Thy Holy Mountain Be Restored
"She had another flashback." The chief said to a wet Barkin, sitting in the office chair, his bandaged ankle propped up before him. Chief James Forsythe shrugged, "Or, she remembered everything she'd done, and couldn't live with it. Either way, she tried to bash her brains out in the back of the squad car." He paused, "That's why we took her to psych. She's dressed up in an "I love me" jacket right now….and I've called Judge Parsons for a civil commitment order."
"Committed?" What the hell?" Barken snarled. "She's-"
"Almost killed two people, severely injured 6 people, and is in a full scale psychotic break. I have six cops in the hospital, with an amazing collection of broken bones—bones broken because they did not wish to kill her." He paused, "If this happens again, I cannot ask them to take that risk—I'll have to order the use of lethal force, and she'll die. The other option is the padded cell, until we can figure out a way to get her better."
"What about her parents." Steve Barkin asked, "Don't they have to agree?"
"Nope—and to put it mildly, they dropped the ball on this." He said coldly, "Steve, I don't want to play hardball, but if they do try to get in the way, I can call Child Protective Services over—you have no idea how long they've been waiting to really crack down on Kim Possible…if that happens…" He sighed, "The court will probably end up terminating their parental rights. She'd go into permanent institutionalization until she's 18…maybe longer."
"That's wrong, James." Barkin told the chief.
"No. It sucks. There's a difference." He shook his head. "I wonder how long this has been building up?"
"What?" James looked over at him.
"Oh, cut the bull, Steve. We both saw the same thing in the service. Some guy, ready, always taking the mission…and then one thing happens, and BOOM!... Section 8 express." He paused, "Hell… maybe it's my fault as well. When she was just helping old folks, getting cats… but then the whole villain thing came up. I should have cracked down then."
"She did well against them." Barkin said, defensively.
"Yeah…which set her up for every second stringer that wanted a rep. You think that sick sack of shit would have buried anyone he met?" James winced, "Well, maybe he did—CSI is still going over all the evidence, but she was picked because of what she did."
"What about Stoppable?"
"Parents and Rabbi are here, talking with him… none of his teen friends, though." James shrugged, "I called in every damn favor I have Steve, and right now there's a news black out on this that you would not believe. It won't last. It can't last. That Rockwaller kid won't be in here forever, and when she gets out…" Steve frowned.
"I don't think she'll spread stories."
"I don't think so either and it doesn't matter—you saw her, Steve." Barkin nodded, painfully, and then took out his PDA and made a quick note. Bonnie would be visiting the school psychologist first thing in the morning, and he'd have to coordinate with the rest of the family.
Presuming he had a job. Steve Barkin knew that some people were going to wonder, aloud and at length, what he was doing in a car with a wanted felon and another teen, hunting a dangerous psychotic, instead of just calling the police first.
"What about Ms. Shego?"
"What about her? She saved six cops, and Kim…that's worth at least one 'get out of jail card' as far as I'm concerned. If FBI wants her, they'll have to go through channels—and the secretary's on two week vacation."
"What a mess." Barkin said. James nodded soberly.
"I know, Steve…and I don't know if there's any way out of this one. "
Ron and Shego looked at the monitor. Kim had been trying to slam her way out of the cell, but now she just was looking around. Shego had her leg in a pressure cast, only because she'd threatened physical violence to anyone who wanted to completely immobilize it, and a light cast adorned her broken arm.
"I heal fast—thank the comet." was her only comment to Ron. He looked up at her. She didn't looked healed now. Shego's face was a mass of bruises, mirroring his, her neck a mottled pattern where Kim had nearly throttled the life out of her. Ron looked just about as bad, he figured, his taped ribs sending jolts of agony through him whenever he moved to fast.
"Yeah." Ron said.
"How's the other kid?" Ron winced. Ron had visited Bonnie in the Emergency room. Catty Bonnie would have been better then the crying girl.
"It…was…wasn't her fault. She's sick… It wasn't her fault." Was all she could say to the police interviewer, over and over again. They'd finally decided to administer a mild sedative and put her to bed, waiting for her mother, who was flying back as fast as possible.
