Here we go.
Cyberwraith Nine makes no apologies for unfulfilled expectations, and reminds you (as well as anyone with actual ownership of Kim Possible and its subsequent characters, concepts, locations, and themes they being the Disney Empire, first among gods, best of the best, vilest of the vile, and all that lies between) that he does this of his own accord and for no profit. Now, having said all that, sit back and enjoy. I've got a good feeling about this one.
"Quacker pants, quacker pants!"
Kimmie bawled herself into a heap at the relentless teasings of the brown-haired girl. Her face ran slick with sorrow, and her breathing grew stuttered between tormented sobs. Her four-year-old life had never felt so miserable. The mud beneath the big oak tree blackened her knees, making her feel worse. "Quit it," she whined.
The brown-haired girl just laughed harder, and continued to point at the row of yellow ducks perpetually waddling across the front of Kimmie's overalls. "Look at you," she said. "You look stupid." The girl's own designer clothes joined in the mockery, shouting designer names at those less fortunate boobs around her in bold, tall lettering. Children gathered around at the show, and laughed when the brown-haired girl laughed, if only to avoid being next. "I bet your mommy helped you pick them out, huh?" taunted the brown-haired girl.
"Nu-uh," shot Kimmie, sniffling. It was true; she had seen them sitting in the back of the closet, leftovers of a box Nana Possible had sent over long ago when her first grandchild had come along. Her mother had shoved them far into the back, thinking Kimmie would never want to wear something so old. But Kimmie's bored explorations had oneday unearthed the very garment she now wore, and she knew on sight that it was exactly what she wanted to wear to her big, scary, first day of school. The little ducks had seemed unbearably adorable. Now she began to hate them, if only because they brought her such misery in the form of this loud-mouthed girl. "Lemmie alone!"
"Make me, Carrot Head!" retorted the girl.
"She said leave her 'lone!" A little boy marched up to the pair, having abandoned his red rubber ball in the mud. His tiny face held a galaxy of speckles, some from the mud and some from the sun. Unruly hair the color of wheat perched atop his head, never quite agreeing with itself on which way to face. His dark eyes flashed at the brown-haired girl. "Why're you pickin' on her, anyway?"
The brown-haired girl drew herself up. "I don't gotta tell you nothin'. I'm Bonnie Rock-waller, and my daddy says I don't hafta listen to pleeb-ee-ans like you." She clearly had no grasp of what the word meant, but it sounded importatant, and it drew an 'ooh' from the other children.
The little boy didn't budge. "I'm not a pee baby," he said. "Now leave her a'one." He looked up for a second, staring into the empty air before shooting Bonnie Rock-waller another glare. "And Rufus says you should leave her 'lone, too."
"Rufus?" The brown-haired girl snickered. The children snickered with her. "I don't see nobody, 'cept you, Crazy Boy. You gonna make me? The little boy stepped forward and shoved her hard, drawing a gasp from Kimmie and the other children. Bonnie fell back into the mud alongside Kimmie, arms pinwheeling, mouth opened wide in shock.
For a moment, she just lay there in disbelief. Then her lips parted for the mother of all howls as she began to sob uncontrollably. She wailed and kicked and fumed at the ruining of her expensive clothes so loudly that the teacher finally noticed the children gathered on the other side of the playground. The old lady descended upon them in a second, and deduced the situation without all the fuss or muss of having to ask anyone what had happened. "Ron Stoppable," she snapped, snaring the little boy's arm in her wizen fingers. "I saw what you did, young man," she lied. "I think someone needs take a good, long time out, until he learns the difference between right and wrong."
Kimmie watched the old teacher drag her hero across the playground and into the classroom. The little boy put up a fuss and made a spectacle of the whole situation. At one point, he even threw himself down on the ground, making everyone laugh. Everyone except Kimmie. She just stared, continuing to do so long after the teacher pulled him through the door. She could see him sitting at one of the desks inside, staring miserably at the tabletop, and speaking on occasion to a very tall person only he could see. 'He's weird...' Kimmie thought.
