I kind of like to think of this story as sort of a 'Twilight Zone' type thing. Not quite so far off that one could call it an alternate reality, but just off enough to make things a bit different. This is set as if 'So the Drama' never occurred, just for fun.
Anyway, I have been having fun reading Monkey Fist's Deep Impact story (Which I recommend, by the way). I have not seen the movie, but I might rent it just to see where he is coming from. I really liked that kind of 'end of the world' scenario; his is the inspiration for this story. I thought however, that I might make it something a little closer to home, a pressing issue that is up and coming.
Disney owns Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable and all related content.
This story is rated 'M' for later scenes, and language (nothing to explicate mind you, but enough that I feel it is warranted).
So without further adieu…
The End and Beginning of Civilization
Chapter One The World Shakes
Oil. All of the modern world's society is built upon it, feeds off it, and needs it to survive. Oil provides gasoline to run our transportation systems, diesel fuel to power generators, trains, and trucks, kerosene for heating, plastic is made from it, pesticides for farming, synthetic cloth fibers, synthetic rubber, lubricants for machines, chap-stick, clothing….all are products that depend on that magical substance called oil.
Americans love oil. We love to get in our giant SUV's and drive twenty-five miles from our cookie cutter suburban neighborhoods, on crowded loud, unhealthy, congested highways to take our two kids to their little league baseball game, then drive them to the mall, and many other places; only exiting our cars when we arrive at our destination and trekking across scorching seas of asphalt into our place-less, ugly, wasteful warehouses of malls and retail stores that we force architects and city planners to build as generic and horrible as they can just so we can save a buck.
A car is the price you pay to live in America. You are forced to live on its highways and pay for it because you cannot get anywhere without it. You can't walk from your house on the cul-de-sac to the grocery store. You can't walk to school. You can't even walk to a gas station should your car run out of it. But it's not the governments fault. It's not the developers fault. It's not the schools, the architects, the city planners, the mayors, or the policeman's fault. It's your fault. You demanded to have that single family detached home, out in the 'burbs'. You wanted to 'keep up with the joneses'. You wanted 'your space'. You wanted to get out of the 'horrible' city. And now…now you get to understand why people began to live in cities in the first place.
Kim Possible stood on top of a medium rise building near downtown Detroit gazing across the city at the setting sun. Her red hair lightly blew around her shoulders and the smell of smoke filtered to her nose. Ron Stoppable, her best friend and sidekick set quietly near her feet looking out like she.
Kim's cloths reeked of smoke and she had small burn holes several places on her shirt. Small red spots were visible on her skin below, burns that sent a harmless, yet searing pain through her arms, shoulders, and stomach. Ron was the same, however for once, he was quite about pain; Rufus was asleep in his pocket. They had just finished one of their hardest and most painful missions to date. It was a rescue mission. One that had promised to be routine, but the lack of facts on the situation before their arrival had mislead them into believing that it was an ordinary mission.
A ten story, upper-class apartment building near downtown Detroit was on fire and residents were still trapped inside. The fire department was doing what it could, but there were still people they could not get to on the upper floors. Team Possible's task was to evacuate as many of those residents as possible before the building was completely engulfed. Those were the facts they knew when they had arrived on the scene three hours earlier, but what they saw when they got there shocked both Kim and Ron.
Upon approaching the scene Team Possible prepared to repel from the helicopter skid onto the roof of the apartment. The fire had yet to work its way that high in the building, so Kim and Ron would have no problem landing on the roof and working their way down to residents; then they would take them back up to be taken off by the helicopter. As Kim prepared their equipment, Ron watched the approaching scene though the open door of the copter. Ron and Rufus had started poking Kim franticly as they approached, yelling for her to look at what was happening.
At the base of the building was a ring of fire trucks, fireman, and police officers. Outside the police line, where normally there would be bystanders gawking there was a mob of no less than 1000 people. As they got closer Kim and Ron could tell that these people were no bystanders, they were yelling, cheering, and even throwing things at the fireman and policeman. They could not tell what they were saying over the roar of the helicopter but it appeared that they were not happy that they were tying to save the structure. Ron looked at Kim and worriedly asked her what she thought, she just shrugged and replied that they had a job to do, and it was saving lives.
As they descended down to the roof of the burning building a few of the residents still trapped had apparently seen them and had made there way to the roof. Ron set about attaching the harness to the people two at a time to hoist them up to the copter; while Kim made her way into the building to get more survivors out. In the next five minutes they rushed seven people up to the helicopter. Just as the flames began to lick the edge of the roof Kim yelled to Ron that she was going to do a final sweep, and if she was not back in two minutes to leave her behind. After a minute, as the flames began to grow higher above the edge of the roof Ron was near panic. He told the chopper to go on and went himself after Kim. Kim had gone down only one floor when she found the floor itself beginning to become unstable, and smoke filling the hallway. She did a quick run through of the immediate area then decided to turn back. As she turned the floor gave way under one foot. Kim was pinned as the fire spread around her, sparks and ash landing on her mission clothes. Kim was struggling to get free, pieces of floor breaking off around her, and the fire spreading above as Ron came bursting through the stairwell door only a few steps behind her.
