Chapter 51: Aftermath and Epilogue
The end proved to be wonderfully anti-climatic, at least in Ron's opinion.
First, the shocker collars flew off of Drakken and Motor Ed. Moment's later; Wade called in on the Kimmunicator and informed Ron that he had deactivated the collars. Now that Ed could leave the factory, the team moved Shego, Ed, and Kim to the medical facility. The medical team assured Ron that Kim would be fine, but Ron remained on edge, especially when Shego came to before the other two patients.
"Don't worry, Kid," Shego told him. I'm in no mood to keep fighting and I don't think you are, either. That shot I took to my kidneys is going to have me pissing blood for the next week. I think Monty's taken some damage, as well and Global Justice has us surrounded with agents. Let's just call it a truce and see what happens." Ron was too happy to agree.
Wade called again, telling him that while he hadn't managed to completely deactivate the walkers, he had put them into maintenance mode. As such, the walkers wouldn't attack anybody who approached them. When Ron asked him how bad the damage had been, Wade told him that various governments were still compiling casualty lists and damage reports, but it looked to be worse than the diablo attack.
After that, Ron planted himself at Kim's bedside. A half-hour after they moved her to the medical facility, she woke up. One of the medics gave her a painkiller, so the two teens were able to hold hands and talk quietly until Dr. Director arrived. Global Justice's head wasted no time; she first met with her agents, then met with Kim, Ron and Yori.
"First of all," she began. "I have a request from the Japanese Foreign Ministry to not level any charges against Miss Tanaka. You won't face any fallout from Global Justice, missy, but you're probably going to have some explaining to do when you get home."
"Secondly," the older woman continued. "We're going to run a full blood toxicology on Ron. Amy apparently injected him with something and we need to know what it is. The additional doctors I brought along say that this facility has all the equipment they need. I think that we can trust Shego enough to believe her claim that Amy injected her, as well. Perhaps Ron's results will be more revealing."
"Why would that be?" The blonde boy asked.
"Because my Go power completely screws up medical readings," Shego told him, from her wheelchair. Dr. Drakken was pushing the mercenary while Fiske limped along at her side. "Let's just say that I'm more than a little interested."
"Now that the three of you have arrived, it's time to discuss what's to become of you," Dr. Director informed the trio. "Dr. Drakken still has to face trial, and risk facing the death penalty, unless we can come up to some sort of agreement."
"Wait a minute!" Shego protested. "Drew risked his blue butt to reactivate his diablos and use them to fight the invasion! You can't blackmail him now."
"We prefer to call it negotiating from a position of strength," Will Du informed her, arriving on the scene. "Dr. Director, the additional medical personnel will be ready to examine our guests in a few minutes. In the meantime, I think we can come to an agreement with Dr. Drakken, especially since we have a vacancy to fill in Global Justice."
"I like the way you think, Agent Du," Dr. Director smiled.
"What position would that be?" Drakken asked.
"The head of Henchco," Dr. Director informed him.
"What?" Kim, Ron, Shego and Drakken all asked, in unison. Dr. Director and Will Du simply smirked.
"Henchco is a subsidiary of Global Justice?" Dr. Drakken asked, incredulously.
"Of course," Dr. Director told him. "Hencho's purpose is to keep the techno-villain community's attention on complicated, expensive and only partially effective devices. How many weapons could you purchase for the cost of a single mind control chip? How many officials could you bribe for the cost of a juvenator? Jack Hench did a wonderful job keeping international villains wasting their time and resources on these odd contraptions. Also, by unionizing the minions, he kept a large group of potential thugs from performing more violent, criminal activities."
For several minutes, Agent Du and Dr. Director grinned at the dumbfounded others. Finally…
"And you want me to head this organization?" Drakken asked.
"I think you'll do fine," Dr. Director assured him. "But it isn't a walk in the park. You have to turn a profit. Henchco has been one of GJ's major funding sources. That's why we're able to act somewhat independently of the UN."
"I'll do it!" Drakken declared. "I've had this idea for formulating a universal solvent! Unfortunately, I haven't come up with anything to store it in."
Dr. Director left the blue man to his pleasant thoughts and confronted Shego and Fiske.
