01—StARRlight Cruise

Ok, here's part one of the follow-up to "Breaking Out is So Not Easy". It's all mush in the beginning, but it picks up into action before long. Let's hope I can average better than a chapter a month this time, it feels like a long one. Mild adult situations herein, so mind the kiddies. (I plan to keep to the 'T' rating, but who knows.) Buckle your swashes, everyone, here it goes.

Kim Possible, characters and other elements are property of the Disney Company. Any dispute will be settled for the entirety of the profits from this venture, which total zero. Thank you.

Miss Taylor's heart was beating against her ribcage, like an imprisoned bird yearning to fly free. She was cornered in the cabin of the dread pirate Captain Steele, the most ruthless of seafaring villains ever to ply the Spanish Main. His handsome and rugged visage had but one remaining eye, a steely, azure blue. Whatsoever that eye fixed on, the dread pirate would take; Miss Taylor was in his sights now.

The captain drew closer to the innocent schoolteacher, who trembled from equal parts fear and anticipation. She meekly cried out, "Please, sir, I beg you; be gentle."

The captain replied, in a hoarse tenor, "Never."

He roughly tore her dress from her shoulder, causing it to slip and expose the corset beneath. He gripped her tightly; he could feel her rushing heart beneath her soft, yielding…


Bonnie Rockwaller looked up from her book, just in time to see the incoming volleyball. It impacted her face with a loud ping, ricocheting off to the other side of the deck. A small child ran after it, saying, "Geez, lady, nice catch!"

Bonnie cried out after him, her voice tense with excessive rage, "You skinny little monster! Come back here…" But he was gone.

The ship was a luxury liner, the "Caribbean Dream", and Bonnie was on a little summer vacation. She'd scrimped and saved for months to afford this cruise; however, despite the surroundings, the crisp, clean sea air, and the abundant activities, she couldn't enjoy herself at all. Every fantasy she had ever had about the joys of the sea, mostly fostered by her collection of nautical-themed romance novels, had fallen flat on this floating family tourist trap.

Feeling defeated, Bonnie collected her copy of Seized by the Seas, and headed below decks to her tiny inside stateroom to sulk. As passed through the hatch, she was brushed aside by a group of crewmen moving fast in the opposite direction. She yelled after them, "Watch it, morons! I'm a paying customer!" as she went below in a huff.

The crewmen's urgency was spurred on by the activity at the other end of the ship. Apparently, the captain had received a distress call, and made a minor detour on their course to collect some castaways.

As they reached the aft deck, the lifeboat was raised over the rail. Two very wet young people, and a hairless rodent, rode up with a couple of their crewmates.

Ron tried to dry himself off dog-style. "I swear, Kim, they looked like friendly robots to me!"

"Important safety tip, Ron. When a robot has saw blades for hands, assume it's unfriendly!" Kim's exasperation was compounded by her exhaustion. They'd gone to Dr. Drakken's Caribbean lair, to see if he'd yet again returned to it after his escape from prison. No such luck, the island was home to nothing but booby traps and seagulls.

"Well forgive me for not being a robot bigot, Kim! Uh, robogot? Robigot?" His train of thought crashed into the station. Many were killed.

The ship's captain, Frederique "Champy" Duchamp, arrived on the scene. He was a large Haitian man, overflowing with vitality and good humor. He slapped Kim on the back, and extended to her a hearty hand. "Miss Possible! How excellent to see you are well! Were you in the hospitality of the sea for very long?"

Kim winced from the sudden sting on her back. "Oh, no big, Captain Duchamp. We'd only been out there an hour or so, the water was fine."

"How did you come to be so far out without a boat?" The captain inquired.

"Oh, well we parachuted in to the island, and we'd planned to use my emergency life-raft backpack to escape, but Ron here…" She indicated her long time friend and recent boyfriend, "had to go and impale it on a spike trap!"

"Hey, if it hadn't been the backpack, it would have been my lung!" Ron replied, incredulously.

"Anyway, I'm just glad you came to pick us up." She hopped out onto the deck of the ship. Ron followed.

