Chapter 2 – Love was never quite so intoxicating.
Ron Stoppable stepped outside of the heated college building and into the chill winter air. He bundled his large jacket around him, a gift from Kim when she had taken him skiing in Vale last year, and looked around for his car.
The test had gone pretty well and for once he was feeling that the clouds that recently seemed to be following him around were starting to break. With a little luck, despite the fact that he barely had gotten any studying done, he'd still manage to pass this class and hence move up and onwards to a new semester and a chance to start all over again. Hopefully this time with a few less mistakes a bit more success. He desperately needed that success if he was going to surprise Kim next year. Ron, after two and a half years of struggling was only the barest of percentile points away from being able to transfer to Upperton U, and with it being able to realize his dream of enjoying campus life with Kim.
"I really want to tell Kim about this, but it's just too early – I still have one full semester left here at the community college before I'll know for sure and if I screw up, she'd be so disappointed…"
Ron sighed. He had spent the majority of his life trapped in a cycle of pride and shame when it came to Kim. On one hand he had done some pretty amazing stuff, had some fairly incredibly successes and impressed his girlfriend with his dogged determination. On the other hand he had experienced more than his fair share of embarrassment and setbacks, and while Kim had never really gotten on his case about them, it was still painful when she would look at him with that look – the one that said to Ron, "It's ok Ron, you're trying your best."
Ron hated that look, hated it with a passion – oh he was glad that Kim was so supportive of him, but at the same time he wished that she didn't have to be. Ron would have been perfectly happy to never have another screw up again, not just for his sake, but because he wanted, desperately even, to be the kind of guy that he felt was good enough for Kim Possible. In true Ron-fashion it had never occurred to him that trying to measure up to Kim was a near impossible task for any man, let a lone him – but still it didn't stop him from trying.
Ron found his car near the back of the student parking lot. His hands were shaking slightly as he unlocked it, the cold air playing hell on his nerves, and he quickly slid inside and turned over the engine, bringing both the car and it's heater to life.
"Ahh… warm up! Warm up! I hope we have another mission soon, preferably someplace tropical where they've never heard of freezing rain, snow or wind-chill effect."
Ron smiled to himself as he put his car in gear. He had taken his last exam and the semester was officially over for him, which meant that he would be enjoying a few weeks of winter break, and while he was glad to spend time with his parents and Hannah, he also was hoping to get some quality alone time with his girlfriend – preferably on a beach someplace that didn't involve them scuba diving to an underground lair. He wondered if maybe he could get Wade to call in a favor or two to help facilitate this little fantasy of his. Kim probably wouldn't like it, but she had recently eased up a little bit on her "no favors for personal reasons" rule. Ron knew that part of it was just the natural erosion of certain almost child-like restrictions she had placed on herself, but he also knew that at this particular time and place Team Possible had wracked up more favors than they could use in a life time.
"What about Florida? I could pass it off to Kim as going to visit her Nana. Or maybe we could go to the Bahamas… Aruba? Where is Aruba anyway? It sounds cool… maybe I should Google it when I get home."
Ron was on the road now, the slushy remains from last nights snow spitting up at the underside of his car as he drove along the old Middleton business loop on his way home. He checked his watch and realized that he'd probably have time to stop by the elementary school and pick up his sister on his way home. He reached for his cell-phone (he had finally gotten one for himself when he had graduated high school) and speed-dialed his mom. The phone rang twice and then picked up.
"Hello, mom?" he asked.
"Ronald, what's up? How did your exam go, do you think you passed?"
Ron chuckled. Three years out of high school and his mom was still worrying about things that by right should have really only been Ron's concern. After all, he was the one going to college, he was the one paying for it and he was the one that really wanted to reach the end. Still, the touch of familial concern in his mom's voice did make him smile.
"Yeah, I think I did pretty good – in fact I'm pretty sure I passed."
"Oh Ron, that's excellent! What do you say we pick up your father and go celebrate tonight? What's that place that you like with the burnt pizza?"
"Haha, that's ok mom! You know we don't really have the money to go out. How about this – I'll pick up Han from school and when you get home the three of us can make pizza's together? We'll make Dad do the dishes since he doesn't have a job yet!"
"Ronald you know your father is trying very hard, it's just not easy for a man his age to get back into the workforce…"
Ron cut off his mom, "Mom! I was just kidding. I know things are tough all over right now, especially with the economy on the downturn – I'm sure Dad will find something soon."
There was a slight pause on the phone, "Yes… I'm sure he will too. We've got to stay positive, don't we?"
Ron was about to reply when all of a sudden he heard something that sounded like high speed approaching thunder.
"Wait, hold on Mom…" Ron put the phone down on the bench seat of the car and then craned his head around to see if he could find the source of the noise.
There was a couple seconds of indecision and then Ron spotted it – a veritable platoon of black helicopters rising from the horizon of the freeway overpass. They did a quick sideways sweep, changing direction over the road and then took off towards the mountains that surrounded the low plain that the town of Middleton resided in.
"Black helicopters are NEVER good," Ron thought to himself. His right hand was groping for his cell-phone when out of the corner of his eye he caught it – the Global Justice logo emblazoned on the side of one of the larger birds.
"Mom? Sorry I think I'm going to have to take a rain check on those pizza's, something came up."
"Ronald? Is it another one of those missions?" came the concerned voice of Meryl Stoppable over the cellular line.
"I'm not sure yet… call you soon Mom!" Ron said as he hung up the phone. Ron punched the gas of his car and barreled towards the next exit. If he was right then he knew the general direction the helicopters were going in and he was determined to be on-hand when the call came. After all, if Global Justice was deploying to Middleton chances were it wouldn't be too long before Kim Possible, and subsequently him, were asked to help out.
"Turn around Jefferson and no peeking!" said Kim childishly as she waggled a finger at Jefferson Wilkes, her most recent partner as well as her GJ trainer and handler.
The slightly older man grinned at Kim and then gave her a helpless shrug as he turned to face the front of the transport copter.
"Can't blame a guy for trying can you Red?" he chuckled.
"And it's too bad you didn't notice I can see your reflection in those nice shiny EV tanks. Gentlemen let the show begin!"
Kim, satisfied that the man was obediently looking ahead, began to disrobe out of her civvies and then reached for her GJ-issued mission clothes. They weren't the most stylish things out there, but Kim had to admit they were high quality – made out of a highly experimental mesh of nano-fibers as well as protective plating, they were not only highly resilient to gunfire and physical trauma, but Kim admitted, expected to be worn by all GJ operatives. Even operatives in training like her.
Kim had just finished buckling the last strap on her spider-harness when a low wolf whistle caught her attention. She turned and stared at Jefferson, giving him a dirty look. He seemed to be still looking right ahead – directly at the…
"Ugh! You pervert!" she complained as she moved across the cramped cabin to take a seat.
Jefferson flashed an impish grin at Kim, his perfect teeth momentarily catching her attention.