"Global Justice always pays its debts," she told them. "And we owe the two of you a debt. Still, if you hadn't kidnapped Drakken from the UN, Loward might not have been able to build all this. All said, I think we're even. We'll let you go, as long as you don't get involved with any more 'take over the world' sort of schemes."
"Trust me lady, trying to do it once and then trying to stop it a second time is more than enough for me," Shego quipped.
"We'll drop you off back in South America," Dr. Director offered.
"Huh, wha, why South America?" Shego asked, with a look of false innocence.
"Du…" Director sighed.
Will Du produced an envelope and handed it to Fiske. Fiske opened it and removed a couple of photographs, which he and Shego studied for a moment.
"What is this?" The nobleman asked.
"Doesn't it look familiar to you?" Du asked, his voice full of false politeness.
"It's appears to be a modest, isolated home, located in an area of dense foliage," Fiske answered. "What is it to us?"
"It's the Guatemalan house that the two of you have been living in for the last couple of months," Du pointed out. "After relocating from North Africa."
"Busted," Shego muttered. "How did you…"
"That's for us to know," Du informed her. "What's important for you to know is that we know where you are. We're not that much on common criminals and local laws, so if you want to go back to your smuggling band, fine. In a few years, you'll probably be running the operation. However, the minute you try to take over the world, or even a small country, you'll be getting a visit. Now, do we understand each other?"
"Perfectly," Fiske answered. "We'll be good…er, I should say bad on a small scale."
"And that's good enough for us," Dr. Director told them. "Now, it looks like our experts have this facility fully functional. Let's check everyone out."
The various tests revealed that Kim had four broken ribs and a mild concussion. The doctors bound her ribs and declared that she was fit to travel. Ron had some major bruising and a very minor wound where Amy's needle had stuck him. His toxicology had come up with nothing unusual. Shego had some internal bleeding, which wasn't much of a problem for someone with accelerated healing. Ed was the most seriously wounded, with massive internal injuries. The doctors, however, said that they would be able to stabilize him enough to transport him on Dr. Director's aircraft, along with Kim and Ron.
Yori had decided to stay on the island, watching Felix, until the boy awoke. Ron was torn between staying with his friend and returning home, until Dr. Director made up his mind for him.
"He won't be alone," the efficient woman told the boy. "His girlfriend will be with him the entire time. Your parents are sure to be worried sick, you have final exams to prepare for, and you and Kim are going to have to make statements to multiple investigative agencies. You're needed back home, much more than you're needed here."
"Yeah, but…" Ron started to protest.
"You feel like you're abandoning a friend," Dr. Director finished for him. "I've been there. Let's put it this way, Kim is going to need you, very much, during the next couple of weeks. Are you going to leave her to face the press alone?"
Seeing that Ron was almost convinced, the director played her last card, "besides, whom do you think Felix would rather see first when he wakes up, you or Yori?"
With that comment bringing a smile to his face and being unable to argue with that logic, Ron helped Kim board the Global Justice aircraft for the long flight back home.
"Ron," Kim asked her boyfriend, as the pilot revved the engines for takeoff. "What really happened back there? How did you take down the bad guys after I was out?"
"You and Shego had already worn them out," Ron told her. "They were pretty much pushovers at that point."
"That's not true," Kim protested.
"No, it isn't," Ron agreed. "But it's what everyone will believe without asking questions that I'm not ready to answer."
"You will tell me the full story, won't you?" She asked, showing just a little bit of the puppy dog pout.
"Once you're better," Ron assured her, as the aircraft lifted into the sky. The blonde boy looked down at the island, which was now swarming with international inspection and law enforcement teams.
The aircraft's noise penetrated into the ocean surrounding the island, disturbing Warmonga. The enhanced woman, wedged safely in an underwater cave, opened her eyes, wondering when the traffic would settle down enough for her to make her escape. How little her antagonists knew about the modifications she made to her own body!
First of all, she had equipped herself with gills; light, feathery gills, which she had extended out of her cave. They weren't efficient gills, they didn't give her enough oxygen to support strenuous activity, but they were sufficient when she stayed at rest.
Secondly, much as with Warrick Loward, she had given herself restructuring cells. As long as she remained alive, her body would seek to regenerate missing appendages. She estimated it would take her two weeks to grow back her missing foot. Of course, she needed a great deal of food to fuel her regeneration and that brought up the third point.
