Boilerplate Disclaimer: Disney owns the characters from the Kim Possible series.
Day 17: Eureka III
Shego awoke with a foul taste in her mouth. Too groggy to think she spit and tried to move - discovering she was bound.
She heard Donner's voice, "The groggy feeling passes in about fifteen minutes."
It took effort, but she moved her head toward the sound and focused her eyes.
"Cash," he said, putting a thick roll of bills down in the tent. Various other items joined the pile, "First aid kit - four anti-venoms each for yellow scorpion and Egyptian cobra. Map, GPS… Water is in the usual spot, may be some left at the old camp too. Take the Russians to Cairo. Need a pistol?"
She shook her head no, which made it hurt worse.
He held up two vials. "Antidote for the sleep drug. The Russians are out. Pour this in their mouths and in a couple minutes they feel just like you do now."
"Kim…" Shego managed to groan.
"They're all sleeping peacefully. Another two to four hours before they wake up. I advise you to get the hell out of here before that. Hundred and fifty grand for you escorting the Russians. Tell them --"
The roar of huge engines filled the tent.
"That's my ride. Gotta run. See you in the US!" he called over his shoulder as he left.
"Son of a…" but Donner had gone. It might take an average person fifteen minutes to recover from the groggy feeling, and longer to free themselves from the ropes. Shego and Team Go had faced nastier slime than Donner - although at the moment Shego considered Donner the lowest scum on earth. The survival of the family had depended on Hego or Shego recovering faster than their enemies expected and coming out fighting.
If any jury knew what she'd been through they would rule it justifiable homicide. Or maybe the government would simply cover it up to keep the mission out of the papers.
She pulled a small knife from its boot sheath and managed to free her legs, she headed out of the tent before getting her arms free.
She stumbled down the short path from the hidden camp to the valley and arrived in time to see Donner climb into one of the two Rostvertol Mi-26s sitting in the valley. On a better day, when Kim's safety wasn't her only thought, she might have smiled that the US used Russian helicopters rather than the US C-130 Hercules. The Mi-26 had a slightly better lifting capacity, but Shego would have suspected irony or deception as the reason.
Shego rested against a boulder and waited for her head to clear. She swore as the helicopters lifted off. She wanted to visit the large encampment and check on Kim's safety, but part of her realized she could do nothing and Donner wouldn't have let her live if anyone had died in the Egyptian camp. She should wake the Russians and get out like Donner said.
The helicopters rose higher than Shego expected. She figured they'd head east, below radar range. Instead they rose high enough for radar to detect. As Shego wondered what it meant a figure flew out of the side hatch as if thrown. Donner, his hands tied behind him, wiggled in the air for a second until, with a jerk, he hit the end of his static line and a parachute blossomed above him. As Donner descended toward the ground other figures, all bound, were tossed from the two choppers and more 'chutes deployed in the desert air.
Five seconds after Donner hit the ground Shego's knife was at his throat, "Houston, we've got a problem," she said softly.
"They're safe! Swear to God, they're all safe!"
She stood and used her foot to roll him over, then slashed the tape holding his arms.
"You'd better pray to God they're safe. Let's get the others. What happened?"
They moved towards the nearest figure.
"I was grabbed and slammed against the side of the chopper the second I got on. Never even saw what hit me."
Donner slit the restraints on Sleepy as he spoke to Shego. The Marine rubbed his wrists. "Wasn't much to see," Sleepy grunted. "I swear, a kid… Maybe a girl, but I'm not sure… You got a little sister?" he asked Shego.
They were now by Grumpy, who interrupted the conversation, "We didn't know Dopey was going to drug you!"
"No, we didn't," the SEAL told her. "Son-of-a-bitch didn't tell us a thing until the meeting last night. Explained we'd be loading choppers this morning. I asked about you and he told us."
Shego wasn't whether to believe him or not. "You two, free the others," Shego told Sleepy and Grumpy. "Dopey and I are going to have a little private chat."
Donner was sweating hard, and it wasn't from the heat, when Shego pulled him to one side.
"It's my job. Nobody was hurt! I--"
"You claim nobody got hurt. First, anything happens to Kim and you're a walking dead man. Got that?"
"Good. Second, you and the boys are hiking out of here too. You've got a clear trail. Leave me enough water to get the Russians out - we don't know our way. That hundred and fifty grand? Tax free trust fund for the twins' education."
