A Friend In
All Things Probable 3
by Greg Fisk (aka "Slyrr")
Kim Possible is owned/copyrighted by Disney and its affiliates, etc. etc.
Or: Moral Kombat
Kim sat in the couch in her house, looking at the evening news report. Ron was sitting nervously at her side. He'd been walking on eggshells since the previous day, and hadn't broached the subject of Grimm Probable again for fear of setting her off.
'And this was the scene at the Middleton Museum last night,' the voice of Dibble spoke, while the screen showed footage of Adrena Lynn being escorted to a waiting police wagon. Lynn's face was scowling, but there was a flash in her eyes as she looked at the camera, and the ghost of her old showboating ways surfaced for an instant as she waved. 'Criminal daredevil Adrena Lynn was caught trying to steal an exhibit from the museum, but fell into a trap prepared by Kim Possible. The famous teen heroine was on the scene as well, and she had this to say.'
Kim saw herself on the screen, addressing the camera and Dibble, who as usual, was pushing a microphone under her nose as if her words were a liquid that he was trying to soak up with a sponge. 'In the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I should say that the exhibit she was trying to steal was a fake that we set up to lure her in. The diamond bungee cord was only a prop, so the actual items of value wouldn't be at risk. We apologize to the city for the ruse, but we plan to sell the bungee prop on Ebay if someone would like to own the bait that caught Adrena Lynn, and we'll be donating the money directly to the museum.'
Dibble showed on the TV screen, sitting behind his desk with the news ticker bar scrolling beneath him. 'There's an old saying that you can't argue with success.' said Dibble, holding his papers in front of him. 'And certainly we can't argue that having Adrena Lynn off the streets and behind bars is good news for everyone. Will Kim Possible's auction to raise funds for the museum be penance enough for the public to forgive her for the deception? We spoke with several viewers, who had varying thoughts on the subject.'
The camera cut to a man being interviewed on the street, Dibble's microphone being held under his chin. The screen showed text reading "Joe Johnson, Local Merchant". 'I think she did the right thing. I mean you've got to take the fight straight to the bad guys, you know? And sometimes that means making them come to you instead of sitting around waiting to be a victim.'
'And you don't mind that Possible used the media to perpetrate a hoax?' Dibble said, his voice off camera.
'Hoax, schmoax.' said Johnson, smiling. 'I mean, it's not like I was planning to make a bee-line for the museum to see a diamond bungee cord.'
An elderly woman showed next on the screen, and the text read "Dora Mestek, Museum goer" 'Well, I had been looking forward to seeing the exhibit, and I was disappointed to learn it was a fake. But I'm sure Ms. Possible did what she thought was needed to catch a dangerous criminal.'
'So you don't mind her using the media in this way?' Dibble's voice said.
'Oh come on Dibble.' said Mestek, as if she were speaking to a grandchild. 'You expect us to believe the media doesn't do the same thing when it suits them?'
'Will this affect your opinion on any future statements that Kim Possible makes through the media?' Dibble asked, not responding to Mestek's question.
Mestek hesitated a moment. 'Well, I'll think twice probably, but she's always been such an honest girl. I'm sure she doesn't make a habit out of fibbing...'
The camera cut to another scene, and both Kim and Ron flinched instinctively as a tan-complexioned girl showed up, with immaculate hair and an insolent smile. The text on the screen read "Bonnie Rockwaller, Middleton High student". 'How do you feel about Kim Possible's ruse?' Dibble's voice spoke.
'Well Possible gets away with a lot at school.' Bonnie said. 'I mean, all that 'teen hero crimefighter' stuff - it's obviously gone to her head.'
'Was it worth it to catch the criminal?' Dibble asked.
'Worth yanking the chain of everyone in the city?' said Bonnie. 'Well, they say anything's possible for a Possible. I guess now we know that includes lying.'
Ron took in a breath. 'Oh yeah, and she never does anything like that.' he said.
Kim sighed. 'So don't like being compared to Bonnie...' she said quietly, and Ron quickly fell silent.
Dibble was shown back behind his studio desk, speaking to the camera. 'It should be noted that the fake diamond bungee auction is already at several thousand dollars, partly because of a generous bid by Russ Cueler. All of the items which Adrena Lynn had stolen were recovered, including the few items she had taken from Cueler in her previous heists. So while some may not agree with the method, they seem to agree on the end result. All of this has led us to do more investigations of Kim Possible, in which we'll discuss other questionable outcomes of her previous cases. Tune in tomorrow night for our next report, "Kim Possible - is she really all that?"
'Boooooo!' Ron said, shaking his fist at the screen. Rufus was imitating Ron and blowing a raspberry at Dibble's face, but the image disappeared as Kim held up the remote and turned off the TV. Kim slumped back into the couch, her arms tucked at her sides. Ron looked nervously at her and glanced at Rufus, as if pleading mentally to the mole rat for some advice about what to say. Rufus spread out his hands with a bewildered expression.
'Kim, I know you're upset...' he said at last.
'I'm not upset.' she said, breaking in. She sighed and was idly fiddling with the remote. 'The truth is, part of me thinks I deserved it.'
Being simple at heart, Ron responded the simplest way he could. 'Come on!' he said. 'That was all like totally bogus! And interviewing Bonnie? What, does she have the city wired so she knows exactly where to go to diss you at any given moment...?'
'All that weirdness with the Centurion project and you'd think I would have learned my lesson.' Kim said, as if she hadn't heard him.
Ron tried changing gears from dismissal to sympathy. 'Kim you can't beat yourself up over this. Taking down Adrena Lynn was a good thing, right?'
Kim wrapped her arms around her knees, still staring at the blank TV screen. 'But if you get to the right place by doing the wrong thing, is it worth it?' she said. 'We haven't even found Grimm yet, and he's already got me crossing lines.'
Ron hesitated for a moment, but Kim didn't seem as upset as she had the other day, and she herself brought up Grimm's name. 'If you don't want to be compared to Bonnie, then don't compare yourself to Grimm.' Ron said. 'What we did isn't any worse than what they've done.' said Ron.
'But is it any better?' Kim said, her voice sounding hollow and depressed. Ron didn't answer. After several quiet minutes, Kim's wrist Kimmunicator beeped. 'What's the sitch, Wade?' she said after turning on the screen.
Wade shook his head. 'Nothing.' he said. 'No thefts took place while Adrena Lynn was at the museum and there hasn't been anything suspicious today either. If Team Probable was using Lynn to cover any recent activity, then maybe her getting caught scared them into lying low.'
'And I thought they couldn't get any lower!' said Ron. Wade looked like he was about to chuckle, but a glance at Kim's stoic face was enough to stifle it.
'It was Grimm, I'm sure about it.' Kim growled. 'And they won't give up on any jobs they have lined up just because their stooge is in jail. They'll be back. We just need to find out from where. The news report got that much right - we have to find a way to take the fight to him.'
Wade was glancing from side to side on the Kimmunicator screen, checking the monitors set up in his house. 'Jade's no slouch.' he said, sounding almost grudging. 'When it comes to electronic data, she knows how to cover their tracks. I've tried all my normal stuff and it's not getting anywhere.'