"It was the least I could do, after the unpleasantness you prevented on my brother's fishing trawler." He let out a boisterous laugh, "Honestly, who would try to trap boats with animate seaweed?"

"Apparently, Professor Dementor." Kim wrung some of the salt water out of her hair. "Ugh. I hate this grody salt-lick feeling. I'll call Wade and set up a helicopter to pick us up from here."

The captain laughed again. "My dear Miss Possible, I won't hear of it. We put into port at Tampa in the morning, and you can secure passage from there; but, for tonight you and your friend are my guests!"

Kim put her hands up in a dismissive gesture. "Oh no, sir! We could never…"

Ron butted in. "Might there be any sort of midnight buffet involved?"

"All you care to eat! And tonight is our Starlight Ball on the Lido deck; you will, of course, join us!" The captain slapped Ron on the back, twice as hard as before.

Kim tried to come up with a good excuse; she really wasn't comfortable with accepting such an offer. "Oh, we can't go to a formal event, all we have are the clothes on our…"

"Leave that to me, dear girl, we are always prepared—stewards!" The captain clapped twice. A gang of stewards surrounded Kim and Ron, and in a very unceremonious fashion, took their measurements. "Bring appropriate formal wear and sundry underpinnings for both these fine young people, on the double! Deliver it to—Mister Mate, what do we have that's not booked?"

The Executive Officer leaned in and whispered to the captain.

"Ah, excellent! Suite one! Double time, men! Miss Possible, you and your—what are you again, lad?"

Ron puffed up his chest. "I'm Ron Stoppable, and depending on the time of day I'm Kim's best friend, confidant, plucky sidekick, and/or cuddly cutie-bear!"

"Ron, ix-nay on the utiebear-cay!" Kim blushed, and softly punched his arm.

"Ouch, domestic incident!" Ron reeled back in no small amount of pain.

"Excellent! Then you two shall be taken to your suite, where you will bathe and rest up for tonight. All your needs will be taken care of, with my compliments. We are at your disposal!" The captain clapped again, and another group of stewards escorted Kim and Ron away, over some mild protests.

The steward opened the door at the end of the corridor, and gestured for Kim and Ron to enter.

The room was enormous, a wide open suite with a vaulted ceiling; one would almost wonder how it fit on the ship. The furniture and carpet were all extra plush, with a predominant red color scheme.

Ron let out a low whistle. "Dig the digs, KP!"

Rufus leapt from Ron's pocket, and made a bee-line for the full bar. He dove into the mini-fridge for some eighty-five-dollar cheese.

"Ron, we shouldn't take advantage of the captain's good nature, it's ferociously unethical for us to accept—is that a hot tub?" Kim's eye caught the bubbling spa, steaming away on a raised platform by the bay window.

Ron was on the wavelength. "Oooh, swank-tastic!"

"Oh, I guess it can't hurt just this once." Kim put on a sly little smirk.

Ron shook his head. "It's a total mootage anyway, we don't have any swimsuits to wear—whoa!" He quickly turned his head and covered his eyes, as Kim took off her shirt and tossed it aside.

"Ron, this is no big," Kim stripped to her underwear, and stepped down into the tub. "It's no more skin than a bathing suit. Come on in, it's not like I haven't seen your boxer shorts before."

Ron was doing battle with a frog for possession of his throat, and losing. He squeaked, "Kim, I'm not sure if we should…"

"Ron, lose the pants and get in the tub, now!"

"Ma'am, yes ma'am!" He stripped down, slid in, and hid under the foam of the tub in the span of a few seconds. He was a bit rattled, situations this intimate were still an adjustment for him; but after a few minutes had passed he managed to relax. "Okay, now this is nice. Hey, gar-con; a couple of cool beverages for my lady friend and myself, if you please."

Rufus filled a couple of glasses with ice, and gave them each a shot of cola from the bar's soda gun. He hiked over to the spa with a tray that, to him, was the size of a small car.

"You been working out, buddy? Nice!" Ron took his glass, and passed Kim's over to her. "Hey, Rufus, try and find the bubble jet controls." He turned his attention to Kim. "This is nice."