"No tax? I can't--"
He backed down under her glare. "Okay, if the IRS can do it for millionaires there's gotta be a way."
"Just one more thing and you can go," she told him.
Donner looked puzzled. "One more thing?"
"Three little words - you know them."
He flushed with anger, "I won't."
"Yes, you will," she said coldly.
Donner backed down, "I'm your bitch."
"That was loud enough."
"I want these guys to hear it. I want it loud enough they'd hear it in the Global Justice camp."
"I won't! I--" She took a step toward him, "I'M YOUR BITCH!" He screamed.
"Remember that. And you ever call me for a mission again and don't tell me everything up front I'll rip out your liver and make you eat it."
"We got to get out of here. Two to four hours and the Egyptians and Global Justice folk start waking up. They may even have planes up before that, looking for us."
It was one of the hardest decisions Shego had made, but with the others she headed back to camp instead of checking on Kim's safety. She woke the Russians as the others divided up supplies and buried everything they didn't want to take. At the east entrance to the valley they collected some water that hadn't been taken in. Then the US group and two pilots headed east and Shego and her two charges turned north.
Drakken finished his call to the Egyptian government and handed the radio to Wade. "We need to take off the cloak. Fighter jets are coming to escort us. Don't want them running into the hovercraft accidentally."
Wade nodded and flipped the switch. Jim, piloting the closer chopper, waved. The young black man surrendered the controls to Drakken, returned Jim's wave and established communications with Global Justice.
Betty Director's face looked distinctly unhappy in the monitor, "All right," she barked, "What in the hell is going on?"
"It appears you owe us for the insurance we provided."
"That doesn't answer my question!"
"Last night someone drugged your agents and the Egyptians--"
"Something to make them sleep. We--"
"Are they all right?" Dr. Director demanded.
"We went in after we realized what had happened… Everyone appears to be sleeping. We don't know what it was, but the Egyptians have medical doctors headed out." Wade hesitated a second. "We think someone in the camp did it. Looked like they'd checked things for safety--"
"If I find out this was some Lipsky and Load plot and you drugged my people I'll--"
"Honest, Dr. Director. It wasn't us."
"If it wasn't you, who was it?"
"We don't know. Muslim brotherhood? Russians? I mean; a lot of people wanted to look at that."
"Including the US. Are you covering anything up?"
"Of course not!"
"Well, we'll know for certain. You have prisoners?"
"Uh, well, about that… We…"
"Where are the people from the helicopters?"
"Catch and release."
"Catch and release?"
"Yeah, put parachutes on them and threw them overboard."
On the monitor Betty rubbed her left hand over her face in exasperation.
"Come on," Wade insisted. "There were nine or ten of them. We only have two people on each helicopter - and one of them has to pilot. You want one of us watch a whole bunch of prisoners? Something's going to go wrong."
Betty's voice took a brittle tone, "Please tell me you kept one prisoner for interrogation."
"Well," Wade lied, "I think I asked either Joss or Bego to keep one."
"We'll know when we hit Cairo… Hold on - Egyptian escort just arrived."
Pilots in the Egyptian planes returned the waves of Wade and Drakken, then assumed formation around the helicopters and hovercraft.
Wade returned to the radio. "I believe our contingency contract was for two million?"
The sound of Betty Director grinding her teeth came over the radio. "That's right. If you aided in the mission--"
"Well, I certainly think that under the circumstances we have more than fulfilled--"
"Swear to God, we'll investigate this. If you were part of it I'll nail all your asses to the floor."
"Please," Wade assured her in a soothing voice, "my partner and I are businessmen with an interest in this project. Kim and Ron are our friends, we play poker with Will and have met some others. We'd do nothing to jeopardize their safety."
Dr. Director took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "If you're telling me the truth I owe you more than money, I owe you thanks. But with your partner's history I'm going to have to check."
"Absolutely. We'll admit trying to get there first - wanted to get in on the ground floor of the research. We're hoping our help will get us a job working on the materials."
Betty hesitated, "If you're really clean I'll recommend you."
"Thank you. We'll talk later. Oh, we suggest an isolated island somewhere for research."
After turning off the radio Wade stared vacantly at the chopper carrying Jim and Joss.
"The press will be out in force when we arrive," Drakken commented after a few minutes.
"That's for sure," Wade chuckled. Then he grew serious, "Doc? I'd like to divide the two million from the UN between the Possibles. I--"
"The million we're getting from Egypt probably won't cover expenses! Zita will skin us alive if we do that!"