"Not real good, Shego." Ron said. It looked like Kim wasn't talking to herself, now, at least. The white straitjacket obscenely clashed with her paper pants. 'Suicide watch' the nurse had said, when they taken everything off Kim, including shoes and pants, replacing the pants with paper ones that couldn't be used to make a noose or any other tool, before placing her in the padded cell. They'd tried to strap her down, but evidently it triggered memories of the coffin. Kim had almost broken more bones, frantically writhing against the restraints, screaming about the dark and the worms, and they dared not give her any other medication until the full ramifications of the current mixture were ferreted out.
"Shit." Ron said, and suddenly turned to punch the wall. Shego stopped him with her good hand.
"Don't…Stoppable. Time enough for that later."
"Thanks for not killing her."
"I thought about it…but you came up with the stungun before I'd decided to fire up the plasma."
"Ronald?" Ron turned around.
"Rabbi Katz." He said. The older man looked at him, and Shego.
"Ronald… your parents and the chief would like to talk with you and Shego…"
"What about Kim's parents." The Rabbi looked away. "They'll be there. I think Dr. Possible is waiting for the toxicology report on her blood."
"I need to make a quick call." Shego said, "I'll be there in a minute." She continued, awkwardly walking down the hall. Ron walked up slowly, with Katz.
"What do we do, Rabbi?" He asked.
"Have faith…and give her all that we can." Rabbi Katz looked at Ron.
"Ronald. You and Shego and Mr. Barkin saved her life tonight. You saved those police officers lives and Bonnie's life." He smiled tiredly. "Remember your Talmud." Ron racked his brain and then nodded.
""He who saves one life is as if he had saved the whole world."" Ron frowned. "Don't take this wrong, Rabbi…can I cash that favor in for Kim?" Rabbi Katz looked at the tired, injured boy…no, man, in a sense deeper than any Bar Mitzvah could name, standing beside him by will power alone.
"You may get that chance, Ronald." He paused, "Because Kimberly will need you…and you may be the only person who can do it for her." He stopped and lightly put his hand on Ron's shoulder. "Ronald. You once came to me worried because the Bar Mitzvah signature was missing. I told you then that it didn't matter…and now, I tell you that of everyone in this building, there is nobody who can lay claim to the honor of being a just, kind, man, more than you can." Ron nodded, and opened the door into the small lounge.
His parents were their, along with Chief Forsythe. His parents hadn't seen him since he'd left with Shego, and his mother gasped.
"Ronald!" She hurried forward, and then paused, uncertain as to whether hug him…or strangle him, some deep part of Ron suggested. His father looked awkward. And a familiar form poked his head out of his shirt pocket.
"You ah…forgot your mole rat." He said, "It was at the house."
"Thanks, Dad… Mom…" Ron felt Rufus run up and then dipped his chin down so his pet could rub along it comfortingly, even though he couldn't feel anything but the dull ache. The Chief cleared his throat.
"Sit down, son, before you fall down." He looked at them all. "off the record, you, Shego and Barkin did a damned find job."
"I-" Ron started, and the chief raised his hand.
"A damned fine job, because nobody is dead." Then he sighed, "But equally off the record, there are going to be some major questions—why didn't you call the cops first, why didn't you officially report this in…"
"Will Mr. Barkin be in trouble?" Ron asked.
"Confidentially… possibly lots." The chief sighed. "Steve is my friend, Ronald. But I, and the educational authorities cannot ignore the fact that three of his students could have died today, and one, quite frankly, may never recover. That may also weigh on Kim's parents."
"They didn't know-" Ron started, hotly.
"And why not?" The chief responded. "One is a brain surgeon…and you're telling me she couldn't see the signs of a drug habit right in front of her face…and you might know that the minute I ran the name of the drug, I was told to keep it, in my sight, until someone came and got it. Two spooks from the NSA flew in from the military base, in this weather, picked it up and flew out…and I was told to forget it ever existed."
"Lot's of people owe Kim favors." Ron said.
"And someone may be vanishing down a hole for this one." The Chief replied. "OK, time to get to the official part of the meeting." He pulled out a recorder, and turned it on.
"Please state your name."
"Ronald Stoppable. I am making this recording as an official record. This may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand this?"
"Do you wish consul present?"
"Do you make these statements of your own free will, and with the understanding that no payment, or immunity from future prosecution is promised in return for your cooperation?"
"Do you affirm that you will tell the truth and the whole truth, as you understand it, under penalty of perjury?"