"Ron, you've said that already." Kim cracked one eye to glare at him.

"But it bears repeating, does it not?"

"Oh, it does indeed." Kim took a long sip on her drink. "Y'know, I really do like helping people; but, once in a while, I like to get back. I admit it! Am I a horrible person?"

Ron laid it on with a reassuring tone, "Kim, people less charitable than you have been the subject of worship. Let's compile a list: One, foils evil villains bent on global chaos and destruction. Two, helps anyone who asks, no matter how trivial it is. Three, sticks by me regardless of damage to social status or position. You make the peace corps look like lazy slackers!"

Rufus had trouble deciphering the buttons that controlled the tub; he started to press them randomly.

"Ron, so not! And knock it off with the hyperbole; flattery will get you—over to my side of the tub!" Kim took hold of the boy's arm, and dragged him across the gap before he could protest.

They roughhoused playfully at first; chasing each other around the six-foot circle of the tub. Kim caught hold of Ron again; she forced him down onto one of the benches, and plopped down in his lap, straddling him face-to-face.

Rufus tapped one of the keys, finally getting a response. All the lights in the room went dim. Low, bluesy funk music piped from the sound system. Mister Barry White's voice spoke to them from beyond the grave, sending out a musical message of timeless mind control. His command: get it on!

Ron and Kim were locked in a mutual hormone stare-down. It was decision time; the next minute could change their lives.

"Kim, I, uh, think that we're in the…" Ron squeaked.

"…Honeymoon Suite. Yeah, I figured that out." Kim started to either pant in anticipation or hyperventilate; accounts vary. "Do you want to…"

"Yes, more than anything, but I don't know if we should mmph bmphl rrrph!" He was interrupted by Kim's tongue blocking his airway. He slid his hands up her back, and settled on her bra strap.

Ron's mind raced as he fumbled with the clasp. Stupid thing! What is this, a combination lock? Ten left, fourteen right, twenty-three-b left—no. Okay, don't lose focus. It's so hard to concentrate with a tongue in my mouth. Is she using new toothpaste? One hook off, two to go! She's not fighting it, is she? No, good. Is Rufus staring at us? I hope Kim can't feel what's going on below decks. Or do I? Two hooks! This might be it! Hey, I wonder who's knocking at the door—uh oh.

Kim slid back off Ron's lap, and leapt from the tub. She hurriedly clicked off the music, and slipped into a terrycloth bathrobe hanging by the bathroom door. "One second!" She ran to the suite entrance.

On the far side of the door, a steward held out a pair of garment bags. "Compliments of the captain, Miss Possible!"

Kim took the bags. "Thanks, well, back to what I was doing. Not that I was doing anything, certainly not with Ron, and the tub, and the music, and—bye!" She slammed the door, fell back against it, and sighed.

Ron waited a minute. Then he tentatively asked, "Are we going to, uh, pick it back up?"

"Ron, it's not that I don't want to; I do. I just think we shouldn't, you know what I mean?"

"It's all good, KP, all good." He submerged his disappointment with humor. "Well, I'm-a go hit the shower!"

"Ron?" She called after him.

"What, KP?"

"Save me some cold water," she laughed.

"Kim, we're floating in an ocean of cold water. I'll try." Ron disappeared into the bathroom with a smile on.

The rear deck of the ship had been converted into an outdoor ballroom. The pool had been covered with its retractable dance floor, and lighted decorations strung from the upper railings. The scene was set for romance; it was a clear night, with a full moon, and the Caribbean Sea shone like a jewel. Couples had already started to make their way from the dining room to dance in the moonlight to the live jazz combo.

Bonnie was alone. It had been some time since she had felt so alone. She had hoped for companionship, but thus far none of the men on the ship met her stringent criteria; unwed, attractive, and under twenty-seven. She had made an error in planning; the only cruises that would accept someone her age were family events. She'd blown all the money she'd saved for this trip, and would go home as lonely and unfulfilled as she had left.