Kim looked steadily at him. 'Try some abnormal stuff.' she said. 'Or invent something new. Anything you can do to flush them out. I need this, Wade. If anyone can do it, it's you.'
Wade smiled, looking embarrassed but not displeased. 'I'm all over it.' he said, and the screen blipped off.
Ron hesitated, knowing the answer before he even asked the question, but still unable to stop himself. 'Is there... anything I can do?' he said.
Kim gave him a faint smile. 'I don't think so.' she said. 'Right now it's a question of whether or not we can deduce where they hit next.'
'And when we find them?' Ron said. 'You know, our last dust-up with them didn't go all that smooth...'
'I've been thinking about that too.' said Kim. 'And we should try something different...'
Several days later, the Mathter stood pacing in his hideout. He adjusted the "M" shaped crown on his head and tugged at his belt. He looked at his watch, then tapped his foot, looked to either side, and checked his watch again. Suddenly the door to his inner chamber hissed open, and two figures walked in. Grimm and Rhonda entered the lair and Grimm's eyes fixed on the Mathter, giving him a nod.
'You're ten minutes and 9.73 seconds late!' said the Mathter, pointing at his watch. 'The delay is causing indefinite integrals and unpredictable parabolas!'
Grimm cocked an eyebrow. 'I have no idea what you just said, but I apologize for the delay. If it's any consolation, it was necessary to make sure no one could trace the theft back to you.' He took off his backpack and opened the flap on top, taking out a glass sphere that contained an intricate spider web of circuitry and several softly blinking lights that ran through fiberoptic threads within the sphere.
The Mathter's face went from annoyed to adoring in a splintered second. He stumbled forward as if hypnotized, his hands closing lovingly around the glass orb. 'Ahhh...' he sighed, his eyes milking over. 'The AI Equational Codex! With this hooked into the systems which run my lair, I'll have the ultimate code-breaking computer! Hacking into Go City's secure financial databases will be as easy as pi!'
Grimm cleared his throat, and the Mathter reluctantly tore his gaze from the AI Equational Codex to look at him. 'Ah yes, your payment.' he said, and he set the Codex into a tripod-like stand before fishing a briefcase from behind his control desk. He handed it over to Grimm with some hesitation. 'I still think your fee on this job was a little close to absolute maximum...'
'Run the numbers.' said Grimm smoothly, taking the case and handing it to Rhonda. 'What are your chances of success without the Codex, and what were the odds against you being able to steal it without getting caught? Don't look at what you're spending, look at what you're saving.'
The Mathter pursed his lips, but gave a grudging nod. 'You make a critical point.' he said.
Rhonda had finished checking the money and was looking around at the walls of the lair, which were plastered with numbers and various mathematical symbols. She looked at the Mathter, and had to bite her lip to keep from chuckling. His costume really did look as if he'd made it by routing through a drawer of old boxer shorts and T-shirts. 'Easy girl,' she thought. 'You can diss him later at home...'
The Mathter was looking back at the Codex, the expression of adoration returning to his masked eyes. 'The odds of stealing this myself were rather low, but you came through. I must admit, you two are a very competent duo.' he said.
'True.' said Grimm, his smirk becoming more pronounced. 'You might say we're...'
'Co-efficient!' said Rhonda, smiling and pointing at Grimm. 'I actually saw that one coming for a change!' Grimm smiled and he and Rhonda tapped fists.
The Mathter harrumphed. 'When you come up with a cool persona, everyone wants to get in on the act...' he muttered.
Later as they made their way to the Ksikkihkíni, Grimm got another beep on his communicator. 'Sitch me, Jade.' he said.
'Mission's over I presume?' Jade asked, and on the screen she was fidgeting with her rainbow-streaked hair.
'We were just getting ready to leave.' said Grimm, nodding while Rhonda took the helmets out from the trunk and Rueful slithered into her backpack. 'What's up?'
'We've got another hit on your site...' Jade started, but Grimm let out a sigh.
'Can it wait for a while, Jade?' he said. 'The work's been great lately, but it's been constant. We've still got school and stuff to deal with and we'll need some time off just to make sure all the irons in the fire are tended...'
'Actually yeah.' said Jade. 'He says he's not in any particular rush, but he needs some components taken.'
Grimm sounded suspicious at once. 'Usually our clients are on a strict self-imposed timetable for world domination.' he said. 'Why's this one so mellow? Who is he?'
Jade shook her head. 'Beats me.' she answered. He's pulling our SOP of distorting the audio and video so he can stay anonymous. But wait'll you see how much he's offering...' Jade paused and some numbers scrolled across the screen. Grimm's eyes brightened.
'That much?' he said. 'It sounds good. Suspiciously good.' He paused, thinking deeply, and glancing over at Rhonda, who was already wearing her helmet and sitting on the bike, waiting for him. 'Let him know we're interested, but screen him and make sure it's not a trick. We'll use the time to rest up and get ready.' Grimm looked keenly at Jade. 'And along those lines,' he said, 'Did they figure it out?'
Jade nodded. 'Sho' 'nuff.' she said. 'Since the thing at the museum, Wade's been going through every search string on probable and fatigable that he can find.'
'The red herrings holding up?' he said, smiling faintly.
'So far.' Jade answered. 'But now they know it's you, they're gonna go all out. She was pretty mad about that thing with the Attitudinator...'
'I know.' Grimm answered. 'But that could make things even easier when we meet them again.'
The bell rang in the halls of Middleton High. Outside, the marquee read in mis-matched letters, "Assembly Today: The Importance of Honesty: Guest Lecturer Bill Clinton". Kim was fishing books out from her locker for her next classes while storing books from the previous ones. She kept an eye on the screen mounted inside the locker, which remained black and inactive.
Ron shifted his weight from foot to foot as he stood beside her, leaning against the other lockers. She had seemed calmer the last few days, but with every news report of any theft, he could feel her level of tension rising. And there had been reports, several of them, about thefts and other incidents in which the police had no suspects and had not found the perpetrators.
Kim straightened up as she heard the familiar sound of her monitor screen beeping, and Wade was staring out at her. He looked tired, and he was not smiling. 'I've been going over police band and other secure channels.' he started.
'Let me guess.' said Kim. 'There's nothing different than what I've been seeing in the news.'
'I'm afraid not.' Wade answered. 'I'd like to say they have more information than they're letting on, but they don't. Of course, they haven't been looking for someone specific like we have.'
Kim nodded. 'Then maybe we can spot something they haven't. What have you collected?'
Wade was looking over lists of scrolling data on his computer screens. 'Right now, Killigan is buying a number of laser-activated cannons, but I don't know what he's planning to use them for. But he's doing it fairly out in the open, so I doubt Team Probable is involved. Camille Leon is in Central Europe, but she's been doing all her own thieving lately. Dementor has been trying to gather information about your battle-suit, but I've got him stonewalled. Every other major bad guy is kind of between plots right now. The only other things I've got to go on are rumors...'
'I'll even listen to those.' said Kim.
Wade sighed, looking embarrassed. 'OK. DNAmy is still plotting to get the Cuddle-buddy line re-established in stores by 'any means necessary'. Motor Ed is supposed to be going to Hollywood to try and force them to make a sequel to "Road Trip". Frugal Lucre is up for parole and buzz is that he wants to try and get a job working for Drakken. There are rumors that someone may try to break into Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. Senor Senior Junior recently put out a personal...'