"You're the operative in training – you really ought to be more aware of things like that. I could have warned you, but hey…"
Kim gave him a stony stare.
"Aw, don't be like that Red, when we get done with this mission I'll let you spread the decontamination goo on me."
Jefferson winked at Kim and chuckled to himself. Kim knew that she should have been pissed, in fact if it had been any other agent, like say – that arrogant ass Will Du, she probably would have decked him one by now. Jefferson on the other hand… well, Kim found it hard to get mad at the guy. It wasn't just that he was handsome with his excellent conditioning and model-like face, it was just that he didn't take anything seriously. It was hard to rant and rave at someone when their response was always just a shrug and a goofy smile – it made you feel foolish for getting upset in the first place.
"I think I'll pass," Kim muttered, "Besides, I wouldn't want to make that girl in the Assets Department upset. I've seen how you look at her… assets."
Kim snickered to herself. This kind of banter was par for the course when you worked with a guy like Jefferson and while sometimes he could be infuriating, she much preferred his jovial sensibilities to working with a stick in the mud like Will.
"Aw, don't get upset Red. Small ones are good too."
Kim rolled her eyes and slunk back in her seat, subconsciously crossing her arms over her chest. The fact that Jefferson had probably been ogling her just a few moments ago was making her more than a little self conscious.
"They're not THAT small."
Kim turned her head and looked out of the window of the chopper. The landscape below was both strange, yet familiar. It was an odd feeling, the slightly above perspective that the helicopter offered let her see the familiar sights of her home town in a new light.
"We're almost there," she announced, "It's just at the base of those hills."
"Ah, that's right – this is your old stomping grounds, isn't it? Going to stay behind after the mission and hook up with some old friends? Or one old friend in particular…"
Kim tensed up a little bit – she was sure that Jefferson hadn't meant anything by it, but right now her relationship with Ron was a sore point. She still loved him, she was fairly certain of that, but things hadn't been all that peachy recently.
"Probably not, I still need to get back to school to pack – winter break starts for me tomorrow."
"Plus, I don't really want to explain to Ron what I was doing here without him."
Jefferson didn't respond to that and the two of them waited out the remaining minutes of the ride in silence. Kim was lost deep in thought when the transport finally landed on the ground.
"Alright Red, look professional – its show time."
Ron muttered and cursed to himself as he drove up the badly maintained roads at the base of Mt. Middleton. He had lost visuals on the helicopters a few minutes ago, but he was sure that they had to be around here someplace – there was nothing else out here in this direction for nearly a hundred miles, so wherever they had to be going was close. He just knew it.
For about the hundredth time he stared at his "Ronnunicator" – the device was a near exact copy of Kim's and he knew that when the time was right the familiar tones would ring and Wade or Kim would be telling him to high tail his rear out here. However, this time, Ron was one step ahead of the game.
"If only I could find out exactly where it was that I'm going to…"
Ron slowed down as he navigated his car around a tight turn and then quickly slammed on his brakes.
"Who the hell lands a helicopter in the middle of a road?"
Ron brought his car to a total stop and then he noticed that there were men, armed men, spilling out of the copter.
"Oh great, just what I needed… Why does this always happen to me? I should have just waited for Kim instead of trying to be cool."
Ron stared at the Ronnunicator's video display as the group of men approached him, hoping, praying, that it would spring to life and rescue him from the situation.
There was a knocking sound to his left and Ron turned his head to see a man gesturing for him to roll down his window. Ron sighed, there would be no rescue this time it seemed, and he begrudgingly complied with the man's order.
"Uh… hello there," Ron said lamely, his eyes darting about at the rest of the men and warily noticing that they all had high powered assault rifles pointed at him.
"This road is off limits, you can't go here," the uniformed man at the side of his car spoke.
"Oh, ha, ha… about that… I was just um…" Ron was panicking now as he groped around for the right words.
"Turn around please," the man stated in a dull voice.
Ron sighed – this was not how a world saving hero acted, or at least not how Kim would act. She'd probably sass the guy back, say something important and they'd let her through – secure in the fact that she'd take care of the problem. That was Kim however, and unfortunately for Ron he didn't share his girlfriend's ability to inspire confidence in strangers. Hell, he could barely inspire confidence in people who knew him, gun wielding Global Justice agent's were obviously out of his league.
"Dammit, I'll just ask!"
"Hey, is everything ok up there?"
The man seemed to study Ron for a moment, like he was trying to decide exactly what sort of information, if any, the young man warranted.
"Yes. Everything's fine – now turn around."
"Get lost kid – figures. Man, this never happens to Kim."
Ron nodded to the man and started his car up again, putting it into reverse and slowly trying to turn around on the narrow mountain road. The last thing he wanted to do was embarrass himself by hitting anything, or God forbid, starting to go over the steep incline, so he made sure to pay extra special attention to his maneuvering.
As Ron drove back down the road towards Middleton he took one last look at his Ronnunicator and then placed it back in the pocket of his cargo pants. He had been so sure that Team Possible was going to get a call on this and he was more than a little chagrined to find out that the one time he had been pro-active about an imminent sitch, the entire effort had been for naught.
"I think I'll avoid mentioning this to Kim… the last thing I want to do right now is appear like an even bigger loser than normal."
"Watch out!" yelled Kim Possible as she ducked for cover from the incoming spray of machine gun fire. She cursed to herself silently and then, looking to her left, she sighed in relief – despite the scant verbal warning her partner had made it to safety as well.
"The whole operation is blown! They saw us coming! I thought you said the tech guys would have those cameras down?" Kim growled in frustration.
It was one of the things that Kim was slowly getting accustomed to when working with Global Justice – the GJ tech guys were pretty good, but frankly they were no Wade Loads.
Jefferson ignored Kim's outburst. It was one of the things that he felt detracted from her considerable charm and beauty – she was such a perfectionist sometimes that she obsessed on things that went wrong instead of improvising to make the save. Jefferson however, was cut from different cloth than Kim and once he realized the mission was going south he had instantly switched gears from infiltrate – to kill.
With a jerking movement he replaced the banana clip on his sub machine gun and then steeled himself for a quick burst of activity. Fluidly and with determination he sprang from his hiding place, spraying the position of the terrorists with a hail of bullets and advancing to another, closer, and better location that happened to be within throwing range for micro-grenades.
Jefferson made a wheeling motion with his arm and then a pointing gesture – the meaning was obvious to Kim and she prepared herself. Another clip of ammo was spent, providing cover fire for Kim and she sprang and rolled her way into position next to the senior agent.
Suddenly a crackling voice came through the two agent's ear pieces.
"This Du, I heard gunfire – what's the situation? Over."
Both field agents made a face and rolled their eyes. It was bad enough that things had gotten botched up somewhere a long the line, but the fact that Will Du, Global Justices "Number One Agent" was at the helm of this operation practically ensured that neither one of them would be hearing the end of it for weeks, even if it hadn't been their fault.
