crank calls to her friends.' It hurt, once again you deflated my great plan, but then you said some off-handed remark in between your laughter. Something like its too bad you couldn't look like Kim Possible as well."
"That got me thinking. If I could look like her and talk like her, then I could successfully wreck her life and eliminate her, thus leaving nothing in between me and world domination. So, I began working on a way to change my appearance and look like the sassy teenager. Unfortunately, nothing I tried worked. Genetic manipulation, a mental projection into my victim's minds, holographics, everything was either unusable or would take years to create."
"So, I began looking for someone who had already invented what I needed and then it was a simple matter of stealing it. It took some time, but eventually I hacked my way into a secure Pentagon server, one that housed the records of all military research projects. And that's when I came across references to holographics and Mirage. After a few more days of digging, I was able to get to the complete file on the project, what it is, what it does, who built it. As luck would have it, it was conveniently located just a short plane ride from our latest base. And the Mirage seems to be working perfectly, based on your reaction."
His partner in crime took it all in and was, quite frankly, amazed at what she had just heard. Not only had Draken come up with a plan that might actually work, but he had actually taken one of her suggestions. Suddenly, his latest plan was much more interesting to her and she wanted to know more. But, old habits die hard and she couldn't pass up the opportunity to show up her employer, even if he was on quite a roll that night.
"Umm, Dr. D, I hate to burst your bubble, but your little Kimmie hologram isn't exactly perfect. If you hadn't....upset me so much, I would have pointed out the flaws in your appearance."
"Ah, you are correct, Shego, which is why we have enlisted the services of the inventor to help work out the bugs in the system. He might not be very cooperative when he wakes up, so I will need you to convince him that it is in his best interest to give it his best shot."
"Excellent. I can't wait to hear him explain to me why he lied to me back in his lab about not knowing anything about the Mirage. Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going back to bed."
With that, the brunette began to get up from her spot at the table when Draken reached out and grabbed her wrist to stop her from going just yet. It was nothing more than a reflexive action on his part, but instantly he knew that he had crossed a serious line. They both looked right his hand and then looked at each other, one with anger and the other with fear. A second later, the blue skinned man withdrew his hand as if it had been burned and looked at Shego with an apologetic smile.
"Just what, exactly, did you think you were doing?!" she demanded to know, her voice low and dangerous.
"Hehe, sorry, Shego, but I just wanted you to stay for a moment longer as there is something else I need you to do for the plan to work."
The evil vixen narrowed her eyes at him, trying to decide whether or not he was telling the truth. Deciding that he was more an idiot than a perv, she sat back down at the table.
Her boss gave her his best smile before reaching into a pocket on the inside of his lab coat and pulling out a piece of paper. He glanced at it for a second then handed it over to the brunette.
"I need you to acquire a few things for me. It's all on there, along with the location of where to get all of the items."
She took the list and looked it over. It was a short list, and a rather eclectic one at that. But what was interesting wasn't what was on the list but rather the locations that he had placed next to each item. She could easily think of a dozen different places where she could get the goods for her employer that would be ten times easier than the ones he had suggested and she pointed this out to him.
"No, my dear Shego, it is equally as important where you get those items from as the items themselves are. There are literally hundreds of different ways to enact phase B of this plan but the only way phase C will work is if we use stuff from those locations. I can tell you're confused. Get the items, go have some fun with our good friend Dr. Fedor, and I'll explain the whole thing to you. Including your role in the entire affair."
The brunette could not have been more confused if she tried. Ever since she left her bedroom that morning, it had been one twist after another, from the almost empty control room to Draken turning into Kim Possible to the mystifying list that she now had tucked into one of the pockets of her jumpsuit. She decided she needed some time alone to process everything that she had been told and to rest up for the coming missions that were in her near future. This time when she stood up, the mad genius didn't stop and she had made it all the way to the door when she remembered something and turned to face her boss, who had been heading over to retrieve his chair from across the room.
"Oh, one last thing, Dr. D," she asked in a disturbingly sweet voice. "What's this about me being old enough to be a grandmother?!"