"Very well…let's start from the beginning."
For the next hour, Ron told them everything, including his fears about Kim and the fact that Barkin shared them. Forsythe nodded, not mentioning that right now detectives were also on their way to interview Kim's other teachers. It didn't look real good for Steve right now, Forsythe thought. If it had played out right, he'd be a hero, but it hadn't, and even if he hadn't outright broken any laws, he'd bent enough of them that… well the best administrator the school system had enjoyed might be taking early retirement. He finished the recording, just as the door opened and admitted Mr. and Ms. Possible.
The two were devastated. Their eyes were open wounds, and they were leaning against each other as if they would fall by themselves.
"We…spoke to Kimmie." Mr. Possible said.
"Did she…" Ron started.
"She really didn't recognize us, I don't think." Ms. Possible said. "She's not really aware of where she is." She paused, and in a flatter, 'professional' voice, continued, pulling out a sheaf of papers.
"Here is the toxicology report. In layman's terms, the combat drug Kim took had a number of serious effects on her prefrontal lobe, causing symptoms of paranoia, rage, and hyperactivity." She paused, pinching her nose. "The tranquilizers that she took to sleep, in the short run allowed her to sleep, but in the long run, led to a synergistic effect with the combat cocktail, and led to a full scale psychotic episode—voices, delusions, paranoia, all feeding off the earlier psychological trauma."
"How long?" Ron asked.
"We don't know…days, certainly, maybe longer. Not long after she got back from the hospital." She paused. "She had nightmares…such terrible nightmares, and she left the TV on…and said that helped." She paused, and her husband took her in his arms. "I should have realized that her change was suspicious, and checked… but I…I…" Ms. Possible was crying, and then turned to Ron. "You were right Ron…the signs were all there, but I didn't see them…I wanted to believe that it was over so badly, that Kimmie wasn't hurting any more." Her husband held her, as her demeanor deserted her completely and she began sobbing in his arms. Ron looked uncomfortable, and then saw Shego, open the door and motion to him. A quick look at his parents and the Chief showed that they were no longer concentrating on him, so Ron left.
"Not much time, Ron." Shego said.
"What? What do you mean?" Ron asked.
"The Chief in there is about to tell Kimmie's mom and dad that there's a civil commitment order coming down, to transfer her to the state institute for the criminally insane." Shego said, and raised a hand. "No, don't yell—it makes sense from where he is—you saw what Kimmie did, and trust me, there aren't many hospitals that could handle her if she went berserk again." Ron slid down the wall, ignoring the merely physical agony in favor of the worse mental agony.
"So what happens then?" Shego shrugged.
"Well, they dry her out, hop her up again on anti-psychotics, give her to a ton of nice men with lots of degrees and their own idea of what a properly adjusted teen should be, including some who don't like how she lived her life. If they do their job, and she doesn't kill herself, or go completely round the bend, they release her…some day. Maybe she'll even still be Kimmie... but don't bet on it." Shego paused, and then looked down at Ron. "More seriously, maybe she vanishes because some spook agency decides that she'd make a dandy agent. It's happened before, and they use…more nasty methods of persuasion." Ron held his head and moaned, then started as Shego smacked the top of his head.
"Don't you go out on me, kid…that's a loser attitude."
"What can we do?" He asked. "Talk to the chief?"
"He's made his mind up, and a lot of this stuff has been decided at a higher level." Shego said, "And you saw Kimmie's mom and dad—do you think they're in any condition to stop this…even if they could."
"Even if they could?" Ron blinked. "They're her…"
"Parents who let their kid go off and risk death? Who obviously were not keeping watch on her? Kid, you need to," And Shego suddenly brought her face close to Ron's, "grow up. You've always had the advantage that people cooperate with you—give you the benefit. That's over now. The cops and courts aren't your friends, they're your enemies."
"So I guess you are saying this to let me know how badly I screwed up. Thanks Shego." Ron said, too exhausted to create any real heat.
"Nope, I was thinking that this is a great time for Kimmie and you to take a little vacation."
"Vacation? They have her in a-"
"This place's security is a tinkertoy setup. You and Kimmie blew through worse in five seconds. Given your ribs, call it ten seconds. "
"Then what?" Ron said, thinking. "Where could we go…I could call Wade but-"
"Whoa! Think like a crook please. Do you want to implicate Wade in kidnapping?" Ron shook his head.