"No, come on, think of the publicity! We're going to be on every television and radio station tonight - the covers of every newspaper and magazine in the world tomorrow. We'll have so many people wanting to hire us we'll have to turn away business. Zita will be nothing but happy."
"Zita is a dangerous woman... Why don't I know any safe women?"
"C'mon, we get the best deal of all out of this. Egypt may put us in charge. We'll have the greatest scientists in the world begging to work for us. You'll start getting honorary doctorates--"
"You think so?"
"Positive," Wade answered. "Besides, Jim and Tim deserve some profit. Destruction Inc. almost counts as a hobby, they get no money from it."
"Talk with Zita, their expenses are incredible," Drakken grumbled, "And what do Bego and Joss… This is about Joss, isn't it? You trying to buy her back?"
"I don't know what to do, Doc."
"If she thinks it's your idea she won't take it. The whole family is stupidly proud."
Wade considered punching Drakken for using the word stupid in the same sentence as a reference to Joss's family. "There's got to be some way…"
"Scholarships! Lipsky and Load fellows… There might even be a tax break there for us."
Wade grinned, "You're still an evil genius."
Wade's question led him to another thought, "Can I ask a personal question?"
Drakken hesitated, "You can ask. I may not answer."
"When did you realize you were a villain?"
"I'm not sure," the blue man replied slowly. "I was so much smarter than everyone else. I thought I'd be doing the world a favor if I took over. I didn't need to obey the rules - they didn't apply to geniuses."
"Now you're really scaring me."
"You were going to take over the world--"
"It would be better off."
"People would have been hurt!"
"You can't make an omelet without breaking legs."
"I've done things--" Wade began.
"Don't be silly, my boy," Drakken interrupted, "you're one of the heroes."
"You and Joss?" He didn't know exactly what had happened.
Wade sighed, "That... and other things. Things I don't want to tell anyone about. Things I shouldn't have done. Shego told me to see a therapist, try and work through my problems. Think Innsmouth would take me?"
"If you really--"
"I'm going to get her back, Doc. I'm going to do whatever it takes to be the man she deserves."
Ron woke up first. "Kim?" He shook her shoulder gently, but she didn't awaken. She appeared fine, just deeply asleep. He staggered out of the tent, uncertain how everyone could still be slumbering. He felt thirsty and headed for the mess area. He almost had the cup to his lips before he awoke enough to realize it was a bad idea and poured out the water.
He radioed in, and found doctors were on their way with fresh food and water. But even the news the alien artifacts were safe felt hollow. Kim and Will would take it as a failure, Ron hoped they didn't try to blame each other. And Ron knew he and the cooks would come under investigation, but he couldn't imagine any of them did it. The mess area was open to everyone in camp. But the sentries hadn't seen any outsiders - it had to be an inside job.
Three days later, in the mid-morning, three dusty figures emerged from the desert. The woman called, "Anybody here speak English?"
Ibrahim the Dreamer answered, "I can."
"Drink, ask him if there is anything to drink," Joseph urged Shego.
"Ask him yourself," she snapped, "we're partners in getting out, remember?"
"You need water, yes?" the boy asked.
"We need water, no," the Russian told him. "Got any beer?"
"My aunt has, at her shop."
Misha looked at Shego, "You have the money."
"Hell," Shego grunted. "Let's see if she's got six cold ones." She turned to Ibrahim, "Can you show us her shop? And we need to get to Cairo. Bus? Train? Boat? What are our choices? Can I hire you as translator 'til we're out of this dump?"
"You might need a translator all the way to Cairo," the teen pointed out. "Fortunately, effendi, I am temporarily between positions and available for hire."
"The beer," Joseph reminded her, keeping his priorities straight.
"We'll talk at your aunt's shop," Shego told the boy.
"There is a bus to Asyut tomorrow," Ibrahim informed them. "Then you can take a plane to Cairo."
"We, uh, lost our passports in the desert," Shego reported.
"The train might be easiest. But you will need someone to translate the schedule." He quoted a price four times more than he hoped to receive for going with them.
Joss and Bego arrived home in time for final exams. Everyone but Megan seemed happy about their return. The reserved Hang even gave them both hugs. Erin appeared happier with the news that Jim and Tim were back also. When Tara's little sister called the twins, however, she was informed that Zita had them, along with Drakken and Wade, chained to work stations in the lab. Based on what the brothers had told her about Zita, Erin wondered if she should take that literally.