'But I like him.'
"You are certain this will be enough? I will suffer no failures."
Ivory walls caught and bounced the doubting words between themselves to fill the sanctum. The cavernous space held its master's voice with reverence and magnified its volume to assert his importance to the sanctum's single guest. A high, domed ceiling threw the words back down into the guest's face, making him feel ill at ease.
Towering plasma monitors stood at the greasy guest's side, his new additions to the room, and waited for their new owner's approval. So did the guest. He tugged at his starched collar and let loose with his best, safest smile. "Sir," Jack Hench told his client, "I stand by every one of my products. So you have no reason to fear, Mister Dementor."
Hench stopped short at the cold word. "Beg pardon?"
The man at his side hardly came up to Hench's waist, but this small technicality couldn't detract from his stature; he towered over the sanctum, regardless of his height. A glossy onyx helmet masked all but his features, which piled together in a scowl as he gazed upon the plasma screens. His thick arms linked together behind his back, broadening his barrel chest. The sheer presence he exuded kept any notions of weakness the villainous peddler might have about his newest client at bay.
"Professor," the man said again. "I have not spent years amassing wealth and power enough to take the world as my own simply to be called a 'Mister.' You will address me as 'Professor' Dementor."
Hunch tugged at his collar once more. "Yes," he said, "Of course. My apologies, Professor."
Dementor nodded. "Proceed."
Few of his clientele could intimidate Jack Hench anymore. His years in the business gave him a callous against the bizarre and frightening. Staring down the barrel of a ray gun, he could negotiate his asking price up without breaking a sweat. Hearing Dementor speak, Hench felt a chill running up his spine he hadn't felt since his early days. "As per your instructions, I've spared no expense in upgrading your security, and I've circumvented conventional means for a personal touch I think you're going to love."
"I'm particularly concerned about small intrusions. Aerial infiltration has been a problem in the past." Bitter memory pooled in Dementor's voice. "I will not suffer these any longer, either," he told Hench.
A remote control found its way to Hench's hand and altered one of the screens arrayed in front of them. Dementor's island fortress panned across the monitor: Ivory towers gleamed under the pale eye of a watchful moon; Opulent, Romanesque design fit for the twenty-first century, all within the confines of an island paradise; Massive archways connecting spires that challenged the heavens themselves.
The Master watched his realm unfold on the screen, as perfect as the day he had built it, but he didn't notice any change. Then he saw it: a tiny flash of red teased the screen, too brief to be believed until he saw another, and then another, dance in his skyline. Dementor leaned in, watching for the tiny fireflies. "What are those?"
"Those," answered Hench, with a prideful puff of his chest, "Are part of your new Sky Net Defense System." With the flick of a button, the panoramic view became a rotating schematic. The device on the screen was spherical, with tiny thrusters mounted at its rear, and a cyclopean, scarlet glare on its fore. "These are your eyes in the sky. They form an impenetrable screen of automated observation, and are directly linked to these…" Another button switched the schematic to that of four-pronged laser cannons the size of a small house. "Anything the sensor bugs detect, the auto cannons annihilate."
Dementor eyeballed the designs. An impressed noise whistled through his nose. "I approve. But you're certain…?" He cast a skeptical look back at Hench. "I thought my previous defenses impenetrable as well."
"Not to worry, sir. Whatever gaps that may exist are risk acceptable. Trust me."
Five bodies descended from the heavens. Shadows all, they made quick toward an ivory beacon dotting the seascape. They rode wings of gravity, and wore round and blackened masks over determined or fearful features.
"You'd have to be moving at terminal velocity through one of the system's blind spots," said Hench, "If you could even find one. That would take a HALO jump with a landing window of less than a hundred feet. No one can survive that."
The shadows fell into the island's interior at incredible speed. Windows and walkways rushed past faster than their goggled eye could follow, had they let their focus waver from the oncoming ground. They did not. The patrolling sentry drones did a double take at some perceived movement, only to catch sight of their empty wake and continue on, unperturbed.