"But he's the only one who can arrange a flight."
"Don't forget your auntie Shego." Shego said, dangling a card in front of Ron's eyes. "Keycard for a very nice VTOL stealth transport, parked just three miles away in the park. Push this button to de-activate the stealth cloak and call it to you, and the controls are pretty automated. Call it my 'thanks for almost getting me killed' gift."
"But where?" Ron said, racking his brain.
"Oh… I think…Japan's nice this time of year. Remember, you visited a school there… In fact, a school full of ninjas, who do not need to keep Kimmie in an "I love me jacket." Shego laughed. "Hell, they'd probably treat her flipping out like a pop-quiz or something."
"You knew?" Ron asked.
"Please… after Monkey Fist came back and started ranting, nobody could not know. Dementor changed his phone number two days later—Drakken just got ear plugs and had me screen the calls." Abruptly she got serious. "But we don't have a lot of time. Now, I contacted the school and your sensei would love nothing more then to have you and Kimmie drop by—and he can keep his mouth shut. Japan's not real happy with the U.S. right now, so I don't see a lot of cooperation on extradition even if they do track you." She pointed towards the room where Kim was. "But once they move her, she'll be in a place that is no joke to get out of. Your choice." Ron didn't say anything for a moment.
"Because I think, everything else aside, that you love her. Not some stupid high school crush, but love, the real deal. I think you're the one most likely to pull her out. Not the doctors, and not her parents, you. But if she stays here, you won't have the option." She paused, "But understand this, Stoppable—do this and you can't contact anyone back here—that's how people get caught. If you do send a letter, do it only once, to your parents or Kim's…and send it via enough dead drop cut outs that they can't trace it back to you. You'll be a wanted felon, with another wanted felon, or mentally ill kidnap victim." She looked at him seriously, "This is big league stuff, kid—they catch you and they'll throw away the key. So you need to decide now, one hundred percent, what you're going to do and stick to it." Ron looked over at the blank wall, remembering Kim's look at him. He held Wade's Kimmunicator for a moment, and then put it down on the floor, pulling the batteries before he did.
"Let's go." Shego laughed,
"That's the spirit." She handed Ron another sheet of paper with a series of numbers on it.
"Remember your Naco money?"
"How can I forget, when you were using me as your money bank."
"Heh…well, I'm afraid you didn't impress your parents after that, so they've been depositing your Naco money in several trust fund accounts. They didn't tell you, but right now you have just over 10 million dollars. Probably more in a few years, since a little bird told me your dad had some nasty words about the legal ramifications of handing a minor millions of dollars." She pointed to the numbers on the paper. "In any case, I called in a favor from a friend, he does laundering for the gang down in Vice City, and he cracked the accounts. These are all individual accounts with banks that take customer confidentiality seriously—nobody's gonna be seizing or freezing them. There's just under 5 million in it—all I could get on short notice from your account."
"Five…" Ron said, blinking.
"Yep—don't' go nuts like you did last time, but if you're careful, you and Kimmie can live off the interest alone. Don't splash it around, don't attract attention, but money isn't a problem you need to worry about." She grinned. "Well, I figured you would say yes, and the acid I put on the main power bus bars should be cutting lights right about… " The lights died. " now. Did I mention that all the door alarms and locks are also tied to that power system? The back up only covers medical equipment." She finished, handing Ron some nightsight glasses.
"Let's go kid."
Kim's eyes were wide and unseeing at the same time. She didn't know who she was, where she was…the entire week was a swirling nightmare where only a few images emerged. Her choking Shego…the Feel of Ron as he pulled her gently to him, the sounds and lights of the doctors… Then the lights died and she whimpered, but looked up as a laser cut through the wall and Ron popped in.
"Hurry up, Ron—we're cutting it close."
"OK." Ron said, and walked over to Kim. "Hey, KP… ready for a trip?"
"Ron?" Kim asked.
"The same, KP." Rufus popped out and smiled at Kim. "Here… I hope this won't hurt…but we'll get you out of it pretty soon." Then, Kim was being lifted and pulled up moved outside the room, where Shego was holding her awkwardly, using all her strength to balance on her one good leg. Then she was covered in a blanket, put on a stretcher and rolled down a corridor. Shego and Ron were both wearing white coats, Kim saw, before she was covered. Kim heard noises.