'Hold it - back up one!' said Kim. 'What's supposed to be a target of a break in and why?'
Wade paused. 'Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems.' said Wade. 'The tech magazines all say they're currently working on a device called the Oscillation Overthruster.' he said. 'It supposed to be able to systematically re-arrange molecules along a straight line, which could allow for a much more powerful and effective method of transmitting communications. Though there are also rumors it could also be used for interdimensional...'
'That's it.' said Kim. 'That's his target.'
Ron looked uncomfortable. 'How do you know?' he said. 'It's not like we've got probe droids to confirm it...'
'Ron's right about the question.' Wade said. 'Team Probable are mercenaries, and they go where the money is. They could have been hired to help for any one of these jobs. And who says I haven't got probe droids?'
'Just call it crimefighter's intuition.' said Kim. 'Keep an eye on this one Wade. I've got a bad feeling about this.'
'So you get those too...' Ron mumbled as Wade's face disappeared with a blip. After a few seconds, Ron ventured to speak again. 'Uh, any thoughts as to how we'll catch them this time?'
Kim was smiling, though it was a much more mischievous smile than her normal one. 'I said we should try something different.' she answered, 'Grimm works in the dark and trades in deception. So to take him down we need two things. Light and truth.'
Ron looked even more confused. 'Yeah, OK.' he said. 'So we, what? Hit him with flashlights and newspapers?'
'Close.' said Kim.
Grimm was seated at the desktop computer in his room at home, putting the finishing touches on a homework assignment for school. Even while he was typing in the closing sentences, his computer beeped and Jade's face popped into a window on the screen. 'What up, Jade?' he said.
'More information on that job offer.' Jade said. 'The client wants a communication module called the Oscillation Overthruster.' said Jade. 'They're offering top dollar as long as we can deliver it undamaged and anonymously.'
'Did you figure out who the client is?' Grimm said off-handedly.
Jade shook her head. 'Whoever they are they've got their lines of communication pretty well guarded.'
Grimm raised an eyebrow. 'Any chance it's bait for a trap?'
Jade shook her head. 'Doubtful. I've been quadruple-checking everything like you asked in case it's one of Wade's dodges. But this one looks legit - well, as legit as any of our jobs get. It's located at Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, which is a high profile top secret facility. It's been hit before by supervillains looking for bits and bobs to steal for their doomsday machines, and Possible may anticipate it as a target...'
Grimm rubbed his chin thoughtfully. 'Take it.' he said at last. 'But put triple security measures in place for the drop off.' Jade nodded and her face disappeared from the screen. He turned his chair around and looked down at the floor where Rhonda lay on a beanbag chair. She was fast asleep with her limbs splayed, her mouth open and her tongue lolling out. Her upper face was covered with an open school book. Rueful lay curled up in the crook of her arm.
He smiled and stared at her as she slept. She gurgled slightly and a soft snore came from her throat. 'Rest up beautiful.' he said softly. 'Soon it's gonna be your time to shine...'
Ron's legs were aching. His feet were falling asleep and the small of his back was sending lances of pain up his spine. He sat curled up in a dark corner of a vast laboratory room inside Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. He had been doing this every night for the last three days, sitting in partial concealment behind one of the many desks which were littered with wires, components, welders, tools and other material. Each station had a device which looked like it was the central focus of that desk in particular. But one desk near the center had a strange device on it which looked ramshackle, but much more complete than anything else in the lab.
He glanced aside to where Kim was seated next to him, looking out over the lab with an almost machine-like intensity. She showed no signs of aches or weariness, and had been totally relentless in their guard duties from the moment they started.
The director of the facility, John Bigboote, had been understanding and compliant when Kim had approached him with warnings of a rumored break-in, and her request to be allowed to guard the main labs. Bigboote seemed skeptical that anything could get past the lab's already heavy security, but agreed to let Kim and Ron stand vigil in the labs while keeping it quiet and not informing the press.
And they had watched, for three long nights. Ron had gone to school each following day with red, puffy eyes and doubts in his head. Nothing had happened during any of their guard shifts and he was already preparing speeches to give to Kim about how they might be wrong about Yoyodyne being a target. Rufus yawned and stretched from his place in Ron's pocket. 'Are you sure Grimm didn't start those rumors to trick us into staying up late so he could laugh about it at home?' Ron said hesitantly.
Kim maintained a steely look in her eyes. 'He'll be here.' she said. 'He won't want the Overthruster himself, but there are plenty of bad guys on our list who would love to get their hands on this technology. That means Probable will be the one hired to get it.'
Ron's stomach rumbled loudly. 'Hundreds of secret labs in the world and none of them have a food court...' he moaned.
'Head in the game, Ron.' Kim said. 'When they get here just remember, don't give them a chance to pull their old tricks...'
In the night sky above Yoyodyne, the still silence of the air was broken only by a slight whirring noise as a small vehicle broke through the low clouds and descended. The vehicle landed on the roof of the labs and two figures dismounted. One went to the intake vents on the roof and took a number of small orbs from his backpack, dropping one into each vent. The other figure went around to each corner of the rooftop and threw identical orbs down onto the ground at each side. They both donned a pair of gas masks and waited.
There was a hissing sound, and grayish fumes rose around the building, and streamed from each intake vent. Every guard in or around the building was quickly knocked out by the gas. Soon a loud metallic clang sounded through the main lab room as a hand knocked a ventilation grate loose and the two figures dropped neatly onto the floor.
The desk where the Oscillation Overthruster had been mounted shone pale under a dim light as one of the two figures approached it.
From their hiding place in a far corner of the room, Kim bit her lip in nervous anticipation. She held Ron back, motioning him to remain silent. The cameras Wade had set up were in place and rolling. The instant Grimm took the Overthruster, they'd have the proof they needed to make sure Team Probable would never get a moment's peace ever again...
Rhonda looked around the lab nervously. Everything had gone smoothly so far, and their goal was in sight. Everything was dark except for the light that was shining above the desk which Grimm was approaching.
Just as Grimm's hand was about to touch the Overthruster, there was a soft beeping sound that came from his wristwatch. He suddenly stopped and lowered his arm. 'What?' said Rhonda. 'What are you waiting for? It's right there...'
'You know it's kind of funny in a way.' said Grimm, as if he were continuing a conversation he and Rhonda had been having for some time. 'A few months ago we'd never even heard of Kim Possible. Now we can barely swing a dead cat over our heads without hitting her.' Then he raised his voice, looking back over his shoulder. 'How about you guys? Do you think it's funny?'
And Rhonda turned quickly, gasping in surprise as a pair of figures stepped slowly out of the darkness. 'Yeah.' said Kim. 'It's a laugh riot. But get used to it - because until the day I send you to prison, I'm going to be on you like a crimefighting shadow!'
Grimm bowed his head slightly in a polite nod. 'Kim.' he said.
Kim glared back at him. 'Grimm.' she answered.
'Hi Ron!' said Rhonda cheerfully, waving down.
'Hey Rhonda!' he said, waving back. Kim looked at him coldly and Ron stopped waving, moving the back of his hand to his mouth and clearing his throat noisily.