"We were spotted sir, unable to proceed with infiltration. We've got the terrorist leader and 5 unidentified gunmen pinned down in the main research lab."
Kim looked at Jefferson – she was relieved that he had taken the initiative of responding to Will. If it had been her she probably would have had a few choice words about the tech squad and most likely received a dressing down from Betty afterwards. It pained Kim to admit it, but she knew Betty was right – in the middle of a mission is no time to start pointing fingers. That could wait for the debriefing, an event that Kim was eagerly anticipating.
"The extraction team is reporting success. New orders – take out the terrorists at your location, back up ETA 2 minutes."
Kim scoffed and Jefferson caught her reaction and grinned. He knew what she was thinking – two minutes would be about a minute and a half too late for these jokers.
"You hear that Red?" he whispered to her, "I think Will just gave us a challenge."
Kim chuckled and replied, "Just cover me smart ass."
Within a second Kim was up on her feet and springing across the open hallway with a variety of dizzying acrobatic moves. She didn't hear Jefferson's response to her earlier comment, but knowing him, she reasoned, it was probably flirtatious.
The terrorists, at first shocked at Kim's sudden appearance, opened fire in earnest. Kim dodge and juked, reaching up to her spider harness and removing a stubby canister that she threw with unerring accuracy towards the gunmen's position. Amazingly enough one of the bullets managed to hit the projectile towards the end of its flight, and while it wasn't exactly what Kim had planned, it would work well enough – she landed on her feet a dozen yards away just as the screen from the smoke grenade blossomed into view.
At this cue, Jefferson left his hiding position and advanced upon the now obfuscated room with a steady stream of gunfire. Some of the sounds that Kim heard let her know that one, possibly two of the terrorists had just been hit – hopefully taken out of the fight, and as Jefferson ducked to reload she launched herself up and over the slowly dissipating cloud and directly into the room.
"Hmm, seen one top-secret research lab you've seen them all."
It didn't take her long to get her bearings, which was good because she had only moments before the lead terrorist was on her – he had stupidly decided to flail at her with the stock of his rifle instead of trying to shoot and he paid for that mistake with a size 7 combat boot directly to the face. The big man fell back, a trail of blood streaming from his face in an arc as he stumbled and dropped to the floor. The smoke screen was clearing now and Kim knew that she couldn't count on it for a distraction anymore – she had to move fast.
Just as she was ducking behind a long work table, the top fortuitously made out of some stone like substance, her partner had finally caught up to her and he began taking out the men who had been focused on Kim. Five seconds later what had started out as a 6 on 2 fight was now a much more comfortable 2 on 1.
Kim pulled her side arm off of her hip and pointed it at the last remaining terrorist. She didn't like using guns, in fact she kind of hated it, but she knew that if she was going to work for GJ for real then she'd have to get over that aversion. Plus if she didn't at least make a show of trying to use the damn thing then Jefferson, as her trainer, would ride her about it until her next performance evaluation.
"Alright there, put your hands up – it's over," she said in her "neutral authoritative" voice. It was part of her training as a GJ operative, learning how to speak to people to make them seriously consider surrendering.
The terrorist looked at the bodies of his fallen comrades and at the two gun-toting agents in front of him and hesitated for a moment. There was a second of tension in the air as both Kim and Jefferson were preparing themselves to shoot, but it was quickly broken when the man finally relented and raised his hands. Evidently, he didn't want to die today.
"Traitor!" came a voice from behind Kim.
She turned around just fast enough to see that the man she had laid out earlier had come around and was pointing a large caliber hand gun in her direction. She ducked from the imminent gunfire, but then realized that the man's target hadn't been her, but the surrendering terrorist.
"Wow, these guys take their job way too seriously", she mused.
Before the man could turn his weapon on either Kim or Jefferson, Kim made a split second choice and then with near perfect aim, shot the main directly in his right shoulder.
Most people in her position probably would have gone for a head or body shot, but Kim had been paying attention in her hostage situation classes and she knew that if you could hit that particular part of the body, then it would make it near impossible for the subject to continue firing their gun – something that wasn't necessarily assured if your first shot to another part of the body was less than lethal.
"Plus this way I can still say I've never killed anyone."
As expected, the man dropped his sidearm and reeled from the gunshot. Kim was quickly upon him, kicking his fallen gun out of the way and holding her own pistol to his head.
"How's the other guy?" she called back to her partner.
"Dead. Ahmed here is a good shot – not as good as you, but good enough."
Kim sighed. It was stupid of her, she knew it, but she felt some sort of sympathy and even responsibility to the man who had just been killed. She had told him to surrender, with the implied assumption that he wouldn't die, and now this man on the ground had made a liar out of her.
"You did good Red, this guy isn't going to die – we can take him back to processing and maybe, just maybe, we can get enough info out of him to prevent another attack like this and throw some more bad guys in jail."
"Yeah." Kim responded half heartedly. It was times like this when she really wondered if signing up on the GJ payroll had been that great of an idea. The offers of support and help that Betty had made had been tempting; were still tempting to be honest, but all this running around behind Ron's back and the shooting people thing? It really wasn't how she wanted to spend her college career.
"I wonder why if you want to go to space you need to be willing to kill people? I wonder what that says about us humans?"
Kim reluctantly acknowledged that there seemed to be no way around it. If she was serious about following her dream then she would have to join the military eventually anyway – while NASA would often take civilian scientists into space, it was unlikely that they would ever let one pilot the space shuttle. And besides, you needed thousands of hours of fly time in a high performance jet before you could even apply – flight time that Kim was unlikely to get any other way.
"Hello? Earth to Kim Possible?" joked Jefferson as he tapped Kim on the shoulder. Evidently he had been talking to her but she had been too lost in her own thoughts to respond.
"What?" she asked.
"The med team should be here – "
There was a wailing of sirens and beeping of alarms that resonated through the entire research facility. Both Kim and her partner spun around in confusion, wondering what the alarms were for.
"I don't think we should wait for them," Kim said as she reached down to grab the injured terrorist by the collar, preparing to drag him away.
"Yeah I tend to agree," Jefferson replied, reaching down to help Kim.
The two of them had just gotten their prisoner to his feet and began to approach the door when a computerized voice sprang to life over the bases PA system.
"Environmental breach detected. Activating biohazard protocols," the machine intoned without mercy.
Kim barely had time to take a step back as a large metal blast door fell from the ceiling and sealed off the room they were in. She looked at Jefferson in panic, but she could tell that he was just as surprised as she was.
"Wait…" she said, scanning her vision around the room, terror slowly building up in her heart.
Everything looked normal, well about as normal as you could expect considering the gunfight that had just gone down minutes before. She was just about to activate her comm-link when she saw something that made her heart leap into her throat.
One of the storage tanks at the back of the room had been ventilated by a stray bullet.
"Shit!" she swore, all but dropping the injured prisoner she had been holding.