She had designed her digestive track to be ultra efficient. All of the organic matter around her, much of which would be indigestible or even poisonous to a normal human, was nutrition to her. This digestive capability, combined with her enhanced size and strength, meant that the warm, shallow water gave her plenty of food. A tiger shark, attracted to the blood from her wound, had proven both tasty and nutritious.
Finally, Warmonga contemplated her staff. She had no doubt that her antagonists thought that she had injected both Stoppable and the hussy with something. Why would she do something like that? She was a geneticist! Why would she want to inject them, when she could take their very cells?
The tip of her staff weapon held a miniature, cryogenic storage chamber. She didn't know what she would do with Shego's and Stoppable's DNA, but she would think of something.
Epilogue 1, Graduation Day
"You doing okay, buddy?"
Felix looked back over his shoulder in response to Ron's question.
"Yeah, I guess so."
"You know, we haven't had much of a chance to talk since you got back from the island. Is there anything you want to talk about?"
Ron's statement was correct. Felix had awoken a week after Team Possible foiled Warrick Loward's takeover attack. However, various law-enforcement, political and medical agencies had been questioning them extensively ever since. It wasn't until now, graduation day, that Ron had a chance for a private talk with his friend.
"I could ask you the same thing," Felix pointed out.
Indeed, the last few weeks had been rough on Ron. He felt incredibly guilty that Kim had been badly injured, yet again, during a mission while he himself had emerged relatively unscathed. Yet that wasn't the worst, Ron was absolutely haunted by the sight and feeling of the Lotus Blade, plunging into Warrick Loward's chest.
Ron hadn't wanted to burden Kim with his confession, but his girlfriend knew that something was tearing him up. She had demanded a full account of his actions so he had gathered his 'rents, her 'rents and her around him and had given a blow-by-blow account of the fight. His parents had quickly contacted Global Justice, who had assigned a counselor.
Ron had been meeting the counselor, discreetly, each week. The nightmares had stopped, but he still felt guilty. Somehow, both families realized that the teens needed each other, meaning that Kim and Ron had spent many a night sleeping on her parents' couch. James Possible was strangely comfortable with this sleeping arrangement. Oddly enough, it was Anne Possible that seemed suspicious, but that was only because she was dumbfounded by how fast Kim was healing.
"I'm really sorry Kim missed her competition," Felix's statement intruded on Ron's thoughts. Even with the healing assistance he could offer her, Kim wasn't able to compete at the national competition. Jess had returned to the squad and had done well, but the squad had failed to place.
"It happens," Ron assured his friend. "To be honest, if we weren't looking for you, things would have turned out a whole lot worse." Of course, Ron hadn't been able to tell Felix that he had killed Warrick Loward.
"Anyway," Ron continued. "You've seemed awfully down. That seems a little odd for a guy who can walk again."
"Walking again is completely badical," Felix smiled. "It's what goes with it that's got me worried."
"Wade's been decrypting Amy's research notes," Felix told his friend. "And she noted, even when she was doing research on monkeys, that her subjects showed increased aggression. It was almost like they had a sense of entitlement."
"I'm not seeing the problem," Ron confessed. "You haven't become aggressive."
"That's not what bothers me," Felix told him. "It's the sense of entitlement. Look, Ron, I know that I'm a smart guy but I feel like…the world owes me something because of it. Have I earned a slot at MIT, or is it the DNA manipulation that makes me feel this way? Should I feel this confident that Yori's going to stay with me, or has the treatment made me think that a gorgeous girlfriend is my due?" The young man took a deep breath, "what happens in the future, when I'm looking for a good job? Will I be able to recognize the opportunities that I've earned, or will I assume that the world owes me every opportunity out there? This sense of entitlement drove Warrick Loward to try to take over the world, what will it do to me?"
"I don't know, Felix," Ron admitted. "But I can say this; I've never met anybody smarter than you. If anybody can figure it out, it's you. You know that I'll always be there, if you need to discuss it."
"I appreciate that," Felix said. "Now, it seems that it's about time for us to line up for our last high school march and we have a couple of very pretty girls who are going to want to dance with us up at the lake tonight."