In some attempt to salvage enjoyment from the disaster, she fell back on cruelty and spite. She donned the most provocative evening dress in her prodigious portable wardrobe: a low-cut, strapless blue number, with an open back, slits on both sides, stockings, garters, and a thong; all held up by spirit gum and willpower. Any men who took the bait would be met with punishment and reprisal from their wives; any women would be confronted with a nice view of a body they once had, or could never have. Either way, Bonnie would revel in the attention, and the schadenfreude.

She sauntered out into the growing crowd, hips swaying, feigning disinterest while casually scanning for slaps and arguments; sure enough, a few husbands fell into the trap. She was sure she heard a "what are you staring at," a few "how dare you!" and at least one "you're old enough to be her grandfather!" It wasn't seaborne romance, but inspiring frustration from the Nascar dads and jealousy from the soccer moms was revenge ever-so-sweet for the tortures of a hundred screaming brats.

One set of eyes stayed on her, however; eyes that belonged to an unattached man, a young man, one seemingly as out of place as Bonnie herself. It took her some time to notice; he was sticking close to the buffet, casually snacking on canapés and caviar. His tuxedo was the peak of fashion, decked out with gold jewelry and silk fineries. He was broad-shouldered and tall, with a dark tan and great hair. She simply had to meet him; it was a matter of how to approach. It would take all her skills as a seducer and manipulator, to appear aloof and haughty without losing him. She went mission-mode.

Bonnie slipped through the crowd, causing the young man to lose his line-of-sight. She was certain she felt more than a few covert pinches and brushings, but it was time for bigger fish. She slid from the crowd behind her target, and slunk up for a sneak ambush. Her ammunition: a chocolate-covered ladyfinger from the dessert tray, dunked in whipped cream. She watched for her moment. As the young man turned towards her, she immediately ignored him, and slid the dessert into the back of her throat. Concentrating hard on gag-suppression and ignorance-feigning, she sucked the coating off the slender pastry, and slid it back out, slowly running it around her lips. Only then did she turn back to the young man, who was visibly interested. His poker face was excellent, no dropping jaw or other tells, but the sweat on his brow and the movement of his Adam's-apple told Bonnie all she needed. Target locked!

The young man played it cool. He made a step towards the young lady, and offered her a paper napkin. "What did that pastry do to deserve such treatment?" he said, in a smooth, Spanish-accented tenor.

"Like I'd give you the answer ahead of time." She bit the tip off the ladyfinger, as her quarry gave a slight jump.

He asked, "Join me on the dance floor?"

"I'm not sure, what will you do in return…"

"Oh, well. It was worth a shot." The young man turned to leave.

"No! I'll dance!" Bonnie forgot herself.

"Excellent. Let us away, then." The young man smiled. Target neutralized! Never play a player, sweetheart.

Kim chatted with Wade on the Kimmunicator, on the walk up from the suite. She and Ron were washed up and dressed in the moderately-generic formal wear provided by the captain; Kim in a little black dress and pumps, Ron in a no-tie tux and vest combo.

Kim spoke to her young friend. "We searched the island; nothing but automated defenses. Drakken and Shego must be holed-up somewhere else."

"Why are we even looking for them? They haven't done anything yet, and GJ are already searching everywhere," Wade asked.

"We always wait for them to make a move." Kim's face showed visible tweaked-ness. "This time, the schedule's on my terms."

"And it had nothing to do with the dry spell of rescue missions, or the fact that you had nothing planned for the first few weeks of summer break?" Wade could see right through her.

Ron butted in, with, "He's gotcha, Kim; dead to rights, again."

"Okay, fine, I was bored. But, Drakken is dangerous, and I'd rather not have to wait for someone to get hurt to look for him!"

Wade said, "Point taken. I'll keep the searches for anomalous occurrences running. Oh, and I told your parents that the mission is taking some time, and you're getting a ride back in the morning."

"Wade! Don't lie to my parents!" Kim was wracked with worry; lying was a serious offense in the Possible household.

Ron consoled her. "That's not really a lie, KP; plus, if your father found out the circumstances of our stranding, I might be taking a long ride off a short launching pad!"