"Look! Look at that!" she pointed at the ruptured tank and then began to look around for something, anything, she could use to either seal it off or protect herself. They hadn't brought EV-suits along with them even though they had them on board – they hadn't been made aware that there was any sort of risk of that type involved with the mission.
Jefferson let out a low whistle and kneeled down to place the prisoner on the ground. Unlike Kim, he wasn't quite as surprised, but he as just as worried.
"Well, the fact that we're both not dead right now is a good sign. Hopefully it's just something relatively benign – like aerosolized anthrax."
Kim's eyes went wide, "Are you kidding me? Anthrax?"
Jefferson shrugged, "Just trying to stay positive Red – after all we can treat anthrax…"
Kim's face fell and she tried to bring up the com-link in her GJ issued communicator. There was nothing but dead silence.
"Blast doors. When they came down it probably killed our chances of communicating with the outside world." Jefferson replied as he walked towards a row of computer workstations.
"Let's see here… looks like they're all locked. How disappointing – just goes to show you that you can't even count on incompetence these days."
"Huh?" asked Kim. She was trying to calm her nerves and fight back her panic – she knew that if she was going to get out of this sitch alive she'd need a clear head.
"Oh, I was just thinking if we could get on-line then we could get a message to HQ. Let them know we're in here, maybe send someone to get us…"
Kim practically smacked her forehead.
"Of course! The internet! Thanks, you're a genius!" she enthused.
Now it was Jefferson's turn to be confused, "Well yeah but the terminals are all locked…"
"Yeah well, I have something here that we can use instead," Kim brought her arm up and peeled back the sleeve of her GJ uniform to reveal the latest wrist-watch version of her classic Kimmunicator.
"That's not standard issue Red," Jefferson joked, but his eyes never left Kim – he was obviously intrigued.
Kim powered on the Kimmunicator and waited to see if it would connect. The screen remained black and lifeless and she tried to remember what she needed to do.
"If there's no signal on our com-links then I doubt that thing would get one either…" Jefferson offered.
"Shh, be quiet I'm thinking" Kim responded.
Wade had shown her how to do this once, even though it hadn't really been something that she had needed to do before. Still, the memory was there in her head and tentatively she started tapping buttons and scrolling through menus.
"Ah ha, here it is!" Kim crowed triumphantly.
Jefferson was closer to Kim now, peering down at the device on her wrist, "What's it doing?"
"Hacking the encryption protection that wireless router in the corner," Kim whispered.
There was a long pause at the "Connecting…" dialog on the Kimmunicator before almost impishly a green light came on, followed by a shaky 56mb video connection.
"Wade! Wade can you see me?" asked Kim.
"Huh? Kim? What's going on, why are you using the net-cam?" responded Kim's tech-guru friend and resident boy genius, Wade Load.
"Couldn't get a signal any other way Wade. Look we've got a real sitch here – I'm trapped in a lab with what I think is some sort of poisonous gas or something. I need some help." Kim pleaded.
Wade, who had been reclining languidly in his computer chair instantly sat up straight.
"Alright Kim, just give me a second to operate the remote sensors. This could take some time…" Wade tapped a few keys on his keyboard.
"Got it!" he enthused, his face brightening up for a moment and then falling.
"Wade? What's that look Wade? I don't like it… Is it anthrax?" she asked.
Wade shook his head no.
"It's not anthrax Kim, or any other type of biological or chemical weapon I've ever heard of. It's some sort of… aerosolized nano-machines."
Wade stared intently at one of his monitors, his mouth hanging open.
"Are they bad nano-machines?" Kim asked, the concern evident in her voice.
"Oh yes. Very bad. How are you feeling Kim?" Wade asked.
"Hot. Sweaty. Nervous… Tweaked," she responded.
Wade smirked at her, "Well… that's good. It means the bugs are probably not active yet."
Kim breathed a sigh of relief.
"What do you mean 'not active yet'?"
It was Jefferson; he had been following the conversation intently.
"Huh? Who're you?" Wade asked, "Kim? Where's Ron?"
Kim shot a sidelong glance at Jefferson and then tried to come up with an explanation not too far from the truth.
"That's Agent Wilkes – Global Justice. Ron isn't here right now… he was… taking an exam today."
"Great going Kim, now you're going to start misleading Wade too. I swear when this is all over I'm going to sit down with Ron and have a nice long chat with him about everything."
Kim gulped for a second.
"That is… IF we get out of this."
"So what's the sitch Wade? What do we do?" asked Kim.
Wade looked at Kim intently for a second and then shrugged it off. There was obviously something going on here – the clothes that Kim was wearing wasn't her normal mission gear and no hits had come through the sight, and even if Ron did have an exam today, that had never stopped him from being there for Kim when she needed him. Wade tried to push all these thoughts out of his head – right now, if he didn't get on the ball then it all wouldn't matter anyway – Kim wouldn't live long enough to give any answers.
"Nothing at the moment. The nano-bots are in the very early stage of infection. Imagine it this way Kim – right now they are invading your blood stream and setting up little nano-factories in your body using material floating around in your blood stream. The more material they have, the faster they'll finish and when they finish…"
Kim cut Wade off, "Then we're finished."
"Basically Kim. Just sit down and try not to move, those nano-bots are fueling themselves off of energy in your blood supply and the less respiration you do the better – it'll delay how long it takes for them to onset."
"Any cure?" asked Jefferson, peering over Kim's shoulder.
"Um… maybe. Don't report me Agent Wilkes but I'm about to hack into the research information of that lab you're in to find out."
Jefferson smirked at the young genius.
"I think under the circumstances I can look the other way."
Kim stared intently at her Kimmunicator while Wade worked. It was obvious that he was lost deep in thought and even though the video connection over the internet was shaky, she could make out the fact that his eyes were rapidly scanning what must be volumes of information.
"This doesn't look good Kim," Wade began.
"Wade, I so do not want to hear that right now," she replied.
"Yeah I know, but – "
There was a sound, actually it was really an inversion of sound, as suddenly the entire power to facility was cut. Kim groaned in frustration as she saw the video feed that had been facilitated by the labs wireless network go dead. No power to the lab meant no power to the routers, which meant no Wade.
Which meant, she had no idea if she was going to die or not.
Kim started to pace back and force. Sure she didn't have Wade, but she was smart – if she put her mind to it she could figure a way out of this sitch. She could do anything, right?
Kim halted, turning to face Jefferson – she had totally forgotten he was here.
"Didn't you hear what your brainiac pal said? Respiration increases the onset. Take a seat Red, thinking doesn't need to burn that many calories."
He coyly patted the ground next to him.
"How can he be so calm about this? We're going to die!"
Reluctantly Kim sat down next to the senior agent. She leaned back and closed her eyes, trying to settle herself, but it wasn't helping much.
"What's eating you Red? I mean, other than a billion nano-thingies."
"Ugh! How can you do that? Don't you realize how serious this is?" she snapped at him.