"Can't keep the ladies waiting," Ron grinned back.
With that, the two friends walked out of the dressing room to take their place in the growing line of seniors.
"What's the latest, Drew?" Dr. Director asked her new functionary.
"We've re-established eighty percent of Henchco's market," Drakken's voice and visage announced from the screen. "So I'm most hopeful that we'll resume Henchco's previous stature. In addition, we've managed to mass-produce the electronic enhancer, so we should be seeing some impressive profits in the upcoming weeks."
"You've done a good job, Drew. How about your universal solvent project?"
"I've dropped it," Drakken admitted. "I managed to concoct the substance and I can store it in magnetically lined containers, but it proved to be more energetic than I had anticipated. This gives it too much extortion capability, so I've deep-sixed the project."
"Good call," Dr. Director approved. "I assume that you have the research data for me?"
"Absolutely, I'll drop it off tomorrow, during our weekly board game night. If memory serves, it's Risk night."
"That it is, Drew. I'll see you there." Dr. Director smiled; Drakken had insisted on 'game night', once a week. As strange as it seemed, most of Global Justice's major players seemed to get along better because of it. That, and it was always funny when the Secretary General managed to land on Boardwalk.
Epilogue Two: Nine Years Later
"By order of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Global Justice declares Dr. Betty Director to be retired, and names Will Du as the new head of Global Justice." The spokesman stepped back and Kim and Ron joined in the round of applause.
Global Justice was a very young agency, so nobody had worked out change of command ceremonies yet. Dr. Betty Director had gone for simple and straightforward; she had already cleaned out her office, so she simply removed her nametag from the holder on the door, and applauded while Du inserted his.
"It's all yours now, Will," the former head told her successor. "Good luck."
"Thank you, doctor," Will had promised himself that he would never refer to his former commander by her first name. "I'll try to live up to your standard. Aren't you going to stay for the celebration?"
"No, I'm meeting an old friend. I'll be sure to stop by for coffee, now and again." Will Du saluted Dr. Director, one last time. Betty refused to return the salute, shaking his hand instead.
The aging, but still fit woman waved to the small crowd and walked out of Global Justice Headquarters. There was a stretch limo waiting for her in the parking lot. The driver stepped out and opened one of the back doors for her. She climbed in, accepting the red rose from the man who awaited her.
"So what's the plan, Drew?" She asked.
"Well, you are aware that Henchco made some major property purchases in the last months," Dr. Drakken prompted her.
"Of course," she smiled, contemplating the man from her half-lidded eyes. Over the years, she had grown closer to him, learning to appreciate his genius. For his part, he had grown to admire her dedication and efficiency.
"Well, it turns out that we just couldn't miss the opportunity to purchase my old, Caribbean lair. It will make a wonderful resort, which we'll use as a front for business meetings and distribution. In the meantime, we have a small, caretaker staff and a single, luxury suite."
"So, Dr. Drakken thinks that I could use some sun and pampering to start my retirement?"
"That and, I hope, the companionship."
"Drew, the companionship is what I'm looking forward to the most."
"So am I."
Betty Director had once thought that Global Justice was her entire life, that Dr. Director was all she ever wanted to be. Now, on the way to the airport, she was looking forward to retirement.
Kim and Ron Stoppable left the celebration early. While they continued to be affiliated with Global Justice, they weren't full members and thought that the later parts of the party, which promised to become wild, were perks for members of that organization. Kim relaxed in the passenger's seat, reviewing her life since high school.
She and Ron had a bit of a fight after graduation. Kim had insisted on staying close to her boyfriend for their secondary education, even though he was afraid that she was holding herself back by doing so. She had finally convinced him that the only thing that would really hold her back was being away from him. In the end, she had obtained a degree in international law and he had obtained a degree international diplomacy.
The years had been good for them, for the most part. They were recognized and admired leaders in their fields and still found time to go out and take down the bad guys on occasion. Ron still had a knack for being ignored by the press and the general public, a trait that he was just fine with. There were a few people who occasionally wondered why someone as beautiful and famous as her would marry and stay with him, but she had learned to not worry about what such people thought. The fact was Ron had always stepped up whenever she was ready for something more from him.