They stared at each other in silence for some time. Then Kim and Grimm both looked at Rhonda, who had started whistling the tune from The Good The Bad and The Ugly. 'Sorry.' she said, smiling.
Grimm turned back to Kim. 'I know you were waiting for us to take the Overthruster so you could get it on tape and show it to the cops.' he said. 'So not gonna happen. What'll you do now?'
'We go to plan B.' said Kim, her arms raised to an attack posture. 'First Ron and I defeat you - then we turn you over to the police - then we celebrate at Bueno Nacho.'
'You're presuming an awful lot.' said Grimm, chuckling. 'Right now I'd say the only item on your list that has a chance of happening is the last one - and I doubt you'll feel like celebrating once we're finished with you.'
'We'll see.' Kim said. 'Just out of curiosity, where did you get those outfits? No one makes that style anymore.'
Grimm smirked. 'They're called tailors Kim, they're not hard to find. Just look in the phone book next to Occam's Razor.'
Kim flushed a little, remembering the almost ridiculous odyssey she had gone through trying replacements to her mission outfit some time ago. 'Well I guess if you like living in the past.' she said.
Grimm looked surprised. 'You're a fine one to talk,' he said. 'Though I'm impressed you actually kept a straight face saying that while you're wearing bell-bottom pants.'
Kim's eyes narrowed. 'They're not bell-bottoms, they're flares!' she said angrily.
Grimm shook his head. 'They're bell-bottoms.' he said. 'A throwback to the 70's - the ugliest, gaudiest, tackiest decade in human history. No matter how you label the package, it's still baloney.'
Kim gritted her teeth. 'Are you gonna stand there and lecture me about what you think is hip or are you gonna put up your dukes?'
Grimm turned to Ron. 'Why do you put up with her, Stoppable?' he said, sounding perfectly serious. 'She is such a nag!'
'I am not a nag!' Kim said indignantly. 'Tell him, Ron!' she said, turning and glaring at him.
Ron stared at her, his face blank. Then they both looked at Rhonda, who was making a whinnying sound and pursing her lips to imitate horse teeth. 'That's it, you're both going down!' Kim growled. 'And don't think your cute little 'make them come to you' routine is gonna work this time, Probable. I'm on to you!'
Grimm smiled, looking even more annoyingly confident than ever. 'Actually,' he said, leaning against the desk and making like he was examining his fingers, 'I've decided that fighting you is no longer a priority for me. You obviously don't take it seriously, so I'm turning things over to someone who's got something to prove.'
And with that, Rhonda ran forward and stood in front of Kim, her fists raised, and the light of battle shining in her eyes. Kim looked over at Grimm, ignoring her. 'You're kidding - right?' she said. 'I'm not wasting my time on the sidekick!'
'Yeah come on!' Ron said. 'Give her some credit!'
Rhonda smirked, looking suddenly every bit as cocky as Grimm. 'Haven't you heard, pom-pon? I've been upgraded to partner!'
Kim again ignored her and instead spoke to Grimm. 'Have you gone soft, Grimm?' she said. 'Totally lame, sending your GF to do the fighting for you!'
Grimm shrugged. 'I'll pitch in if she gets in trouble.' he said. 'But I don't think she will. Frankly Possible, I don't think you have the power to stand against her.'
Kim felt angry. She'd been expecting, and had planned for, an all-out slugfest with Grimm. Instead she was standing in front of Rhonda, who she'd never even thought of as more than a cosmetic accessory to Team Probable. From all she saw and remembered, Rhonda hadn't been much of a fighter, and the thought of pitting her sixteen forms of kung-fu against a no-talent blonde spitfire seemed like an insult. 'I already said I'm not wasting any time with her.'
Rhonda chirruped with her lips and Rueful slithered out of her backpack, scurrying down her leg and over to Grimm's side. 'What'sa matter bubble-butt? You scared?'
Kim flinched at hearing the old pet-name her mother had given her. 'Where did you hear...?' she said, but Rhonda broke in.
'Drakken.' Rhonda said, grinning as she saw Kim's cheeks flushing crimson. 'He told us all kinds of funny stories at the last HenchCo convention. People say I'm a geek, but even I wasn't stupid enough to lock braces on my first kiss!'
'I'm trying to spare you the humiliation!' Kim hissed, staring at her fully for the first time. 'But unless you zip it, I'll chew you up for an appetizer before going on to the main course!'
'Ooooh, touchy-touchy! So I finally hit a nerve, huh?' Rhonda said, squaring off with her. 'Well if you don't like what I'm saying, you know how to shut me up! Come on, bubble-butt! Or maybe I'd get a better fight out of your wittle Pandawoo!'
Kim was looking madder and madder and Ron looked more and more nervous. 'Oh boy,' Ron thought, shaking his head. 'Now you've done it...'
Both Ron and Grimm stepped to the side and wound up almost standing next to each other as Kim stepped forward. Rueful took a perch on Grimm's shoulder while Rufus shimmied up Ron's arm to get a better view. 'You asked for it, blondie!' Kim snarled.
'Bring it on, carrot-top!' Rhonda answered, twitching her fingers.
Kim and Rhonda began grappling. Kim landed one punch, but Rhonda took it in the shoulder and used a foot sweep that sent them both crashing onto the tiled floor of the lab. Soon they were rolling around on the floor trying to pin each other, grabbing at each other's hair. Grimm paused, staring down at them, then glanced over at Ron. They looked at each other for a moment.
'I don't suppose you've got any popcorn?' said Grimm.
'Oddly enough, I do!' said Ron, pulling a bag of buttered kernels from his pack. They shared the popcorn, munching while they watched the fracas going on before them.
'Rhonda's gonna kick her butt.' said Grimm, taking another handful.
Ron shook his head. 'Sorry my friend, but you and I both know that Kim is better!' Grimm smirked, but said nothing, turning his attention back to the two girls rolling and thrashing on the floor.
Kim felt a momentary sense of frustration. She had never been much of a wrestler, and brief flashes of her muddy tussle with Shego at a Greek spa came back to her. Rhonda, on the other hand, seemed totally in her element. She maneuvered herself so she was behind Kim and her arms wound around her while her legs kept Kim from getting enough purchase against the floor to get to her feet. She felt Rhonda's arms moving into position for a sleeper hold...
'Your kung-fu doesn't mean jack if someone's got control of your body!' Rhonda was growling. 'Too bad one of your sixteen forms isn't judo!'
Kim squirmed against Rhonda's grip, realizing that she was right. In all her fights, her one big weakness had been when someone larger and stronger got a good hold and overpowered her with brute force. Her strikes and kicks were usually enough to drop most opponents, but only if she was able to keep a measure of distance between herself and them. By rushing in and underestimating Rhonda, she'd made herself vulnerable. Still, even judo wasn't foolproof.
Rhonda felt Kim's head snap forwards and then back, their skulls knocking painfully together. She cried out in pain, and quicker than she could react, she felt Kim snake out of her hold and roll forwards.
They both got up, breathing heavily as they squared off again. 'Not bad for starters.' Kim said, her smile returning. 'A little more than I bargained for, but judo doesn't mean jack either if your opponent can clobber you before you get too close!'