The other man dropped his normal veneer of joviality and his face instantly tightened into a mask of seriousness.
"We do this all the time. If you fully join GJ you're going to be doing this every day. C'mon Kim, it's not like you to break under pressure."
Jefferson didn't usually call Kim by her proper name and the fact that he did that now only made her worry more.
"It's… not the same. Usually when I'm risking my life there's…" Kim fumbled looking for the right word to describe her feelings.
"Something you can do about it?"
She nodded. That was it. There was a huge world of difference between facing down a villain and knowing that if you succeeded or not depended only on if you were good enough. Kim was a confident young lady, and justly so. She had emerged victorious time after time against some of the worlds most nefarious villains, but she had never been trapped in a metal box, poisoned, waiting to die and with nothing at all she could do about it.
Except do nothing of course, which only made matters worse.
Kim clenched her fists and hung her head. This feeling, this experience – it was all new to her and she didn't like it one bit. She swore that if she managed to survive this then she'd make some changes in her life, put some things in perspective and generally try to live her life in a way that didn't compromise her values for her desires.
She didn't realize it, but she was in the second stage now – bargaining with God.
"I don't want this! I don't want it at all!" she cried into her hands. She was ashamed, embarrassed even that she was acting this way, and under normal circumstances she probably wouldn't have lost it as fast as she had, but these were anything but normal circumstances. Despite the fact that this helpless situation, this waiting, was new to her, she had also been cut off from all her normal forms of support. There was no Wade Load to figure out the solution for her and no Ron Stoppable to cheer her on. The absence of these two key figures in her life took the wind out of her sails.
Kim felt a hand on her back. Slowly it began to rub her in smooth concentric circles.
"Hey Red, relax – this isn't the end. At least not yet. That jackass Du has three full squads out there and despite the fact that he's an insufferable moron someone out there will come up with the idea of rescuing us."
Kim chuckled a little bit at Jefferson's crack at Will Du's expense.
"No, I'm not a lone… it might not be much but at least Jeff is here. That's something."
Kim looked up at the man, her eyes were rimmed with the beginnings of tears. She tried to fake a smile, but it wasn't working – instead her lips twisted into an awkward frown.
"God Kim, why are you so beautiful when you're upset?"
Jefferson tried to squash the thought – now wasn't the time for him to start dwelling on these things, no matter how hard it was for him to resist. The fact that he had it bad for Kim Possible was something that was sure to cause him no end of problems. The first being that she was technically under his mentorship and the second being that she assumedly had a boyfriend. Sure he had flirted with her, but he had flirted with every girl that worked for GJ, in fact it was probably only luck and his good looks that had kept him from getting disciplined on sexual harassment charges.
Without realizing he was doing it, his arm crept upwards around Kim's shoulder and slowly he pulled her into a half embrace, her head coming to rest on his shoulder. It wasn't an all out move on his part, but he couldn't deny the fact that he had often dreamed of something like this happening – just not under these circumstances.
He took a deep breath.
"Let's just sit here for a while and keep each other company. Got any good stories? I've got some but I'm not sure you're old enough to hear them…"
Kim chuckled a little bit and shook her head. She was still terrified, but she mused that Jefferson's devil-may-care attitude was of a great comfort in a time like this. If he could still keep his spirits up and make jokes, then she reasoned that things weren't completely hopeless.
"And besides… no one should die alone."
Commander Will Du looked at the email on his hand-held for the fifth time – by now he knew by heart what it said, it was just that he couldn't believe someone was saying it.
"Don't you love technology Will? Gutless wimps can now send you emails telling you to let your agents die instead of doing it with their own voices."
Will cursed out loud as he put the device back in his belt. Once again someone in the government had lied, the entire "right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing" drama had played out again and just like always Global Justice was left holding the bag.
"No one told us the stuff inside that lab was that dangerous – we had gear that we could have used, steps we could have taken. Those bastards!"
Will was torn. On one hand he lived his life by a credo of never, ever, leaving an agent behind. He had personally risked his life on more than one occasion to bring his people home, but now he had something else to think about – the safety of an entire city.
The virus that was inside the building had been identified, albeit reluctantly, by the Department of Defense. It was one of their new super nano-killers – highly virulent, self replicating, contagious as all hell and twice as deadly. Already more reinforcements had arrived to seal off the entire area to make damn sure that this thing didn't get away from them and he was under strict orders not to send anyone, not even an EV-hazard team into the building to perform a rescue.
"God damn orders. I'd go in there myself if they hadn't ordered me not too."
Will Du sighed to himself, knowing that he wouldn't disobey those orders, no matter how wrong headed he thought they were. You didn't get to be Global Justice's number one agent by picking and choosing which commands you followed. Still, the entire deal left a sour taste in his mouth.
"As much as I didn't like that kid, no one deserves to go out like that."
He had originally been against the idea of GJ recruiting Kim Possible, it wasn't that he didn't respect the kid's abilities – it was just that he didn't think you should take a green civilian and try to make an agent out of them. He had heard that she had intended to join the Air Force after she had gotten out of college - a decision that he applauded and one that would have at least allowed her to get some practical training and experience instead of all this gallivanting around fighting blue freaks and insane golfers.
"Hell a little bit of military living would be good for that kid – teach her some discipline, put some steel in her spine."
In Will's opinion, Kim was too soft to be an agent. Maybe if they had made him her mentor then he could have helped her, trained her, molded her in his image. He had actually floated the idea by Betty Director but had unfortunately been shot down. It was too bad. The idea of having his own protégé was a strangely appealing one.
Of course now, none of that was going to happen. The kid didn't have a shot in hell of making it out of that sealed lab alive and if she did, they'd probably have to put a bullet in her just to make sure she didn't carry some nasty super-virus out into the general populace. Will wished there was something that Global Justice could do – hell he wished there was something he could do. He knew it was useless, but he said a silent prayer anyway, hoping against hope that somehow his two agents would make it out of this mess alive.
Almost on cue, he heard the squeal of tires and a loud crash. Turning around, he had only seconds to dodge to the side before nearly two tons of premium Detroit steel went barreling past him.
"Here ya go Han – one extremely gortchy ham and jelly personal pizza with extra cheese" said Ron Stoppable as he placed the still steaming pie on the table in front of his youngest sister.
"I know I'm not one to complain but that is SO not kosher."
Hanna just stuck her tongue out at her big brother and reached for the pie, not even bothering to use the utensils that had been provided for her and ripping it apart with her bare hands.
"Hannah!" said her mother from across the table, the disapproval in her voice evident.
The little girl looked sheepishly around and then went for her fork and knife.
"Yeah Han," Ron said as he nonchalantly went for a piece of the larger pie that had been made for the rest of the family, "Ya gotta have good table manners. No barn and all that."
Ron then folded the piece he had picked up over on itself and fully stuffed half of it in his mouth.
"Ronald!" his mother complained, "Now I see where she's learning that from!"
