With this post-Graduation work (which I began early in S4 but have tried to reverse-engineer to keep current with developments) I'm aiming for an epic-length tale of the early years of Kim's career as an American diplomat, with lots of K/R fluff, action/adventure in a variety of exotic locales, and hopefully just enough angst to keep it real.
Thanks to Ultimate Naco Topping for the beta-reading services. Go read his "Season 4: Through the Cracks." Right now! Go!
Kim Possible is copyright Disney; I derive no profit from this work.
Diplomacy in Action
"Toi xin loi nhung anh khong lay duoc mot thi thuc de den tham My lan nay. Toi rat la xin loi! Xin chao," Kim said into the microphone, then sighed as she stripped off the headset.
I'm so not ready to take your order, she thought for the thousandth time, the stale joke failing to provoke even a small internal smile.
She turned away from the ballistic glass of the interview window to enter the results into the computer perched on the ledge beside it, while the other consular officers at the windows on either side of her continued their conversations with their interviewees.
There was nothing surprising about the fact that the applicant didn't qualify for a visa. Of the several dozen people she saw every day, few did. Out of forty-five interviews so far on this particular Tuesday, she'd given 35 "no"s. The rejections alone amounted to 3500 dollars in application fees, a fortune for most Vietnamese.
The going rate for futility, she thought. She was not without sympathy, however, for the failed applicants who had spent a month's salary on this grasp at the brass ring.
Her fingers moved lightly over the keyboard and she glanced at the clock in the lower right hand corner of the screen. 10:47am. She was making pretty good time, but the pre-summer visa rush meant that there were still a couple of hours worth of applicants to see before she could call it quits. Clearly she'd be grabbing yet another late lunch today.
Time for a brief break, nonetheless.
She pushed back her auburn hair and rubbed her eyes gently with the heels of her hands.
She moved to step down off the swivel chair when she realized that the applicant was still there at the window, looking at her with a mixture of anticipation, dread, and bewilderment.
Kim let out another sigh. Clearly her spotty command of Vietnamese (for heaven's sake, how could they expect her to learn a tonal language in six months?) had served only to confuse this poor aspiring tourist.
She slipped a bilingual rejection form off of the stack to her side, checked a couple of boxes, and pushed it through the slot under the window.
"Xin doc giay to nay," she shouted through the slot, tapping on the paper. Though really it wouldn't matter whether he read it or not. She had checked the standard language: insufficient ties to his country to establish clearly that he would return after a visit. No family ties, no stable job, no resources to speak of… no way he's coming back. Both she and the applicant knew that his visa application was just a gamble. He had spent 130 dollars on a lottery ticket, in the form of an interview for a tourist visa to the U.S., and had come up short. If he had won, his life would have been changed forever. And, precisely because – for him – it was a lottery, the standard legalese was irrelevant. He'd be back as soon as he and his family felt it prudent to try again, "sufficient ties" or no.
I just hope I'm off the visa window by then, Kim thought moodily.
Then she turned away from the window for good, saying to the leader of her team of local staff, "Minh Lan oi – I'm going to get a drink. Be back in five."
Minh Lan nodded and smiled. "Da vang. But Chi Kim oi! Please tell Anh Ron that we finished up the last of the sweets he brought and we are all very hungry again!"
Despite herself Kim smiled. The smile broadened quickly as she realized she was smiling, as she realized how happy it made her to have Ron in Ho Chi Minh City with her, and to see that his… unique charms were appreciated here too.
Lord knows she appreciated them. Ron's easy-going attitude had been a real life-saver these last few months. Spending her days rejecting dozens of unqualified visa applicants was not exactly how she had envisioned the U.S. diplomatic corps. Negotiating important international agreements? Maybe. Saving visiting dignitaries from certain death at the hands of a crazed villain? Why not – she'd confronted worse sitches on many an occasion. Exotic food, ancient artifacts, beautiful beaches? You bet!
But... crushing the souls of average Vietnamese who just wanted to improve their lives, albeit by violating U.S. immigration law? Not precisely what she'd been aiming for when she decided to take the Foreign Service exam and join up.
She consoled herself by searching for perspective on the situation. Everyone worked on the visa line at the outset; it's just "how it was" in the Foreign Service. She fell into a familiar mantra: it was early yet – in the day, in her career, in her life with Ron – and this newest adventure was still only starting to unfold.
The spring returned to her step as she strode to the water cooler, pulling her cell phone from her pocket to check in on Ron and see if maybe he could get away from his work in the cafeteria long enough to meet her for lunch later. Planning for next weekend's trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia would be just the thing to lighten her mood.
She was Kim Possible, and she could do anything. Even put in her time on the visa line as a first step in making some real contributions as a diplomat. And who knew - perhaps there would even be some intrigue.
So not the drama, she thought about her morning's efforts, as she punched in Ron's digits.