"I guess you're right. Best he not know...stuff. Let's go dance."

"Enjoy yourselves; I need some shut-eye. Call me if it's important." Wade's face disappeared from the screen.

Kim moved to stow the Kimmunicator. "Oh, shoot! I'm not carrying a bag." She handed the device to Ron. "Can you put this in your pocket?"

"Sure, KP." He made a move to place it in his right jacket pocket, but Rufus popped out to stop him. "Oops, sorry buddy. No room here." He put it in the inside pocket, instead. "KP, I wanna hit the buffet first."

"Alright. But don't stuff yourselves, I do expect some dancing from you, so don't be complaining about being 'crummy in the tummy'."

Ron replied, "Perish the thought, KP," and the group started to gather edibles.

Kim casually grazed at the canapés, as a tango started to play. Across the crowd, she caught sight of a familiar hairdo and spiteful smile, though this time it seemed genuinely contented. She tapped Ron on the shoulder, saying, "Ron, I think that's Bonnie!"

"You mean bon-diggity, right!" he was concentrated on the food, stuffing his face with cheese spread and cream-puffs. "These are awesome!"

"No, Bonnie! Over on the dance floor!" Kim manually adjusted his head in the right direction.

"Oh, yeah! What a coincidence, huh, us washing up on the same cruise as her?"

"It's a curse, I assure you. Who's that she's dancing with?" She strained to see past the moving crowd, but as soon as the young man faced them, recognition was instant.

"Señor Senior, junior!" they said in mutual shock.

Ron tried to keep them in view, but they were on the far side of a big dance floor. "What's Junior doing here, KP? You think something's going down?"

"Not unless he bought her something expensive," Kim said, sarcastically, as she crossed her arms in disapproval.

"I kinda meant more on the evil front, Kim." Ron replied. "Also, eww!"

Kim blushed. "Oh, right. Either way, we need to do some recon, and get Bonnie away from him before he knows we're here. We need a plan." She pondered over an entry strategy.

Ron piped in, "Hey, KP, I think I know what to do!"

"What? Oh, right! Plan Tango Romeo!"

"And you said we'd never use that one." Ron made a face that said 'I told you so'.

"I admit it's the right sitch for it. Okay, let's execute!" Kim did a quick stretch.

"Hold on, buddy, and button-up." Ron said as he pushed Rufus's head down into his pocket. "Go time!"

The two stepped to the edge of the dance floor, and gripped each other at the waist, face to face, and so close they were almost in the same shoes. They gripped each other's outstretched hands, and with one long step in time, joined the dancing throng. They moved with grace and fluidity, looking to all nearby like just another couple. Kim looked around for her rival and her villainous partner, but she couldn't make contact.

She whispered to Ron, "Surveillance dip in three, two…"

On 'one', Ron held her by one hand, lowered her almost level with the floor, and spun. The world flew by Kim's eyes, inverted and at an ant's eye level. Her red mop kicked up stray dust from the floor. She pulled herself back upright, and whispered again. "I have bearing on toned, young dancer's legs in an entirely too-short skirt, directly astern. Move!"

"On it. You look amazing, by the way." Her partner replied, leading a coordinated move to intercept.

Kim blushed just slightly. "Focus, Don Juan Stoppable. Visual contact, spin coming up…now! Good luck!" She gave Ron a quick peck as they parted.

As Junior and Bonnie entered a fancy release move, Kim and Ron swooped in for an unannounced cut-in. Kim caught up Junior's hand, and bumped Bonnie over to the waiting Ron. They led their new partners off in opposite directions, never breaking step.

"Hello, Junior." Kim gripped Junior's waist and hand with vice-like force.

"Aaah! Kim Possible! I mean," Junior cleared his throat, and affected a lower voice. "Hello, unknown lady whom I have never before met. I am Juan Carlos Ruiz, wealthy landowner from Cuba!"

"Junior, give it up! And besides, Cuba doesn't have wealthy landowners, they're communists."

"Oh. Would you believe Honduras?"