At the last second, the five shadows flipped and landed in a crouch. Terminal velocity became a dead stop in the space of a frantic heartbeat, but nary a grunt came from any of the five. The marble pavement at their feet clicked softly at the tread of their boots, and nothing more.
Said the second shadow to the first, "Why aren't we dead, again?"
"I told you," whispered the first shadow, gesturing for the second to lower his voice. "Our suits are equipped with Inelastic Generators. The energy from the landing is dissipated harmlessly…" She watched the second and fifth shadows' heads tilt with confusion. "You don't understand a word I'm saying, do you?"
"Think of them as inertial dampeners," provided the fourth shadow.
The third shadow added, "Like on Star Trek."
A snap of the second shadow's fingers threatened their discovery. Luckily, none of the drones overhead paid the ground any mind. "See, now I get it." He lowered his goggles pointedly at the first shadow.
She rolled her eyes behind her mask. "Pardon me for not having a TV geek reference on hand."
"I forgive you," the second shadow assured her.
Dementor nodded. "Most satisfactory." A wave of his hand produced a chair, molded from the floor by unseen nanites. The marble throne rose up to catch him as he sat in front of the monitors. "So, tell me, Hench. What of my other securities?"
Irritation pulled at Hench's cheek. He disguised the twitch as a smile. A Hench Co. Product, merely satisfactory? If business hadn't been so slow (thanks in no small part to a certain, redheaded, walking SNAFU), he would have turned Dementor on his tin ear then and there. But thoughts of this fiscal quarter's dismal projections kept that smile right where it was.
Hench flipped through different schematics and images of upgrades his men had made to the island. The screens danced with laser cannons, missile drums, all-terrain tanks that flew above the ground, and a thousand other brilliant innovations that would put his company back in the black. "We've given you the Platinum Package. You now have enough firepower to repel a small army…while you wait for your own army to mobilize," he added slyly.
Dementor yawned. "All humdrum," he announced. "What concerns me is my sanctum." A dangerous look pierced his helmet, striking another chill up Hench's spine. "Mister Hench, I cannot stress enough the importance of this building's security."
"Not to worry." A map of the island appeared across the screens at Hench's whim, and zoomed into the island's center. There, the tallest tower Dementor coveted above all others grew into prominence. Rolling text began to frame its wire outline, detailing Hench's brilliance. "I saved the best for last, Professor."
Five shadows ghosted through the compound. Their shapely leader spoke in gestures, leading them on a winding path through Romanesque walkways, between obelisks of pristine stone, down lanes lined with flora both exotic and fragrant. No living soul stood in their path. The untrained eye would find no wrongs in this contemporary Eden. But the first shadow knew better.
Every piece of tile within a hundred yards of your sanctum is wired with pressure sensors," explained Hench. "The network is controlled by one of the most sophisticated AI programs on the planet, capable of differentiating between the local fauna and any potential threats." He grinned. "If an overweight squirrel decides to attack, he'll activate a series of shrapnel cannons hidden in pop-up turrets—" Another schematic. "—and presto! Puree."
The first shadow touched the visor of her mask. Her night vision came alive with criss-crossing grids of glowing green, detailing a sea of wiring hidden within the ground. In another few steps, they would be atop the thin pathways. Sensors, no doubt. Clever.
With wordless instructions, she halted her fellow shades. More gestures bid the third and fourth shadows forward. They pulled from their packs a wealth of equipment, which their skilled hands constructed within seconds into a grapnel gun and tripod. Twin spears protruded from the cannon, one at each end. Working together, the third and fourth chose their angle and fired, forming a narrow nylon bridge with a hiss of CO2. One end sunk into the ground behind them, while the other impacted with a quick chink! on the outer wall of the sanctum.
One by one, the shadows traversed the sensor sea, crawling, hanging, from the swaying tension wire. The first shadow's visor saw fast a moat of safety around the keep: a gap in the sensors, she guessed, for henchmen to patrol. Once safely over unmonitored ground, they dropped, one by one, and sought shelter behind a corpulent shrub sculpted in the stocky scientist's effigy.