'Nuh-uh!' said Rhonda, grinning.
'I could drop you so fast and in so many different ways you'd never know what hit you.' said Kim. 'Give it up Rhonda, I'm through playing games!'
An evil grin spread across Rhonda's face. 'You want to get serious?' she said. 'Well get ready pom-pon, 'cuz momma's got a brand new bag!' Rhonda tore open a small Velcro flap on her left bicep, then began to chant strange words that Kim didn't understand.
Kim saw a mark on Rhonda's arm that looked like a some kind of pawprint, only it was glowing bright blue. Rhonda let out a scream and threw her head back, her eyes glowing with the same blue light, and Kim faintly heard what sounded like the roar of a grizzly bear mingled with Rhonda's voice.
Rhonda smacked her fists together with a loud crack, standing at the ready, her whole form surmounted by a blue halo. She put her arms around a support girder next to her and with a swift wrenching motion, she tore it loose, wielding it as easily as if it were a cardboard tube. 'Batter up!' said Rhonda, grinning as dust cascaded down from the hole in the ceiling above them.
Kim gasped and went into a crouch as the girder swept above her with a dangerous whooshing sound. Rhonda completed her spin, smoothly raising the girder above her head like a hammer, and Kim rolled to the side. She heard a deafening clang and felt a shockwave along with a spray of shattered tile as the girder slammed into the floor where she had been standing.
Kim backed away as Rhonda hefted the girder once more. With a short yell, she threw it like a javelin and Kim cartwheeled to the side once again. The girder pierced the reinforced concrete wall of the lab and stuck like a dart.
Rhonda was charging towards her with a grating shout, knocking the large lab desks out of her path as if they were bowling pins. She crouched briefly and then leaped into the air with a flying kick. Kim easily dodged the strike, but stared in amazement as a deep, bowl-like depression formed in the wall where Rhonda's foot struck, a spider-web of cracks spreading through the concrete wall.
'Have a seat, Possible!' she snarled, righting herself and sending one of the large desks sliding across the floor towards her with a swift kick.
Kim flipped over the desk, which roared beneath her like a passing truck, smashing into other desks and upending chairs. Kim went back to a ready stance, her teeth gritted. Rhonda stepped forward and Kim stepped back, maintaining the space between them.
'Keeping your distance, huh?' Rhonda smirked. 'Pretty smart, pom-pon - or not!' Rhonda again grimaced as if in great concentration, the blue glow returned and she drew back her hand.
'Spirit strike!' she shouted, and swept her arm forward in a broad slashing motion. There was a sound like an exploding thunderclap, and from each of her fingers, a bluish white streak spread out, like semi-circular claws. They sped forward with a sound like a freight train, leaving deep furrowing gashes in the floor as they went. Kim gasped, cornered against the cluster of desks piled up behind her.
'Kim!!' Ron screamed, as the scythes of energy slammed into the desks with a thundering explosion. He tried to rush forward, but Grimm suddenly blocked his way.
'Uh uh.' he said, smirking. 'I thought you believed in her!'
Rhonda stared in satisfaction at the cloud of dust and crumbling stone where the spirit strike had hit. The light faded as the strike diminished, and Rhonda saw the side wall and the cluster of desks, with five wide slashes gouged into them. Then she frowned. 'No stinkin' way!' she growled.
Between two of the slashes, Kim stood in an arched, graceful crouch, looking surprised, but unharmed. She coughed as the dust and debris of the explosion continued to settle.
Ron's jaw was hanging open. 'What... have you been feeding her?' he said.
Grimm took another handful of popcorn from the bag held in Ron's now limp hand. 'Didn't she already say?' he said. 'She's upgraded. She's always wanted to step up and I was only too glad to help her. Of course the training got a little rough sometimes...'
'You know me - I like it rough!' said Rhonda with a wink.
'Ew!' said Ron, wrinkling his face.
'I knew it meant the focus would go off me sometimes.' said Grimm. 'But I've never been prouder to play second fiddle.' He raised his fist to Rhonda. 'Baby, you're the greatest!'
Rhonda's face blushed deep red. But at that moment, Kim leaped forward and caught her in the midsection with a flying kick. Rhonda wheezed and they both tumbled backwards, with Rhonda slamming hard against the wall where she had kicked before. The wall, already weakened, crumbled as Rhonda fell against it. But she seized the collar of Kim's shirt and they both disappeared backwards through a Rhonda-shaped hole in the wall.
There was a sound that came back through the hole, a combination of thumping, squealing and grunting. Grimm finished his popcorn and stood facing Ron. He shrugged his shoulder and Rueful leaped onto one of the nearby desks. 'All right Stoppable.' he said. 'Fun's fun, but now it's time we got down to business...'
Seated behind his keyboard, Wade remained poised and alert. He had several progress bars up on one of his monitors, all reading green. These measured the condition and functionality of the surveillance cameras that he had set up in the labs, and which Kim had told him to keep running at any cost. The main surveillance grids in Yoyodyne were down, but he had set these up independently and they didn't require power or signals from the Yoyodyne systems to work.
He knew Jade had knocked out the Yoyodyne security, and he was monitoring several remote pathlines that could be used to access his own cameras. In addition to that, he was also keeping an eye on things in the lab itself and was watching in surprise as Kim and Rhonda battled.
He was just setting a fraction of his attention aside to see if he could scan Rhonda and see if he could determine what energy was fueling her strength, when a small window popped up on his main monitor and he saw a girl's face with an Asian complexion and rainbow streaks in her hair.
'Hey Wade! Kiss-kiss!' came a chirpy voice. Then the girl was hunching over a keyboard and typing furiously, and Wade saw the progress bar controlling one of his cameras shifting from green toward yellow...
'Jade!' Wade said, his voice low and flat. He had been expecting her to show up, and he was ready for her. He'd been practicing his keyboard fingering speed and studying routines to counter remote access for days since learning Team Probable was back, preparing for this showdown. Their first electronic duel had been a sort of draw, but he had come away from the last one as the clear victor, and he was determined to keep it that way.
He kept his eyes on the monitors, reading the data from his decryption programs, and began typing at once. One camera was already in the red, under Jade's control, and she was starting on the second. For some time there was nothing but the sound of clacking as his fingers blazed across the keys, and he was rewarded by the sight of the progress bar on the first camera shifting from red to yellow. He kept it up with his right hand, using his second hand to start typing on another keyboard. The progress bar on camera 2 stopped it's slow slide towards red and remained in the yellow, hovering back and forth slightly.
He succeeded in re-locking camera 1, and camera 2 was still in flux when camera 3's progress bar started moving towards yellow. He shifted his attention, keeping up the pressure. As he typed and scanned and monitored the cameras, his glance occasionally flicked across the window showing Jade. Her face was looking frustrated and angry, and her hair was looking more ragged. 'Someone's... feeling his... cheerios!' she hissed as she continued typing. Camera 4 started shifting to yellow, and camera 1 did as well, but Wade kept her blocked and the progress bars stayed safely in the green and under his control.