Bonnie was shocked and appalled to be dancing with Ron instead of her mysterious dark stranger, but she was resolved to not make a scene until it was necessary. She smiled, and spoke through her teeth, "What are you doing here, Captain Horatio Dorkblower?"

"Trust me, Bonnie. I don't know what Señor Senior Junior told you, but he's bad news. He's the son of a billionaire super villain bent on global domination!"

"He's rich, too! Screw this!" She pushed Ron back, almost causing him to fly over the rail, and rudely pushed her way through the throng of 'pinching old men and their fat, ugly wives' to where Kim had cornered Junior.

"Bonnie, wait! Evil trumps rich!" Ron chased after her.

Bonnie shooed Kim back, and interposed herself with Junior. "So, Junior, was it? Ron tells me you're a billionaire!"

"Uh, I suppose this is true." Junior replied.

Ron caught up, panting. "I also told you—hold on, I need to catch my breath—told you he was evil!"

"It takes ruthlessness and cunning to amass a fortune." Bonnie nuzzled up to Junior's face. "You're just jealous of his success."

"Yes, so leave me be, Mister Mopadopalous." Junior nodded towards Ron's hair.

Kim pushed back in. "Success? He's set to inherit his money, he's never worked hard in his life, and he's an escaped convict!"

"Hey, meddling Blue Fox, you had your chance! I like your friend better, anyway!" Junior put his arm around Bonnie.

Bonnie made kissy-eyes with him. "She's more a 'professional acquaintance', sweet thing."

"Knock it off, Bonnie! I'm going to haul Junior back to jail!" Kim stepped forward.

Bonnie interposed herself. "Oh, I just hate you, Possible!"

Junior looked at Bonnie and smiled. "You hate Kim Possible? I hate Kim Possible! We have so much in common!"

"Junior, trust me: she's nothing but a gold-digger."

"My father says I am half gold-digger, on my mother's side! That's another thing!"

"Hey, KP." Ron drew back. "Who are we trying to help, here?"

Bonnie shot back, "Besides, I like dangerous men. Like Hirotaka, for instance."

Kim parried again. "Leave kung-fu biker-boy out of this. You can't be with her, Junior; she's nothing but a greedy, underage tramp! She wouldn't give Ron the time of day, but when he had some money she was all over him!"

Bonnie shifted to Bon-Con One, full viciousness alert status. "I'm mature beyond my years, sweetie; and ninety-nine million was just barely enough to make him palatable. He's a skinny dork, with goofy hair, bad clothes, and extremely poor taste in women." She drew closer to Junior. "Junior here is handsome, refined, strong, and ruthless; and he's got at least a thousand times more money than Ron ever had, or ever will again! He's perfect; so stop trying to ruin my good time because your boyfriend's a loser!" She snapped at Kim.

The party, by this time, was silent. The band had quit playing. The four youths could feel all the eyes of the gathering upon them, as the waves quietly broke against the hull.

Ron panned the room. He nervously tugged at his collar and addressed the assembly. "Yes, okay, uh, wow. I kinda wish something would happen to interrupt this awkward silence, huh?"

Just then, a small aircraft buzzed the deck at high speed. It dropped off a scattering of bright flares, and temporarily blinded the guests. Down off the stern, a loud boom silenced the engine.

Plumes of water off the sides of the ship yielded a dozen strange missiles. Each transformed in the air, into a skeletal humanoid robot. The strange machines landed on the deck with loud clangs, and drew fancy pistol-like weapons from holsters on their torsos. They assumed a coverage pattern, and held the assembled guests at weapon-point.

One of the robots spoke in an amplified mechanical voice, it's flat monotone sounding like a cross between Long John Silver and Stephen Hawking. "Avast, ye scurvy humanoids: we are M-8-E series Automated Combat RoBuccaneers. You will be plundered. We will add your cash and jewelry distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile. Arr."

Ron stood with mouth agape. "Okay, now that is a really good interruption!"

Off to a good start, huh? Next time, robot spanking, a pirate planking, interloping teens, and a long swim in a big ocean. Keep it locked!