The door lay in sight. But so too did more problems.
"Assuming someone does get past that, they'll have to deal with the door."
Dementor leaned forward. He stared over steepled fingers at the zoomed schematic of his home and said, "You've doubled the guard, yes?"
Hench grinned. "Tripled. With my best, most experienced men."
"Twelve guards for one door?" hissed the fifth shadow. "That's extreme."
The first shadow had a hard time disagreeing. Numbers didn't intimidate her, but she wasn't ready to tip their hand just yet. She knew she could do it, but (loathe though she was to admit) there was another better suited to the task. "Remember," she whispered, "Low key." A pause. "Are you sure you won't need…?" When she turned, the second shadow was gone. "…help."
Surprise twisted the heads of the third, fourth, and fifth shadows in their fruitless search for the second. "Where'd he go," whispered the fifth. "Wasn't he just—"
"Shhh," the first shadow chided her, "Or you'll miss it." She crouched behind the shrub Dementor's leg, motioning for her fellows to follow suit. Their attention fell into the vigilant throng standing watch at the keep's single door. Excitement quickened the first shadow's heartbeat. A smile blossomed beneath her mask. "I love watching him work," she confessed in a ghostly voice.
"These men are a product of our new training and conditioning." Pride threatened the buttons at Hench's inflating chest, and not without justification. "Each one of them is worth a squad of your previous men."
Order reigned at the door, enforced by twelve pillars of uniformed muscle devoid of mercy. But order succumbed to chaos as two of the guards toppled forward, clutching at unseen injuries in their necks in the brief time between pain and unconsciousness. Two more fell from the same affliction before the first pair hit the ground.
The gathered shadows spotted neither the darts or their origins, nor their comrade. Then the second shadow melted from the darkness above the guards and fell between them. The air crackled with the sting of his fist. His aim was true, his blows precise; four fell, one at the end of each of his limbs, before he landed in a crouch.
Those remaining turned at the thud of their fellows' falls. A faceless demon leapt at them from the gaps in their formation. Bone cracked beneath the shadow's foot. Breath rushed at the touch of his elbow. His movement was fluid, flawless, until only one set of eyes remained to keep vigil over the door: his.
"Dude," breathed the third shadow.
"Sweet," agreed the fourth shadow.
"And the facility itself?" inquired Dementor.
Flashing schematics. "We've doubled the number of guard houses inside, and increased surveillance coverage by forty-six percent." One image surfaced above the tide of wire frames. "And of course, we've given the superstructure a face lift, starting with a two-ton solid titanium door equipped with a crypto-impervious lock. If anyone wants in, they have to talk to you."
Impressive boasts meant nothing to Dementor. "You're certain," he pressed.
"In a word? Unbeatable."
The fourth and third shadows hunkered by the door while their comrades hid a mountain of insensate guards in the bushes. A thin blue device hummed softly between them, and informed them in proud red letters that their algorithms had worked. Triumphant, they withdrew the jack from the door's data terminal and handed their tool back to the first shadow. She gave them both a congratulatory pat on the shoulder as the titanic gates before them rumbled open at a snail's pace.
"Let's go," said the first shadow, and led the charge in.
Dementor's satisfied nod ended the presentation. A flick of Hench's remote banished the screens into secret slots in the floor that sealed seamlessly after. "I am pleased," said Dementor.
Hench doubted that the man had ever uttered higher praise. "Thank you, Professor." The good vibes bolstered his courage, and so he asked the question burning in his mind through these past few weeks of work. "Professor, if you don't mind me asking, why the sudden, drastic increase in security?" Danger flashed back into Dementor's glare, hastening Hench to say, "Just as a matter of professional curiosity, of course. A lot of people say, 'Damn the expense.'" He shrugged. "You're the first in my experience to actually mean it."