Wade smirked, feeling confident. Jade's intrusion attempts were complicated, but nothing he felt worried about. As long as he stayed focused, there would be no trouble. And he was keeping an eye on his own remote access program, keeping it masked and hunting for the IP address which Jade was using to tamper with the cameras. 'Tell your boss if he tries to take the Overthruster, he should say cheese for the cameras so he'll look good when we forward the pictures to Global Justice and make him famous!' Wade said, his arms and fingers moving swiftly back and forth from keyboard to keyboard.
'Big... freckle-faced...jerk!' Jade said, her own arms and hands moving just as quickly.
'Sticks and stones, hacker-girl!' Wade said, smiling. 'After the last time I spiked your systems, you should have known better than to try and take on the champ!'
Focused as he was on the duel and in searching for Jade's IP, Wade did not hear the soft creak of the door to his closet which began to open in the room behind him...
Wade felt a surge of excitement and satisfaction as he found the remote IP address that the intrusion attempts were coming from. 'By the way Jade,' he said triumphantly, 'you've been Waded!' And he launched his spike program. On the window showing Jade's face, he saw a series of sparks fly from components on either side of her, and heard her squeal in anger before the window went black.
He quickly tended to the camera progress bars and they were all set back to green in a matter of seconds. 'Wade 2, Jade zip!' he said. He was just turning his attention back to the cameras themselves so he could monitor the battle in the labs, when he felt something seize the armrest of his swivel chair.
He was suddenly spun around and hoisted out of the chair by a pair of mechanical arms. A metal cable spun out like a spider web, winding around him from shoulder to ankle, and a metal clamp smoothed a piece of duct tape over his mouth.
He looked in astonishment. His remote field droid was binding him and hauling him to the coat rack mounted on the wall. It was the droid he'd built to replace the one which was destroyed in the Amazon when Ron had gone to fetch the Aurora orchid for Kim. It looped some of the folds of cable holding him and slipped them over one of the wooden pegs, effectively hanging him on the wall. Wade struggled against the metal cords. Since he had begun delivering equipment and information to Kim and Ron in the field, he had nearly forgotten about the Wade-bot 2.0. The monitor on it sparked into life, and Jade's face was staring out at him, looking relaxed and insolent.
'Congrats on frying my tertiary system.' she said. 'But it was worth it to distract you while I took control of this puppy!'
Wade struggled even harder as realization hit him. His duel with Jade had been easy - too easy. But it was just difficult enough to keep him from thinking that Jade's target might not have been the cameras at all, but something different. The Wade-bot rolled on it's tracks, stopping in front of his computer keyboards and the mechanical arms snaked out, moving so it looked like it was cracking the knuckles on it's robotic hands.
'Should have known better than to take on the champ, huh?' she said. 'Like I haven't been thinking of a workaround to your little tricks all this time! I knew there was no way I could access all your cameras from a remote location. But when you want to block a signal, there's nothing quite as effective as blocking it from the source!' The Wade-bot's arms began typing fast on the keyboards, and one by one the progress bars on the cameras went from green to red, and finally the images projected by the cameras onto the large monitor screen to the left of Wade's computer all went black.
Wade glared helplessly and squirmed within the cable holding him, trying to get some slack and get his arms free. He looked at his desk, which was littered with devices that could cut the cord, or fry the Wade-bot's circuits. All out of his reach and useless. He pushed his feet against the wall and tried hoisting himself off the coat rack. He felt himself sliding up and pushed harder. If he could only reach his desk...
A strong metallic hand pushed him in the chest, forcing him back onto the peg. 'Uh uh, hacker-boy!' said Jade, her face glowing at him from the monitor on the Wade-bot. 'You'll be sitting this one out! Wade 1, Jade 1!'
At that moment, the door to Wade's room opened. He looked in wild hope to the doorway, seeing his mother standing there. 'Wade - what in Sam Hill are you doing in here?'
Wade struggled, trying to force the tape off with his tongue and speak at the same time. 'Mmmm! Hmmmf! Viffff krmmmm gmmm hmmmvem mmm!'
One arm of the Wade-bot kept him pinned against the wall, but the torso swiveled and the other arm gave what looked like a jaunty wave. 'Hi Mrs. Load!' Jade chirped.
Mrs. Load glared at the Wade-bot. 'Who are you?' she said, her voice sounding impatient.
Jade grinned. 'Just one of Wade's Everlot buddies.' she said. 'We're in the middle of a role-playing scenario.' she said, making air quotes with the Wade-bot's hands.
'Izzat so?' said Mrs. Load, still looking impatient and putting her hands on her hips. 'Looks to me like you've got my boy hog-tied and gagged. What kind of 'scenario' is that?'
Jade shrugged. 'Beats me.' she said. 'All I know is he's supposed to be the 'hero' of the adventure and he's set to bust loose in five minutes and clean my clock.'
'Nnnnn! Snnnn nnnynnn!' Wade said, shaking his head vigorously.
'Five minutes, huh?' said Mrs. Load, looking slightly less annoyed. 'That oughtta give him just enough time to get ready for bed - which is where he's supposed to be in fifteen minutes!'
Jade raised the Wade-bot's hand in a salute. 'Can do, Mrs. L!' she grinned. 'By the way, Wade's been going on and on about your lemon squares - any chance I could try one?'
Mrs. Load's eyes betrayed a flicker of succumbing to the flattery. 'Well it's late, but you do look a little skinny.' she said. 'I'll bring one, count it - one lemon square. And when I get back, I expect to see my boy down off that wall and done with his 'scenario'. I don't care if he's set to become the grand poobah of role playing, this is it for the night!'
Wade let out a garbled string of muffled words, but his mother had already turned and walked away, leaving the door open. Jade was turning back to him with a wicked grin. 'How long before she realizes I'm in a computer screen and can't eat anything?' she said. The Wade-bot rolled back and she resumed typing on his keyboards. 'Well, we don't want any of your camera footage left undeleted.' she went on. 'And I'd better reset the passwords for good measure...'
Wade resumed his struggling, but Jade had already left the keyboards and was scribbling on a post-it note with one of Wade's pens. She stuck the paper to the coils around Wade's chest before backing away and spreading out the Wade-bot's arms with a polite bow.
'Been a blast, Wade! Wish I could stick around for the lemon square, but missing dessert has never been this sweet!' One robotic hand raised up to the screen and Jade made a kissing motion while the hand flicked towards him. Then the screen went black and the Wade-bot went limp.
Wade glared at his robot furiously. He looked down at the note on his chest, struggling to read it upside-down. In hasty, scrawled writing, it read, "I was beaten by Jade". 'Snn ffmm bmmm!' he muffled through his gag, and kicked the wall.
Back at Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, Rhonda and Kim had crashed through the wall and disappeared, leaving Ron and Grimm facing off. Both of them went into practiced stances of Tai Shing Pek Kwar. 'Kicking you guys around is a hoot, but we've got a job to do.' said Grimm. 'Before we go on, I guess I should ask - am I facing Kim Possible's partner or her stooge?'
'I'm the sidekick.' said Ron, though saying it somehow made him feel smaller as he thought of how proudly Rhonda had declared she was a partner to Grimm.
'Right then.' said Grimm. 'I'll just kick you to the side. I hear you're also a master of Tai Shing Pek Kwar.' he went on, 'And we saw some of your chops when we were working for you. Let's see if you've been practicing.'