Ron just looked at Hannah and shot her a wink that made her giggle.
"Kids, stop antagonizing your mother please?" said his father in his normal soothing tone.
Both of the Stoppable children grinned at each other and then made an exaggerated show of using their utensils at the table. The display was obviously non-authentic and put on mostly for comedy. It earned a hidden smirk from Ron's dad and a roll of the eyes from his mother.
"Gene, Ronald said that he thinks he passed his exam today," his mom spoke.
Ron's dad put down his food and smiled at his son.
"Good job son! So, right on target for operation Kim are you?"
"Well, it's still a little too soon to say for sure, but hopefully I'll know by the middle of next semester. If everything goes right not only will I get to spend next year in school with Kim, but I'll be getting my diploma from Upperton U instead of Middleton Community College."
"When are you going to tell Kim?" his mom asked in between bites.
Ron looked down at his pizza and tugged a piece of cheese off it to feed to Rufus.
"Oh, I don't know… probably when I'm sure everything will work out. I'm excited but I just don't want to jinx anything… or disappoint her if I don't make it."
"You'll make it son, I have faith in you. You've really grown up a lot in the last year and both your mother and I are proud of you."
"Me too!" chirped in Hanna as she wiped a truly terrifying combination of pizza sauce and jelly from her mouth.
"Thanks Han!" Ron said as he reached over to ruffle his little sisters hair. She both hated it and loved it at the same time and made an overly dramatic show of squealing and squirming around.
The warm familial moment was interrupted by a familiar beeping sound emanating from Ron's pocket.
"Huh?" Ron said as he reached for his Ronnunicator.
"Mission Ronald?" his father asked.
"I dunno dad… let me take this in the other room," he said as he excused himself from the table.
Ron entered the living room and then hit the button on the device. It sprang to life revealing the concerned face of Wade Load.
"Ron!" the teenager spoke, the tone in his voice instantly putting Ron on edge.
"Whoa, Wade! What's going on?" he asked, putting on his game face.
"Kim's in trouble Ron – bad trouble!"
"Where do I go and who's ass do I kick," Ron replied as he strode towards the front door.
"Do you still have that gear I gave you for the Ghana mission?" Wade asked.
"Yep… never took it out of the car actually. Wait Wade that stuff is…"
"Just get suited up and start driving Ron, I'll fill you in on the details on the way."
Ron popped the trunk of his car and removed a matte finished steel case from it's depths.
"Oh and Ron? Leave Rufus behind for this one."
"Oh man! Just like the Dukes of Hazzard!"
The impact from crashing through the front of the lab was a lot less than Ron had expected, but it was still jarring – especially considering that his car was too old to have air bags factory installed.
As Ron reached for his seatbelt there was a sound of gunfire behind him and he cowered low in the seat. It was lucky for him that his car was older than dirt, since it was bulky and sturdily built enough that he didn't end up instantly perforated.
"Ok, they mean business – I got to get inside fast."
He looked down at his Ronnunicator one last time, trying to commit the route that Wade had mapped for him to memory and then he kicked his driver side door open and sprang from the car. The gunfire started again, but Ron was prepared for it – he ducked and weaved behind the ruined debris that his impromptu entrance had caused, flinching visibly as he felt bullets ricocheting past his head.
"Move! Move! Move!"
Ron threw himself flat on the ground and crawled around what looked to be a large reception desk, avoiding gunfire all the way. Once there he sat up slightly and caught his breath. The gunfire had stopped but he could hear shouts and yelling, voices that were getting closer with every second. Ron shook his head and then looked up at the ceiling – just a few feet above him was the thing he was looking for.
"Thank God for air ducts. If only the guys who made these things realized how many times Kim and I saved the world because they refuse to make them too small for a person to crawl through."
Ron quickly checked himself over – the EV-suit he was wearing was bulky and it hampered his movement to no small degree, but it looked to be intact and he was pretty sure that if he really focused he could make it to the vent without being ventilated. He just needed to wait for the right time…
The voices were getting closer now, way too close for Ron's liking. He opened his right hand and looked down at his plan, the thing he was counting on getting him away from the guards and into the vent – a golf ball.
"Let's hope this ball I filched from Killigan isn't a dud."
Ron took a deep breath and then chucked the ball as hard as he could at his car. There was a hollow "ping" sound and then nothing – for a split second anyway. The explosion that followed that split second was huge and even though he was behind cover he felt himself vibrate from the blast.
"I loved that car. Kim is so never going to hear the end of this."
Ron popped up from his hiding space. Predictably the massive blast had caused all of the GJ agents to fall back. None of them knew what it was that had made the explosion and likely none of them were all too willing to find out. The blast itself had set Ron's car on fire and he was thankful that the gear he was wearing prevented him from smelling the acrid smoke of his favorite ride going up in flames.
Carefully Ron climbed up towards the air vent, wrapped his gloved fingers through the narrow grill and then pulled it with all his strength. It gave away with a loud snap and he chucked it to the ground and started to pull himself up. There was a moment of struggle there towards the end where it felt like he was stuck – the bulkiness of the EV-suit making it a tight fit. Unfortunately for Ron he was so nervous that he didn't take the time that he should have to make sure he was clear and he inadvertently caused a small tear in his suit – one that he didn't notice at the time.
Kim Possible had been giggling uncontrollably for the last few minutes. She had no idea why she was giggling, or what she thought was so funny and actually the entire sitch was sort of disturbing. Of course, when she thought about it that way it just made her giggle more.
"We're drunk," Jefferson stated with a straight face that belied how he was feeling.
"Don't be silly! We haven't had a drop to drink," Kim replied, trying to stifle a giggle.
It was true – the two of them had done nothing but sit on the ground and talk for the last half hour. There shouldn't be any way that they should be feeling drunk. Unless…
"You've ever drank before Kim?"
Kim shook her head and giggled.
"Well, I have and let me tell you – we're drunk," Jefferson replied.
"Oh really? If that's the case – " Kim emphasized this by poking Jefferson in the chest, "Then how come you sound so sober!"
Jefferson grinned at her, "I've had a lot more practice than you."
"Ha ha! That's right! You're a naughty boy Jeff! Naughty! Boozing it up and chasing after girls all the time! I know how you are!"
Kim's giggling must have been contagious because Jefferson started to chuckle himself. Of course, Kim's assessment of him had been more or less correct – still that only added to the amusement of the situation. Here he was, trapped with the one girl that he really wanted to chase, who also seemed to be extremely inebriated and the chances were really high that the two of them would die before he could manage to talk her panties off.
"Oh life is so unfair," he moaned and slapped his head back against the wall.
He was bigger than Kim – he probably outweighed her by nearly 50 pounds. Even with the weight advantage and the experience advantage he was starting to feel the effects of the pseudo-intoxication and if that was the case then he reasoned that Kim had to be positively smashed.
"Well, I suppose this is a good way to go eh? Drunk and giggling?" he said with a smirk.