The stocky scientist considered Hench for a moment. Whatever thoughts germinating in his head blossomed into a smile. He took Hench by the arm and led him in a ponderous gait toward the center of his sprawling sanctum. "You are good at what you do, Mister Hench. I see your reputation is well-earned." Two praises for one job? It set a new precedent in Hench's book. "And so," continued Dementor, "I will show you what your efforts have all been for."
Dementor's thick hands clapped twice as they reached the sanctum's center, a point at which the tile spiraled together into a swirling focus. That point now slid apart, bracketing into an iris which poured forth a column of golden light. Hench squinted into the beam and saw a small object rising in its core. As his eyes adjusted, he was able to decipher the object's shape.
"This," said Dementor, unveiling his treasure. His eyes shone with adulation.
The object sparking Dementor's awe flooded Hench with confusion and anger. "This?" He gestured to the silver cylinder trimmed with red. "You installed a multi-billion dollar defense network to protect your thermos? I devoted my entire operation to protect your thermos?"
Silence thundered at the tail of Hench's disbelief. It rotted the humor on Dementor's masked features into mildewed disgust. "This is the Pan-Dimensional Vortex Inducer," he uttered.
The name hammered Hench in the gut. He gasped, and his eyes bugged. "So this is it," said Hench. He leaned in and examined the rotating cylinder, whistling low. "It's smaller than I thought. Could it really take out an area the size of—"
"—Nevada," affirmed Dementor. "But more valuable is the nearly limitless supply of energy it can provide me." His fist rose slowly in anticipation. "And upon the completion of my latest creation, I, Professor Dementor, will—"
"Mmm-hmm." Hench stepped back. "And I'm sure it'll be fabulous. Top notch. Now I see why you needed all this protection."
The arms dealer breathed a silent prayer of thanks as Dementor's train of thought derailed off of his impending speech. "So I have your assurances," said Dementor, "That my sanctum is now impervious."
"Professor, please." Hench laughed. "Even if someone got past the sky net, the pressure sensors, the new guards, and the door, they'd have to get through the Kill-Bots stationed outside this very room."
And right on cue, the wall exploded inward. Stone and mortar showered the men, painting them white with dust. Twin robots rode the coattails of the rubble, tumbling through the air, each wrestling with suits obsidian mounted on their backs that whooped with excitement. The insect-like droids bucked, whipping titanium tendrils at their jockeys. Piston legs drove them ten, twenty, thirty feet into the air, but the riders would not be dissuaded.
The intruders grasped their steeds' sensory antennae and tugged. With a warbled screech, the machines twisted in midair. They slammed into each other, bursting into conflagration as the black-clad intruders leapt and rolled to safety. Fire and metal diced the air with white-hot fury. The twin wrecks fell to the ground and exploded again, all before the two figures landed with preternatural grace.
Dementor coughed a cloud of his sanctum free of his lungs and stood. Pieces of the room fell from his jacket. "What is this," he cried. "Intruders? Impossible!"
One intruder stepped forward. Gloved fingers worked at the edge of a full-coverage mask, peeling it away to reveal resolute features. "Actually, it is possible," crowed the intruder. Chestnut eyebrows waggled playfully. "Jim Possible."
His ally tore his mask away as well. A sour face sat beneath it. "I can't believe you got to deliver the line," Tim groused.
Jim whirled about. "Oh, you so didn't start this again," he said.
Tim's marching steps clomped and re-clomped in the echoing chamber. "Damn straight," he said. His arms folded across his infiltration harness as he squared off against his mirror image. "It isn't fair."
"We flipped a coin!" shouted Jim.
"Yeah," sniffed Tim, "Your coin. Your double-headed coin."
Jim rolled his eyes. "Only so you didn't use yours, jerk."
Jim gasped. "You take that back!"
Both boys yelped when Hench rumbled up behind them and grabbed them by their collars. An angry storm brewed in his eyes, chasing all argument from the boys' mouths. "You two," he thundered. "How did you get past all my security?"
"Pretty easily," said Tim with a shrug. Like his brother, he seemed unruffled in the hands of the man whose crowning achievement they had just undone. "I did like the bit with the tiles, though. Those were neat."