"Clear the way!"
"Nobody's bothering us."
"Of course not Ron—we have a covered form, which equals…"
"Dead body, eugh."
"Yep—and real doctors are used to it. If we tried to use some stupid illness, we'd get a doctor pulling us over." Then Kim felt some coldness as they exited the building through a side door. She was still in the straitjacket, and when she moved, Ron would put a gentle hand on her, keeping her from rolling off the stretcher. As the stretcher bounced and rattled over the parking lot, there was a sudden hubhub from behind them.
"Press the button, Max!" Shego called. "I think our little discharge just got noted."
"What, you never saw " The Great Race"? Now I feel old, Stoppable." Then Kim heard the whine of turbines, and the sound of a door opening, extending a ramp. Inside, she felt the warm air and saw the light as the blanked was pulled off. Behind them, framed in the closing door, Kim saw flashlights waving wildly as people charged across the parking lot.
"Time to go!" Shego said, as Kim found herself placed in a seat where she stayed, passive. There was a shudder, as the aircraft took off.
Ron handled the controls—they were simple, and Shego seemed to want to make certain he could. The only nasty moment came up as they were passing the Pacific Coast, when the radar detector started bleeping. Shego looked down at the indicators.
"It's an AWACS and looks like a couple of AEW craft off the Pacific Fleet… they're also scrambling F-15's and F-22's from the air defense squadrons."
"Congratulations, kid, you're a supervillain." Shego said, grinning. "Don't worry, this crate's stealth will defeat anything they have in position—or they want to admit to."
"Thanks… are you coming with us?"
"Nope—you got everything you need, Ron…and I need to go steal candy from some babies to get back in good standing with the union." She chuckled, "Put me off in… Australia. I can also do some extra muddying of the waters for anyone looking for you." Ron nodded.
The flight took only a few hours—the craft, once well beyond the American air defense cordon, accelerated to Mach 3. They let Shego off just out of Brisbane, where it was 10:00 AM, and already growing warm. Shego paused, in the hatch, looking at Ron, then back at Kim, who had, still without saying much, curled into a fetal position, sleeping in the seat, covered with one of the craft's survival blankets. Rufus lay in the crook of her shoulder, calming her when she started to twitch.
"Ron…" Shego said, her face utterly serious. "One last thing."
"Forget the hero business. Get her life put back together, and then go make a life for yourself." Ron frowned. Shego saw it and shook her head. "No, it won't help us conquer the world…" Her voice dropped, "Even if we wanted to…" In a normal tone, she continued. "They'll find someone else. Before Kimmie, I was a hero…and before me, Nana Possible. There'll always be another hero to come along…and if heroes try to play the hero game too long, the odds always come up against them. Remember that." She smiled, "Good luck, kids." Then she was gone, the hatch shutting out the last view of Shego.
On the way to Japan, Ron kept the craft flying a bit slower than it could, to give him time to practice with the controls…and to think. He was flying one handed. Kim had woken up momentarily after Shego had left, and had silently grabbed his hand, and pressed it to her cheek, and was sleeping now, still holding onto it.
"Well buddy." Ron said to Rufus, "Think we did the right thing?" The mole rat gestured he didn't know.
"Neither do I…but Shego's right. No stopping now…and next stop, Japan…and the school." Ron hoped that Sensei would be as understanding as Shego had stated…
"I'm sorry, Mr. and Ms. P." He said, sending his thoughts thousands of miles back to where the distraught parents were, "But putting Kim in some kind of insane asylum wasn't the answer. I'll do my best. I swear it."
As the sun rose high, the green aircraft continued to fly towards the home islands, vanishing into a midday haze.
End Book I.
There will be an intermission.
The Chrysanthemum and the Sword (With apologies to Margaret Mead).
To heal, Kim needs rest and the monastery may be the place to do it. But even while helping her to become whole again, Ron has to deal with a number of distractions ranging from learning Japanese to Yakuza gangs trying to take over the local town, and a tech geek with too many brains and far too little wisdom. But his real challenge may be too much for anyone to handle.
Ron's spent his life in Kim's shadow, but now he needs to stand forward on his own, against enemies as bad as any he and Kim faced. Will he be up to the task?
Note: Some of the titles come from the song I was listening to when I plotted the story: Pride of Man.