It occurred to Ron that he had never seen Grimm actually instigate an attack, and that he may have thus been fooled into thinking that Grimm didn't know how to fight unless someone else made the first move. But that illusion was quickly dispelled as Grimm leaped at him with a high kick that he barely sidestepped.
Grimm struck again with both fists, then with a roundhouse kick. Ron grunted as he blocked and dodged, his arms stinging with pain as they took the brunt of the attack. He slid back, winding up a few steps away from Grimm. He went into a crane stance, curling his fingers. 'Wauuuh! Waaaauuusha-sha-sha-sha!' he squealed, stepping down into a crouch and whipping his arms from side to side.
Grimm smirked and went into a mirror crouch with one arm raised behind him, the other lowered in front. He twitched one finger towards Ron, beckoning him. They clashed, and there was a flurry of strikes and blocks. Ron gritted his teeth as he alternated punches, only to see Grimm leaning from side to side, and his punches hitting only empty air.
On Ron's next punch, Grimm seized his wrist and whirled around, catapulting Ron forward in a tumbling roll. 'Hey, ow!' Ron shouted as he clattered into the shattered pile of desks which Rhonda had pushed against the far wall. He got painfully back to his feet, only to find Grimm right in front of him, standing at the ready and waiting.
Ron struck at him with as much skill as he could muster, but Grimm deflected each of his blows. And all the while, the sounds of Kim battling with Rhonda echoed in the background. 'Wonder how your GF is doing against my GF?' Grimm said quietly, trading blows with Ron.
'Don't worry about Kim!' Ron said, forcing a smile. 'She's handled bad guys tougher and meaner than Rhonda! She's never been beaten by a sidekick, not even Shego!'
Grimm smiled. 'Then she's in trouble because she's facing my partner.' he said.
As Ron and Grimm kept fighting and circling around each other, Rufus and Rueful also were engaged in a duel of mole rat vs. weasel. They chittered and squeaked as they tumbled, grappling, scratching and snapping at each other.
'How does it feel knowing we've got the upper hand on you?' said Grimm.
'Says who?' Ron answered.
'Normally, you'd be fighting Rhonda and Kim would be trying to fight me.' said Grimm, with sarcastic emphasis on the word trying. 'Rhonda's stepped up. And not only that - I've been helping her to train and use her powers. So where are your powers when you really need them? Tell me something Stoppable - how long have you had Mystical Monkey Power?'
'Three weird and scary years...' said Ron, still trying to break through Grimm's defenses.
'And in those years, how many times has Kim offered to help you train and to unlock that power?'
Ron blinked. The fact was, Kim had never trained him. He'd largely been left to his own devices, except for one week at Yamanouchi which he'd been all too eager to leave.
And Grimm seemed to know it. 'Has she even asked if you'd like to have help? Has she offered to sacrifice any of her time? Has she even bothered to have Wade look into any research that might help you to understand your Monkey Power or tap into it? Don't bother answering - I can tell just by looking that the sum total of time she's spent 'helping' you adds up to a big fat zero.'
Ron struck again, but only half-heartedly, and Grimm easily deflected it. And the only rejoinder he could think of was a defiant 'So?'
Grimm smiled evilly. 'Let me ask you another question - why hasn't she tried to help you?'
And Ron found himself unable to answer. Grimm went on, knowing he'd scored a hit and twisting the point in mercilessly. 'If she's so eager for you to step up, why hasn't she done anything about it? She too busy? Too important? Like you're a waste of time? She's got skill and training. There's lots of things she could be teaching you! With your monkey power you could be a big help to her - an equal. And yet she's perfectly content to keep you as the loser sidekick and let them crop you out of every news photo so she can be front and center!'
Ron's eyes narrowed. 'Hey come on - Kim's not like that!' and he tried a spinning foot sweep, but Grimm flipped over him, landing behind.
'Name the last post-mission photo that included both of you.' he said quickly. 'And when you saved Cueler, did Kim look happy that you were in the spotlight while she was standing in the background, sopping wet and covered with mud?' Ron tried to elbow him while spinning round to face him. Grimm weaved to the side and countered Ron's follow-up strike. Grimm twisted round and put Ron into a half-nelson, slamming him against the wall and holding him there.
'I'm no soothsayer,' he said quietly while Ron struggled in his grip. 'But I think I can predict two future events. One: Me and Rhonda are gonna win this fight. And two: Kim is gonna be so tweaked about getting beat by Rhonda that she'll finally try and teach you how to use your Monkey Powers.'
He released Ron, who nearly fell down, but spun quickly and faced him again, his arms raised and ready. But Grimm no longer looked like he wanted to fight. He stood looking keenly at Ron with his characteristic smirk. 'And when she does,' he said, glaring. 'You ask yourself - is she training you because she wants you to be her equal? Or is she just using you to get what she wants?'
There was a thundering blast that shook the building. Grimm looked off to the side. 'Sounds like your GF is in trouble.' he said. 'Go and help her, if you think you can. I won't stop you.'
Ron glared back at him for a moment, then he walked warily around him and dashed towards the hole in the wall where Kim and Rhonda had gone through. Rufus, seeing Ron moving away, broke off his duel with Rueful and scampered after him. Grimm stayed where he was until Ron and Rufus were out of sight. At once, he took out his communicator. 'Time, Jade.' he said. 'Did you kill the cameras?'
Jade's face popped up on the screen. 'Done and done, G-man!' she chirped. 'That double-blind you suggested was just the ticket! The Overthruster is safe to grab!'
'Badical.' said Grimm, smiling. 'We'll be leaving in a few - be sure to screen our exit.' Then he shut off the communicator and returned to the center desk, removing the Overthruster from it's protective housing and putting it into his pack...
As they fell back through the gaping hole in the concrete wall, Kim found herself on top of Rhonda. She tucked and rolled, planting her feet firmly in Rhonda's gut before using her as a springboard to tumble forwards. She landed on her feet and was standing ready while Rhonda surged up and whirled around.
They were in a room lined with computer banks, though the large area in the center of the room was clear. It felt very cold and Kim heard several high powered air conditioning vents humming above her.
Rhonda saw the end of the girder she had thrown, sticking through a smaller hole next to the one they had tumbled through. She rolled to the side, gripping it with both hands and pulling it loose with one heave, sending blocks of concrete spilling into the room. Then she was attacking again, holding the girder with both hands like a bo staff. She struck several times, the girder moving as quickly and smoothly as a baton.
Kim was able to keep ahead of the strikes, and looked in surprise at Rhonda's fingers, which were sinking into the steel with the force of her grip. She waited until after one of Rhonda's swings, and then fired the grapple line from her wrist Kimmunicator. The cable twined around Rhonda's ankles, and thrown off balance by her strike, Rhonda flailed and crashed to the floor. The girder slid heavily across the concrete with a harsh grating sound.
Without waiting, Kim leaped to the attack, aiming a powerful kick at Rhonda's chest. But Rhonda stood up and took the kick full on. Kim felt the pressure against her leg, as if she were kicking at something much heavier and stronger than a teenage girl. Rhonda gripped her ankle and Kim felt a sharp pain as Rhonda spun around and sent her spiraling backwards. She regained her balance just in time to land on her feet instead of tumbling across the floor and into the computer banks against the farther wall.