"Yeah," agreed Jim with a nod. "The hardest part was figuring out who would say the line so you two'd be distracted to give Monique a chance to get the vortex thing." Then his eyes widened as he realized his faux pas. He shared a guilty look with his brother as they both said, "Oops."
Dementor spun with apoplectic speed and caught sight of a third figure dressed like the first pair mere steps from his precious Vortex Inducer. This intruder's togs clung to a curvier frame, and froze as Dementor drew from his jacket an Atomizer. "Not one step more, my dear," he warned her. He gestured with the end of his ray gun and said, "Your mask. Now."
Her shoulders slumped before she peeled her mask away. Mocha ire supplanted the dark visor and latex. "Nice one, Doublemint," she snapped to her betrayer and his doppelganger. She raised her hands, lest Dementor atomize her. "Some geniuses you two turned out to be."
"Lucky in brains," said Jim.
"—unlucky in villainous lair infiltration," Tim finished.
The Atomizer's gleaming, spiraled barrel encouraged Monique toward the twins in slow steps with hands in plain view. Hench shoved them all together and circled back to Dementor's side. He looked ready to chew the three teens apart on the spot, but Dementor was leagues ahead of Hench in anger. "You two," he snapped. "You are Possibles, no?" A rhetorical question; he could see it in their impish faces. He could smell it in that devil-may-care attitude. They reeked of meddler. "As far as I am concerned, your survival depends entirely on your next answer. Where is she?"
"Where's who?" the twins asked in playful unison.
Dementor's Atomizer quaked. "Where is Kim Possible," he demanded.
A second explosion of stonework shook the room, and Dementor found his answer riding on the back of another Kill-Bot. The insectoid machine flew dizzily on thrusters lit by blue fire, tracing a nonsensical path through a cloud of the sanctum's wall into the room. A red banner streamed behind the Kill-Bot rider's determined scowl as she choked up on her steed's delicate antennae. With a violent tug, she guided the Kill-Bot face first into the floor at Dementor's feet, forcing him and Hench to dive to safety as the powerful and insanely expensive droid collapsed into a heap of fiery scrap.
Dementor struck the tile hard. He slid across his polished floor, accumulating a thick pile of dust and debris at the shoulders. Once stopped, he cracked an eye, and felt a rush of hope; his Atomizer lay less than a foot from his face, and appeared undamaged. When he reached for it with sausage fingers, a black foot descended, smashing the Atomizer in one blow. Dementor's hopes sank as he craned his neck up to see what he already knew was there.
"What's up, Prof?" quipped Kim Possible. Her arms crossed at her chest as she stared down her nose at Dementor, wearing an infuriating look of superiority. A light film of dust clung to her stealth suit, making her seem to his awestruck eyes a living ghost whose haunting he couldn't escape. Three more appeared from behind, basking in the safety of her presence. "Hope it's okay that we just dropped in unexpected."
A sneer lit Dementor's lips as he stood and brushed himself clean. "Kimberly Possible. You must think yourself very clever to have bypassed my new security."
She smiled. "Maybe just a smidge," she admitted, indicating the measure with thumb and forefinger a hair's breadth apart.
"Hench, your security is worthless!" Dementor's fury found the sheepish salesman and burned the babbling excuses from his tongue. "You promised me Possible-proofing, and provide instead window dressing and empty assurances." Eyes narrowed, Dementor added in a growl, "When I am through with you, you will be lucky to be selling blankets to Eskimos."
The man under attack collected himself by clearing his throat. He smoothed the wrinkles out of his thousand dollar suit before plumbing its interior pocket for a glossy black remote control. "Doctor Dementor—"
"Professor Dementor," he continued without pause, "When you buy the Hench Co. name, you receive the Hench Co. promise of quality. In this case," he said with a twinkle in his eye, "That means a secondary compliment of our finest Kill-Bots." With a smug look aimed at the teens, he told them, "Let's see you deal with this!" He pressed the control's biggest button. "Ha!"