"I told you! I'm not drunk!" Kim replied with a pouting face.
"Aww, don't pout Red. How about this - You're sobriety challenged?"
Kim seemed to ponder this for a moment and then shrugged,
"I think that's the same thing Jeffers!"
"I think it's the nano-thingies. I don't know what they're doing but it's making us feel like we've been drinking. If you think about it, it's a much more humane weapon of mass destruction than these guys normally come up with."
The more Jefferson thought about it – it was a pretty good weapon. The initial effects were obviously akin to intoxication and hence might be ignored by the victims who's judgment would be impaired. The onset wasn't immediate, which meant that it might be possible to counteract the nano-virus if you accidentally exposed your own people and in the mean time your enemies would be falling over drunk, making them just that much easier to deal with. He had no idea what the later stages of the infection were like, but then again that was only a matter of time. Certainly within the hour him and Kim would both possess that particular knowledge.
"I miss Ron," Kim said with a pout and then folded her arms.
"Ron? That's your boyfriend right?"
"I think so."
Jefferson raised his eyebrow. Despite the terrible inappropriateness of the situation he was intrigued. If there were troubles in Kim's relationship… well he wasn't too much of a gentlemen to capitalize on them. After all, Kim was… incredible, and not just physically. She was smart, funny, witty, and kind… basically everything that Jefferson had ever wanted in a woman and had spent years looking for with no luck.
Against his better judgment he made a subtle opening move.
"Trouble in paradise?" he asked.
Kim sighed and nodded.
"We don't see much of each other any more. It's not that I don't want to see him… I do! It's just that every time I make some time for us he has to do something. Work this, sister that, school! Study, study, study!"
"Well, you guys are college students right? Maybe he's really caught up in studying?"
"Well he sure picked a bad time to start being serious about school. He was a total slacker the entire time I've known him!"
Kim's face clouded up as she thought of something that she hadn't really liked contemplating, but had been at the back of her mind now for a while. She probably wouldn't have said anything at all, especially not to Jefferson, but the virus had lowered her inhibitions to the point where she wasn't making sound judgments any more.
"I think that maybe he's seeing someone else," Kim said with a frown.
"Really? Why do you say that?" Jefferson, despite being drunk himself, made a great show of sounding concerned instead of hopeful.
"Well… it's been a while if you know what I mean." Kim said, and then blushed furiously once she realized what she admitted.
"You mean, you guys haven't? How long?"
Kim shrugged. "Weeks. Months? Too long I can't count. I have a busy schedule and I try… I really try to be a good girlfriend but what can I do if he avoids me when I'm free?"
"Wow, I can't believe that… this guy must be crazy to pass up on a beautiful woman like you."
Kim blushed a little bit at that. Part of it was the obvious intoxication and part of it was because asides from Ron and her Dad, no one had ever called her beautiful – at least to her face.
"Get out of here!" Kim said as she playfully punched Jefferson on the arm.
"No way! I'm totally serious. You're probably the most beautiful woman I know." It wasn't a line, he actually felt that way.
Kim snorted, "What about Miss. Assets?"
"Doesn't hold a candle to you. Hell, if you were my girl I wouldn't even notice a woman like her."
Kim blushed again and looked up at Jefferson. The two of them had been semi-snuggling on the floor and suddenly she became aware of him in a way that was frightening and also somewhat exciting.
"You're not kidding are you?" she asked shyly.
"Why am I asking him that? What do I want to hear?"
"Kim – you're gorgeous, and you're smart and funny… and… well damn near perfect if you ask me. I'll write that in your progress report if you want me to."
"You know, that's the problem with you – I can never tell if you're being serious or not, you're such a joker."
"He's actually a lot like Ron that way. Ron…"
"Well then, let me show you how serious I am…"
Jefferson let his voice trail off as she leaned in towards Kim. There was a moment's hesitation, but she didn't pull away and so he went for it. Softly their lips met, tentatively at first and Jefferson pulled her already snuggling form gently into him. Kim was so caught up in the moment, so frazzled by the apparent intoxication and so emotionally spent that she didn't even realize that her arms had gone up around Jefferson's neck, pulling him even more deeply into the kiss.
Both of them were so engrossed that they never heard the ventilation grate fall off the far wall.
"Alright, it should be around here somewhere…"
Ron Stoppable had been traveling around in the overhead maze of air ducts for going on 15 minutes now and he had barely made any process. When it came to sniffing around in the near dark, wearing 20 pounds of gear and sweating like a stuck pig… well it could be disorienting to say the least - Even more so when you were trying to find a room based on a schematic that you couldn't really understand that well in the first place.
"God, I wish I could take this helmet off and wipe my face. I'm sweating so much that I'm fogging up my face plate and I can barely see."
Ron crawled forward half a dozen paces, but then stopped and back tracked. He had almost missed it – a room below him and off to his left. He wasn't sure if it was the right place, but it sure looked like it might be.
A quick push and a drop to the floor later Ron found himself wobbling around some sort of lab looking for something that Wade had told him was here - the antidote.
"Sheesh, my legs must have cramped up while I was up there – I can barely walk."
Ron took a moment and steadied himself against a table for a moment, taking a deep breath. All things considered he felt that he was doing pretty good considering two of Ron's longest held fears were of the dark and closed spaces. Still, the suit was heavy and hot and damn it he wished he could take that helmet off…
"Head in the game Ron! You can commit suicide after you rescue Kim, but for now let's focus."
Ron looked around the room. From what he could tell it was the right place. Row upon rows of shelves held a wide assortment of canisters and vials. Unsteadily he began to move amongst them looking for the one that Wade had described. Somewhere in this mess was the antidote for the nano-virus that Kim had been infected with. Ron still was a little fuzzy on why Kim had been here by her self and it was even weirder that it was the same place that he had driven to earlier. Surely if Kim was already here then he would have gotten a call from her? Or the GJ agents outside would have known to expect him? After all, they were Team Possible and this kind of gig was something they did together.
Ron tried not to let it bother him – he needed to keep his head as clear as he could if he was going to pull this off. He started concentrating on the labeled contents of the shelves as he shakily stumbled down the aisles. Every now and then the words would swim in front of his eyes, but they would just as quickly come back into focus. He wrote it off as being over heated in the suit he was wearing.
"Wait! That's it!"
Ron reached out his hand towards the shelf and brought up two small steel air-hypos. He pulled them close to his face, trying to squint through the condensation that was on his face plate so he could read the labels. A long pause later he tucked them into a small pouch on the front of his suit and made his way back to the air vent. He was positive they were the right ones and while he couldn't pronounce the name of the compound on them, he knew the combination of letters by heart. It was laborious work pulling himself back up into the ventilation system, but he managed somehow and then began to crawl towards where Wade had said Kim was.
"Man… I really need to get out of this suit. This is worse than doing the crab walk wearing my old football uniform."