She stood up again, breathing hard. Her kick should have put Rhonda down, but Rhonda was smiling as she got up, reaching down and snapping the cable around her ankles like old string. 'Not bad, huh?' she said, sneering. 'Bet you wish your sidekick had powers! Oh wait - he does! So why's he not here pitching in?'
Kim glared at her. 'Maybe he knows I don't need to use powers as a crutch.' she said.
Rhonda's eyes narrowed. 'Or maybe he can't use them for you because you're not important to him.' she said.
'As if.' Kim growled.
Rhonda smirked. 'He used them for us without any trouble.' she said. 'In fact when he was using his Monkey mojo to smack you around it looked like the easiest thing in the world for him.'
Kim gritted her teeth. She didn't dare get too close to risk Rhonda getting a good hold on her. As strong as she seemed to be, Kim imagined that breaking bones would be no trouble for her. Yet her attacks didn't seem to be slowing Rhonda down either. She gasped softly as she saw Rhonda raise her arm, her fingertips glowing bluish white.
The white sickles of light spread out from the arc of Rhonda's swing and Kim ducked again, seeing the attack flash just above her head. She heard an exploding noise, and there was a smell of electronic components burning as sparks flashed all around her and circuits rained down on top of her.
She rolled and lashed out with a kick to ward off the attack that she knew would be coming as a follow up, and heard Rhonda grunt as her shoe connected with her chin. But Rhonda came on in a flying tackle, and her arms wound around Kim's waist.
Kim struggled, feeling Rhonda's grip tightening, and just managed to slide down and out of her arms. But Rhonda was able to hook a finger around Kim's belt and with a rolling heave, she sent her tumbling to the other side of the room.
Kim was gasping with the effort of the fight now, sweat running down her forehead. Rhonda seemed irritatingly normal and unwinded. 'You're not gonna win this!' Kim said, her voice hoarse, but determined.
Rhonda laughed. 'You just keep telling yourself that when Grimm and I walk away from this fight with all the marbles, just like we did at the warehouse last time we met!' Then she went into a ready stance and stood waiting for Kim to make her next move. 'You do remember that, don't you pom-pon? When your BF was our boss?'
Kim glared. 'Yeah, I remember.' she said.
Rhonda looked cunningly at her. 'I bet it still steams you royally.' she said. 'You jealous? Jealous because we did more for Ron by making him evil than you ever did for him when he was good? Face it pom-pon - Ron was faster, stronger and smarter when he was on our side! Maybe he only steps up depending on the quality of the company he's with!'
Kim felt her cheeks blazing. But she bit her lip, remembering the promise she'd made to herself before they had set things up in the lab. She had gone through a number of mental exercises to block things out, but she had anticipated using them against Grimm, not Rhonda. 'They are not going to get to me!' she thought. 'So not gonna happen this time!'
Rhonda shifted her stance and Kim braced herself. She flipped and cartwheeled, narrowly being missed as Rhonda charged at her like a wrecking ball. Rhonda used the wall to arrest her forward momentum, and the entire room shook as she pushed against it, deep cracks spreading through the concrete, the banks of computers that were still standing rattled on their metal shelves.
'Nice moves!' Rhonda sneered. 'Maybe if you had powers you could be more than just a moving target!' She raised her hand again, and the bluish white glow again surrounded her fingertips...
'Kim!' Rhonda whirled as Ron clamored through the hole leading back to the main labs. He ran at Rhonda, his fist raised to strike...
'Ron, don't...!' Kim shouted, but he was already too close. Rhonda shifted into a judo toss that sent Ron sailing across the room where he slammed into Kim and they both fell backwards onto the floor.
Rhonda stepped in front of them, cracking her knuckles as they struggled to their feet. 'Well, if it isn't Mystical Monkey boy!' she said. 'What do you think happens when you put a monkey and a bear in a cage fight? Anybody want to bet on the monkey?' But her wristwatch gave a sudden beep and she looked at it for a moment before looking back down at Kim and Ron. 'Awww, playtime's over.' she said. She ran to the wall and with a haymaker punch, she blasted another hole in the concrete next to the one that was already there. As she slipped through the hole, she reached back and gripped the metal shelves holding the remaining computes and pulled hard. The shelves slid roughly to the side, blocking the way behind her.
Kim raced after her with Ron behind and Rufus clinging to the flap of Ron's pants pocket. They struggled through the rubble and the computer banks which blocked their path. When they finally got through and were back in the dim light of the main lab, they saw Rhonda had already reached the far wall and was kicking it hard. Chunks of concrete and masonry scattered everywhere.
Rhonda turned to face Kim and Ron, stepping aside from the truck-sized hole she had made in the wall, which opened up to the night outside. Kim was just wondering where Grimm was, as there was no sign of him, when a deep purple motorcycle sped into the room through the hole. The bike's engines nearly silent. Grimm sat astride the bike and put two fingers to his lips, making a piercing whistle. 'We're done here partner!' he said. 'Let's ride!' Rhonda made an insolent bow to Kim and Ron, then ran to the bike and got behind Grimm, throwing her arms around his chest. Rueful hopped from Grimm's shoulder to Rhonda's.
Kim looked at her grapple line, snapped and useless. They were still on the other side of the lab and there was no way they would reach Team Probable in time before they sped off. 'Ron!' she said.
'On it, Kim!' he said. 'Rufus - shuriken maneuver!' Rufus nodded and jumped into Ron's hand, jutting all his limbs out and pursing his lips until his teeth poked outwards, gleaming and sharp. Grimm was backing up, turning the bike in preparation for an exit.
With a flick of his wrist, Ron sent Rufus whistling through the air. His teeth sank into the front tire of the bike. There was a hissing noise and the tire deflated, the front of the bike sinking down a couple of inches while Grimm and Rhonda stared. Rufus fell down, looking dizzy and staggering away from the bike with a smile.
'Naked Mole Rat bites!' said Ron, grinning. 'Not quite llama bites, but just as good!'
Grimm smirked and hit a control on the dashboard. There was a quiet humming and two nacelles extended out from the side of the bike. It rose up two feet, hovering in the air. With a high pitched whine, it sped forward, skimming around the walls of the lab like a stakeboarder in a rink.
The bike scudded by, and both Grimm and Rhonda put their hands to their foreheads with their index fingers and thumbs extended to form a crude "L". Rhonda was sticking out her tongue. 'So long, losers!' she yelled. Then with a blast that whipped through Kim and Ron's hair, the bike shot out through the hole in the wall.
Ron's mouth fell open. 'They have a flying motorcycle??!' he squeaked. 'Oh that is so awesome - I can't believe no one's ever thought of anything like that!!!' Then he caught Kim's furious glare, and quickly said, 'I mean, how dare they!'
Kim reached the hole in the wall and stared up. She could see a small dot rising higher and higher until it disappeared into the clouds. She ground her teeth together and kicked hard at an edge of the torn wall, but had to bite her lip as pain exploded in her toes. In spite of all her preparations, in spite of all their planning and caution, there could be no doubt - Team Probable had beaten them again.
a lot. Cats have none.
Humans have it, to varying degrees.
What is it?