He pressed it again with the same result. The button clicked beneath his thumb in staccato desperation. "I…I don't understand," he said. Sweat beaded at his brow. His thumb began to ache with the effort, all while Kim Possible and her friends stood with quizzical mockery in their eyes.
"You are trying my patience, Hench," warned Dementor.
"I don't understand," Hench said again. He rattled his remote against his palm. "There should be four more Kill-Bots—"
Laser light flitted through the wall and spacked against the sanctum's far wall. The air burned with the smell of ozone, and hummed with a roar muffled by the wall. A wail accompanied the rumble, pausing only a moment as the wall collapsed inward again, making way for a mounted Kill-Bot to spiral into the room on shrieking thrusters. Its pilot clutched the sensor antennae protruding from its head, matching the thrusters' noise with his own frantic cries. Three more of the Kill-Bots followed, spewing laser fire at their commandeered comrade.
Dementor watched more of his wall crumble and fall. "What did walls ever do to you people?" he bawled. "Haven't you heathens ever heard of a door?"
Kim seized the distraction; "Here," she said, tossing her Kimmunicator to her brothers' fumbling hands. "You know what to do." 'And so do I,' she added silently.
With practiced timing, she leapt into the air and caught hold of the lead Kill-Bot's spindly leg. The acceleration tore at her arms as she was pulled into the air on a wild and senseless course. Lasers from the other Kill-Bots nipped at her heels, which whipped about at each sudden turn. Her unwilling steed flitted near the top of the domed room at breakneck speed. One false move would turn her into a smear on the marble waiting below. And she loved every second of it.
A gymnastic flip carried her once around the metal leg for momentum, and then up to the mechanical creature's thorax. There, she found the last of her team perched at its neck juncture, holding on for dear life with his legs, jerking the antennae around without rhyme or reason. Odd as it sounded, his shrieks were source of comfort: a reminder that some things remained constant in their ever-changing world.
"Hey," she called, working her way toward the Kill-Bot's head.
The rider's billowing blond hair pivoted, revealing a frightened face of freckles. Chocolate eyes melted at the sight of her. "'Bout time," Ron Stoppable called back. He gave his antenna reins another tug that sent their ride through a loop, nearly unseating the both of them. "Y'know, James Dean made being leader of the pack look a lot easier." A laser burned past his ear as evidence, causing him to jerk the bug on a new and crazier course.
Kim reached him after a few more close calls and wedged herself behind him. Her arms reached around him and snatched one of the antennae from his grasp. "Here, let me." With a touch of sarcasm, she added, "I thought you were a ninja. What's the problem?"
"Yeah." Ron afforded her a nasty look before he and Kim ducked, keeping their heads from decorating a ceiling support strut by a narrow margin. "I must have slept through the class on kill ant-bot pressure points."
She glanced back at the trio of Kill-Bots, ignoring their photonic artillery, and saw them start to close the gap. "Turn left," she called, and jerked her grasped antenna accordingly.
"Okay," Ron yelled back, and pulled on his antenna.
"Ron, your other left."
"Oh, sorry. Right."
Working together, they guided their Kill-Bot back to the glowing yellow pillar at the sanctum's center. Their pursuers continued to chase them with merciless abandon, pouring forth a deadly wave of lasers that painted the room in blackened spatters. Undaunted, the heroic duo steered their steer into a colossal dive. Advanced AI within the trialing Kill-Bots figured it out a second too late, when the teens leapt clear of an expanding ball of flaming robot; unable to turn in time, they met the same fate with an ear-splitting squeal of metal crushed on stone.
Kim landed with grace the envy of cats. Ron just landed. He readjusted his heap of limbs and aches, staring up into the golden anti-gravity field next to his head, and the prize floating within it. "Ooh! Free toy inside," he quipped. He reached up from the floor and plucked the cylindrical Vortex Inducer out of the air. "Aw, man. I think I've already gotten this one before."
Dementor stomped toward the pair. The heat of the Kill-Bot wreckage paled next to the awesome intensity of his anger. "How dare you," he roared. "Relinquish my Pan-Dimensional Vortex Inducer this instant."