He became her friend when she needed a friend. He became her sidekick when she became a hero. He had become her boyfriend, then her lover, then her husband. The truth of the matter was that he was always there to support her, in whatever role would support her the best. Still, she hoped that he could provide something more.
"Hey KP, would you like to catch a movie, maybe dinner?" His question interrupted her thoughts.
"No, a nice quiet evening at home sounds best to me."
"Anything you say, KP. Hey! It looks like Monique has put out her new, spring line!"
"I'll be sure and try on everything, later," Kim assured him, looking at her friend's store as they drove by.
Store. In reality, the shop was the front for an international apparel superpower. Somehow, Monique and Tara had managed to trade boyfriends, marry them, and still remain friends. It actually worked out well for both women. Josh's artistic abilities enhanced Monique's fashion designs. Kim's former boyfriend had a small studio and was a respected artist in his own right, but he preferred to help Monique thrive.
As far as Monique's old boyfriend, Matt Soley had married Tara shortly after finishing college. While he went into the NFL before obtaining his degree, he went back to school after his rookie season and finished his education. The all-American linebacker had a disappointing professional career, suffering a broken ankle in his third season. The couple had returned to Colorado, where they took over his parents' ranch. Matt managed to find the time to be the assistant coach for the Upperton High football team and Tara had adapted quite well to being a farm wife. The bubbly blonde had produced three children and advised Upperton's cheerleaders.
Their car passed Mickman's Earthmoving, which Oscar Williamsen had recently purchased. Oscar had realized his dream, trading four more years of amateur wrestling for a civil engineering degree. The two-time Colorado State Champion had added three national championships to his 'I love me' wall, but they paled in comparison to his greatest victory. Kim and Ron had made the long, overseas trip to see their friend compete and win under a flag that sported five, interlocked rings. He didn't receive his award from a cheerleader; rather, he received his medal from an Olympic Official before watching his country's flag raised and heard his country's national anthem. It was after he stepped off the podium that a cheerleader mugged him.
Cindy and Oscar had married between their junior and senior years of college. Cindy had a journalism degree and had spent a few years working under Warren's tutelage. She was now a highly respected reporter. Oscar returned to work for Mickman's Earthmoving, dramatically increasing their business. The former high school wrestler donated his time, coaching the Middleton Wrestling Squad. He and Cindy had two daughters, whom Cindy's parents and Oscar's father spoiled on every possible occasion.
Finally, the Stoppables reached their home, just outside the city limits. Kim and Ron weren't exactly rich, but they were clearly wealthy. They had a large house and Kim's only regret was that she had been unable to fill some of the spare bedrooms. It was the injury she had sustained, all those years ago in Wyoming, or the mild infection she hadn't even realized it had caused, that had left her barren. She and Ron had gone to the specialists; her eggs were fertile and Ron's sperm were fine. The only problem was that, according to all of the specialists, it would take a miracle for a zygote to implant.
Last week, she had talked to Monique and had hinted that she wanted to take her friend up on the offer she had made in high school. Kim had no doubt that her friend would honor any request, however, this was such a big decision that she wanted Monique to volunteer again. Instead, she had found out that Monique wouldn't be able to do so, at least for awhile.
"I'm afraid that I can't take on a passenger," Monique had informed her. "I just found out that I already have one!"
Kim had, of course, been delighted at the news. Still, she didn't want to wait for a couple more years. It wasn't that she was all that demanding; simply that this was prime time for her and Ron to reproduce.
Once in the house, Ron chased her out of the kitchen and set about preparing dinner for them. Kim chose to take a warm, leisurely bath. While she was soaking in the soothing waters a certain…possibility…came to her mind.
Finished with her bath, she walked downstairs and by the den, where Rufus was on-line, tangling with Felix at some sort of game. Ron's friend, the human one, had graduated from MIT and had moved to Japan, where he went to work for a robotics company. He had married Yori last year. Yori was, officially, the headmistress of the Yamanouchi, private school. In reality, she was the head of the Yamanouchi ninja, a highly capable ninja in her own right, and one of Japan's greatest intelligence resources. Kim kept in contact with Yori mainly because Ron kept in almost constant contact with Felix. The video game company got a great deal of good marketing from the two young men; one of the worlds most respected negotiators and one of the worlds most respected robotics engineers played their game at least twice a week.