Ron felt he was getting close to Kim, but he wasn't sure. His attention was caught by something that sounded like voices but he couldn't quite make them out. He paused completely, holding his breath and waiting to see if they would talk again. At first the only sound he could hear was that of a drop of perspiration falling from his face to the inside of his helmet. He fought back an urge to groan, and it was good that he did, because then he heard it.
Using the last reserves of strength that he had, Ron quickly scampered in the direction of the voice. Within seconds he was positive he had found the right place. He could hear Kim talking to someone else and that person responding, but he couldn't make out the words. He tried to squint through both his cumbersome helmet and the vent grill ahead of him, but it was no go. With a sigh of frustration he balled up his fist and slammed it into the vent covering in front of him sending it spiraling to the floor. He was hot, so damn hot right now, but he was close. All he had to do was go down there, give the antidote to Kim and then they could get out of here.
He put both of his hands on the edge of the vent and then pulled himself forward, half way into the room. He had actually been happy – happy that he was going to see Kim, happy that for once it was going to be him that saved her, and happy that they were going to leave here together.
But then he saw it. Saw her actually. On the floor, her hands wrapped around some mans head, their faces pressed together in an obviously passionate kiss. The tentative smile that had formed on his face instantly evaporated along with the last bits of his strength. The sight of seeing his best friend forever – his girlfriend – his Kim, kissing another man, shattered his world.
Ron didn't have time to react, or even to say anything, as his vision faded to black and he tumbled out of the vent onto the floor.
"He's a good kisser. He's probably had a lot of experience, unlike Ron…"
Kim, despite being nearly smashed out of her mind, instantly seized up.
"Ron! What… what am I doing? No! No!"
"No!" Kim said loudly as she pulled away from the kiss, only to realize that Jefferson had beaten her to the punch.
"What the hell is that!" he exclaimed.
Kim was confused. A moment ago they had been kissing… and then she had remembered Ron. She had been ready to pound Jefferson into a pulp, how dare he take advantage of her when she was in this state. She'd definitely give him a piece of her mind.
"Of course, you were enjoying it until you remembered your boyfriend…"
Kim pushed that thought out of her head. It wasn't her fault – she knew she wasn't in her right head now, everything was so complicated, so confusing and it was hard to think. She did know one thing however – she loved Ron and despite the fact that she had just done something that she had sworn she would never do, it hadn't changed a thing. Ron was her boyfriend and that was that.
Jefferson was already up from the ground. He had used the wall to steady himself as he gained his feet and had already crossed the room. That's when Kim noticed it – on the floor was a body that hadn't been there before. It was dressed in one of those white environmental hazard suits and she was pretty sure that none of the terrorists had been wearing those…
Slowly the cogs in her fogged up mind started to work.
"Is that some sort of rescue?" she asked incredulously. She tried to get up, but her hand slipped and she found herself resting on her rump again.
Jefferson kneeled down next to the fallen man and flipped him over.
"I don't know what happened to him but he seems to be in pretty bad shape."
Kim snorted, "Some rescue!"
"Wait! He's got something… here in the front pouch!"
Kim started to crawl on her hands and knees towards Jefferson and the white clad mystery man – it was the only type of locomotion she could manage in her current state.
"Look!" Jefferson crowed as he produced two hypo's seemingly from thin air.
Kim tried to focus on the situation, but her head was starting to swim. Still, she struggled to keep moving.
Jefferson took one of the hypos and pressed it to his arm.
"Are you sure that's safe?" Kim asked, her voice starting to slur.
Jefferson turned around and moved over to Kim. "At this point we're going to die anyway, so I think it's worth the risk."
Before Kim could protest he took the other hypo and pressed it to her exposed neck. It stung a little bit, but other than that there didn't seem to be any immediate reaction.
"Whoa!" Jefferson exclaimed as he fell to his knees.
"Oh shit! What did you do to us Jeff!" Kim exclaimed as she lost her tentative grip on the floor.
"Ugh… wait, you'll see." Jefferson brought both of his hands up to his head and started to massage his temples.
Kim stared up at him from the floor, wondering what the hell was going on, and then it hit her – a piercing head ache that seemed to start at the very back of her brain and then radiate out through her eyes.
"Aaaagh! What the hell is that?" she exclaimed as she curled up on the floor.
"Congrats Red, you've just lost your hangover cherry." Jefferson drolled as he flopped backwards on his butt.
The pain in Kim's head had started to abate. It was no longer as intense as it had been before, but it was still decidedly agonizing. She swore that if this was the price for drinking then she'd never touch a drop for as long as she lived.
"Live… I'm going to live… wait…"
"What about that guy? How's he doing?" Kim asked as she tried to reach a sitting position.
Jefferson shook his head.
"He's a goner Red. I think he got infected somehow, but he didn't bring any hangover drugs for himself. Poor kid too, looks like he's fresh out of school – if that."
Kim sighed. She didn't know who the guy was that had sacrificed his life for her and Jefferson, but she was determined to at least make sure that he wasn't alone when he died. She might not be able to save him, but she could do at least that much.
Kim walked on her knees over to the prone man. He was wearing some sort of EV-suit and it was obvious what had happened – there was a long rip in the back of the left leg that the man probably hadn't been aware of.
"He probably got it crawling around in those air ducts."
Jefferson had flipped him over and she looked at the mans face, or at least where his face should have been. Instead all she could see as one seriously fogged up face plate. Her hands went to the helmet, searching for some sort of clasp. With the state that his suit was in already, there wasn't any point to him dying in that suffocating contraption. Eventually her fingers found the release on the neck and she flipped it to the open position.
Gently she twisted the helmet, taking cares not to be too rough with her mysterious savior.
Jefferson watched the whole ordeal with a great curiosity. It wasn't that he was a cold hearted person; it was just that sometimes these things happened. Sometimes you went to play the hero and you didn't survive. At least this guy, whoever he was, actually had been a hero. Him and Kim were alive and were probably going to see another day and while it was a damn shame that this kid had died to rescue him, at least it hadn't been in vain. Jefferson mused that if their places had been reversed he wouldn't have minded so much – at least the kid had succeeded, and people would remember that.
Kim had just removed the mans helmet when Jefferson had decided he was going to get up and he wasn't prepared for what came next - the body wrenching sob from Kim and the plaintive wail that seemed to come from the very core of her being.
"Ron! Oh God No! RON!"
Well this chapter happened to end up being particularly long, about twice as long as I like to write them. However a lot of things needed to happen here in order to get this story rolling. I was sort of disappointed by the tepid response in both hits and reviews that I got with the first chapter of this story, so maybe on some level I was over compensating – but really I just honestly needed to get from point A to point B, and quickly.
As people can probably guess, the next chapter is going to be really heavy on the fallout from the end of this chapter, but I promise that it will be interesting and things are REALLY going to start moving quickly. Be prepared!
Once again, thank you for reading and please drop me a review. I like getting them, it gives me something to read in my email box other than adds for Viagra and sexy singles.