Kim helped Ron back to his feet. "I would," she grunted, "If you had your own."
"Yeah, dude." Ron spun the Inducer on the end of his fingertip. "Your two weeks are up, and the library wants it back." The power to destroy the entire island hung by the mercy of his dexterity, a thought so frightening that Kim snatched the Inducer from his finger and clutched it tight. He didn't seem to notice. A distant chorus of pops and bangs caught hold of his ear, and he cocked his head to listen. "Besides, I think you've got other problems."
The sounds reached Dementor. They had tripled in number before he recognized them. "Explosions?"
Jack Hench recognized the noises a second before. After all, he had been the one to design and install the devices making them. "Those are my auto cannons. Those are my auto cannons! How?" In his confusion, his eyes happened upon the plasma screens and controls he had built for Dementor. They had been liberated from the floor courtesy of the Twins Possible, who worked upon the readout arrays with devilish delight and a small handheld computer. "You two!"
He ran at them with uncharacteristic determination. Hench wasn't a fighter, he was a businessman. Others fought on his dime so he wouldn't have to. It was how he liked it. But for those two, he would make a violent exception. Only he never got the chance, because an errant foot struck into his path and sent him tumbling into a heap. He pulled his face out of the tile to the tune of a musical chuckle.
"I don't know," Monique said. "I thought about making a 'don't be trippin'' joke, but it seemed too obvious."
"You rotten little bi—" Hench rolled up to pounce on the teen. A piece of masonry he hadn't even seen in her hand flashed across his face. With a crack of stone, he saw only the inside of his eyelids.
Monique watched him fall back to the floor. She chucked the broken piece of wall aside and sniffed. "I got one. Hit the bricks, asshole." Then she giggled. "That felt good. Like, new pair of shoes good."
The commotion drew Dementor's attention to the screens. One by one, their security readouts dissolved into static. Blissful snow bounded between the monitors, until they each took on the visage of a round-faced smile. "What up, guys?"
"You!" Bereft of a name to put to the face, Dementor still recognized the Possible girl's techno sidekick. "This is impossible. My firewall cannot be breached."
"You're right," the collage of Wades admitted in harmony. "This net setup you've got is Tonka tough. But it doesn't mean beans when the Kimmunicator's hard-wired into the system courtesy of my favorite photocopies." His smiles grew.
Jim gave him a thumbs-up, and Tim said, "Take it, Pizza Face."
The domed ceiling shattered beneath an onslaught from outside. Huge chunks of rubble tumbled down, rocking the building. A fresh carpet of pristine stone scattered over the floor. With the roof gone, Dementor could hear the distant hammering of guns he had shelled out hard money for as they tore apart his beautiful home. "You…"
Kim grinned. "Hear that? That's the sound of your little empire crumbling." Then her demeanor grew somber. "Get used to it. Because the days of us running around, playing this little game? They're fading fast."
Dementor watched his enemies gather atop a large piece of the fallen dome. His insides clenched and drained away, leaving him cold and empty. "You will not get away with this, Kim Possible. I swear it."
"Isn't that our line?" asked Ron.
After a quick headcount, Kim turned back to Dementor with hands on hips. "It's been a blast," she said as a tremor ran beneath their feet. "But time flies, and so do we." At her cue, the five each touched a hand to their belts. Fire leapt from their boots, lifting them into the air. Monique had a moment of trouble keeping her balance in midair, but all of them took to the sky without terrible difficulty.
Dementor watched them rise up from the ashes of his sanctum. They flew up and out of his crushed ceiling with lighted steps. Their jets' flames joined those outside in painting the night sky red. Explosions shook dust free from cracks overhead, dyeing the smoke with shimmering white. "Curse you," he choked. "Curse you, Kim Possible…"
Jack Hench sat up from the floor with a groan. He rubbed his head, moaning, and examined the earthbound hell around him. "Maybe this is a bad time to talk about warranty," he said.
The Power of Friendship
To Be Continued