"Eat lightly," she told her husband, who was setting the table for three. "I'd kind of like to indulge tonight." She followed her statement with a slightly demure look at him; the kind that she knew absolutely melted him.
"Link with me?" Kim requested, cuddled up with her husband after 'indulging.'
"Are you injured?" Ron asked her.
"No," she told him. "But it's something very important to me."
Several visits to Yamanouchi had given Kim the ability to attain a meditative state in which she and Ron could link minds. While she still couldn't perform the analogy-healing on her own, she no longer had to be asleep for Ron to link minds with her and help her perform it. This healing was one of the Mystical Monkey Power's aspects, so Ron was careful to not use it frivolously. Still, he trusted Kim completely, so when she asked him to 'link', he agreed.
Kim focused on calming her mind (something she found very easy when cuddled up with her husband) and found her center. Soon, the mental analogies of her and Ron were standing on an infinite, blank plain.
"What do you have in mind, KP?" Dream-Ron asked her.
"You'll see," she replied, with a mysterious smile on her lips. She concentrated a little more and the two were soon standing in a familiar room.
"This is one of our spare rooms," Dream-Ron declared. He looked around, confused, seeing that it had been furnished to act as a nursery. Dream-Kim was holding a white sphere, about the size of a volleyball. There were faint features on the sphere, which looked vaguely like Kim's face. Smaller spheres, about the size of golf balls, were floating around the room, propelled by whip-like tails. At first, Ron was confused by this analogy but then he caught his breath, suspecting that Kim…
Dream-Kim caught one of the smaller spheres. Now that he was able to get a closer look, he realized that this smaller sphere also had faint features, looking a little like his own face. Dream-Kim pressed the two spheres together; the smaller sphere slid inside the larger, leaving its tail behind. Dream-Kim placed the larger sphere in the crib, tucking it in with a contented smile.
"KP, did you just…?" Dream-Ron left the question hanging.
"Yes," she answered, stepping back towards him. "You don't think this is a frivolous use of the MMP, do you?"
"KP," he replied, stepping forward to smile down and the crib's contents. "I don't think it's possible to get farther away from frivolous. Are you sure you're ready for this?"
"So more than ready. Are you okay with this?"
"Of course, would it be wrong to say that I love you now?"
"So not wrong," she paused. "Tell me in person?"
Moments later, Kim opened her eyes to find herself in her own bed, with her husband spooned up behind her. She turned around so that she could kiss him. It wasn't a passionate kiss; those had been shared earlier. Instead, it was a loving, accepting kiss. One that told both of them that they fully supported the commitment they had just made.
Breaking the kiss, Kim snuggled back into Ron and drifted off to sleep, enfolded in her husband's embrace and basking in his warmth. She may not have any 'happy accidents,' but with her husband's help, she had overcome another obstacle. She couldn't wait until they could tell their 'rents that the first grandchild was on the way.
Picture a stage, somewhere in the virtual reality that is fanfiction. A chubby, boring, middle-aged man walks out upon this stage and addresses the audience.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he says. "My name is daccu65, and I'd like to thank each and every one of you for reading my little tale. Before I say anything else, I'd like to ask for a round of applause for my beta reader, Joe Stoppinghem. If you're here, Joe, please stand up." Daccu65 waits an appropriate interval for applause.
"Like I said before," he continues. "I'd like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has taken the time to read my tale. As this was only my second, multi-chapter story, I realize that it was more than a little rough around the edges, so I really appreciate those of you who bore with me."
"Secondly, I'd like to express my appreciation to everyone who sent me reviews and/or private messages. The encouragement and/or corrections were invaluable."
"Finally, I'd like to let everyone know that I'm going to be taking a little bit of time off from writing KP tales. I have some beta commitments that I've let sit for too long and I'd like to take a crack at a story, based on the 'Underworld' movies. I'll still be reading and reviewing fairly frequently, so if anybody has a plot bunny to discuss or wants some input, I'll be around. I don't know how long I'll be working at my other story, or if I'll give up before it's done. I'd just like all of you to know that it has been a joy to write for such a supportive audience."
"Thanks again and, until we meet again, best wishes."
With that, daccu65 bows and exits, stage left.