"KP!" Ron yelled as he came up behind his struggling friend.
"Ron I'm stuck!" Kim yelled trying to stay calm but near panicked herself.
"Hold on Kim, I'll get you out." Ron said wrapping his arms around her waist, and yanking as hard as he could. Kim came free and they had tumbled to the floor. They were not out of danger yet, so Kim struggled to her feet, pulling Ron along with her, and then ran to the end of hallway, where there was a window.
Kim fired her grappling hook breaking the window and catching the top of a streetlight just in front of the building. Ron immediately clung to her as they dove out the window, narrowly avoiding the floor completely collapsing beneath them. The swung in a high arc above the fire-line, then landed with a short roll, just behind the policeman manning the barricade between the mob and the fire. Ron disengaged himself from his partner and Kim bounded to her feet as he popped up, checking Rufus on the way. Instead of the usual cheers and 'way to go' statements greeting Kim as they gathered themselves after a narrow escape, Kim and Ron heard booing, cursing, and someone even through a cup at them. People were yelling things like: "You should have let them burn!" and "You should have gone down with them for trying to get those people out!" Never had they heard or seen a thing such as this after a successful mission of saving lives. Kim was dumbstruck, and Ron just hugged himself, whimpering a little. Why on earth would these people want others to die? What could make them so angry?
Kim was roused from her daze as an officer shook her, thanking her for her help, and telling her several of them would help her get though the crowd safely and somewhere they could be picked up for their ride home. As the officers escorted them, quickly, though the mob of angry citizens, they sneered, continued to yell obscenities at them, and one even took a swipe at Ron. They soon left the crowd behind and headed deeper into downtown, where they would await their ride on the top of the closest police station. Kim turned to the closest officer.
"What was wrong with all those people? Why were they acting like that?"
"I'm sorry about that Miss Possible, those people, or at least some of them, are the ones who started that fire. The people you saved, on the roof. One of them was a top executive for an auto maker, and the other six were three executives from an oil company and their wives; who were visiting. That mob was a bunch of private citizens who were angered by today's announcement that gas prices were rising again by another twenty-five cents. It seems a group of them from some local bar found out where and when those executives would be at that apartment and formed a mob as they came down to protest. Before we knew it there were all those people out in front of the building, and a group of them had doused the front entry in gas and lit it on fire." Kim looked at the man in shock. There were 1000 angry people back there who had just tried to kill people because of the price of gasoline!
Kim could understand not liking the price of a gallon of gas those days, but to try and kill! It was absurd. Kim and Ron had both followed the news for the past year, they were well aware of the rising energy costs. The previous spring gas prices had risen dramatically and continued to rise throughout the summer, reaching nearly six dollars a gallon in the last week. Mr. Dr. Possible had been pulled from his previous projects to focus on helping to develop new sources for energy, and gasoline substitutes, but they were nowhere near a breakthrough yet. Kim's family had even had to cut back on driving to save money. She and Ron had walked most everywhere all summer, unless on a mission. Luckily Middleton was a compact city, and she lived close enough in that she could walk most anywhere she really needed to go. The trips to the mall for leisure had been eliminated, because it was further out of town, but overall life for Kim had changed only a little. She had heard, though, how awful it was living further out in the subdivisions beyond the mall. Bonnie lived out there and was extra crabby when she had seen her over the past summer; she had mentioned something about being trapped in her house.
This had gotten Kim's attention and she had asked Wade the run-down on the gasoline sich a few months back. Even he was being tapped by the space center for help on the energy research. He informed her that oil companies had come out and announced that they were producing at the highest capacity they could, but would have to slow production because of well supply. Gas prices would continue to rise indefinitely as a result. Kim had heard people complaining that it was the governments, automakers, and oil companies fault. Many claimed it was a conspiracy, but coming from a family so rooted in science Kim had asked her father the facts. He had re-enforced Wade's findings. It was not the oil companies fault, or anybody else's for that matter. The simple fact was that one could only pump so much oil out of the ground so fast, and as the well began to run dry it was harder and harder to get the oil out. He also added that it might get real bad for the world economy, and their way of life soon. His lab had been informed recently that the world's supply of oil had been drastically over-estimated to help ease public concerns. What he had told her had startled her, but did not scare her; that is until today.
Now Kim stood with Ron sitting beside her, wondering how bad it could get.
"How bad to you think it will get Ron?"
"I don't know KP….but it scares me."
One endnote: Yes I am an American, and yes I was raised, in part at least, in the suburbs, so don't think I am speaking out of inexperience or anything. I am not speaking for other individuals, and don't panic were not out of oil yet. I will let it be noted that I am at least a little partially biased because of my education in the fields of Architecture and Community Planning. Maybe I have just taken it too seriously…but hey what's life without a little controversy and passion here and there.