My standard KP disclaimer:

I know Disney owns "Kim Possible"...lock, stock, and Rufus.

If they want to sue me, they have to get behind all my other creditors.

Since I am in south Florida, the line has formed to the right

…and goes all the way to Sacramento!

If a name has an ®, I own it. If it doesn't, I don't!

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Opening notes:

1) Well, folks…this is where I thank all those who took the time to review the last chapter...King in Yellow, Captain IT, whitem, Sentinel103, CajunBear73, Kwebs, screaming phoenix, kaiokken, and Mengsk.

2) I will address another issue contained within those reviews at the end of the tale. For now, I don't wan't to spoil the fun as we sit back and…

Enjoy the show!

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'ch-RON-icles: The Great One-Half'

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Chapter Six: 'Kicking Brass and Taking Names'

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For Tom Buckley, Gerry Fleming, John VanBiesbrouck, Wayne Gretzky (of course), the Hanson Brothers, and the late great Jim McKay…

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Previously, in 'The Great One-Half'...

After they finished supper, Ron piped up. "Dad, I know we were supposed to go shopping for skates tonight; but I think I've already found a pair I like. They seem to fit well and feel great. I'll be right back to show you how cool they look!"

Donald waited with anticipation as Ron left the room. His heart sank when the boy returned a moment later…with the skates and stick from the attic, which were autographed by a man now in the Hockey Hall of Fame

…Coach Payne clearly realized the difference between Ron's hockey prowess using his own gear versus his disaster-filled antics with any other equipment. While he believed Ron's use of his own skates and stick was merely a measure of self-confidence, a little voice in the back of his head suggested a rather ridiculous notion…What if the kid's talent really did come from the gear, and not from his father's genes?

Donald paused to allow Wayne to explain the story of the equipment's true origins. When the man was finished, there was stunned silence for a moment.

Donald finally stammered, "Are you actually telling me this was the gear YOU used in junior hockey?"

A smile was evident in Wayne's voice. "That's right…By the way, what number does your son wear?"

Donald went into an uncontrollable laughing fit at that moment. Wayne had to prompt him to get a response. "What…what did I say, Donnie?"

After taking a moment to compose himself, Donald wiped away a tear and finally responded, "He wears number 49. When I asked him why, he said he did the math and discovered that half of 99 was 49.5. He said he chose 49 because his dream is…to one day be nearly half as good as Wayne Gretzky!"

…Wayne presented Ron with an Ice Kickers hat after the game. A special message was written in the white underside of the hat's bill:

"To Ron Stoppable,

'The Great One-Half',

on your third hat trick.

I hope you never outgrow my skates.

Best of luck in the playoffs,

Wayne Gretzky

PS…Your dad was right.

You and Kim look like

you can make a great team of your own."

Dr. James Possible began to read the story aloud:

"…'The Boulder Brass will face the Middleton Ice Kickers next week for the 'Under-12' North Regional championship of the Colorado Junior Hockey League…In Boulder's 5-2 victory, East Denver was clearly intimidated by 12-year-old Sven Magnussen, who tallied two goals, three assists, and a CJHL-record eighteen penalty minutes. Magnussen was eventually ejected on a 'game misconduct' penalty half-way through the third period, leading to the two East Denver tallies…Magnussen is the son of Hans Magnussen, who first made his mark as an enforcer at the University of Colorado before leading the National Hockey League in penalty minutes for every season of his seven-year career'…"

…The public-address announcer crooned, "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today's CJHL 'Under-12' North Regional Championship between the Boulder Brass and your Middleton Ice Kickers..."

Before the puck hit the ice, Sven swung back his stick. With no intention of ever touching the puck, he brought the stick forward and struck Ron squarely in the…

"OOOOOOOOOOOHHHH!" The crowd and both benches moaned as Ron was lifted several inches in the air by the force of the attack. Females in attendance had shocked looks on their faces while the males winced with a kindred level of sympathy. To borrow a phrase used by the President who held office at the time, they felt Ron's pain.

Instead of causing Ron to crumple on the ice in excruciating agony, Sven's dirty tactics only served to cleanly break his stick in half. In his frustration, he head-butted Ron, giving the straw-haired Middleton center a bloody nose as he finally fell to the ice.

Steve Keyes and Tommy Francis helped their fellow 'STaR Line' member off the ice and into the waiting arms of Anne and the rest of the medical staff on-duty. Even though the other staff members were certified athletic trainers, it was nice to have a doctor in the house.

…Still, nobody noticed the hair-line crack that began to form on the blade of Ron's right skate…

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When everything was settled, Middleton's Benji Scott and Boulder's Derrick McGill were given equal two minute penalties for 'fighting'. Sven Magnussen, however, received a two-minute penalty for the initial…infraction…and a five minute 'major' penalty for head-butting Ron and causing his nose to bleed.

Ron's damaged face meant a long departure from the ice for a key member of the 'STaR Line'. Thankfully, Coach Payne's 'cross-line' training was designed with such a roster vacancy in mind.

This turn of events gave the Ice Kickers a 'four-on-three' advantage for seven minutes, which they fully utilized. Tommy scored the first goal less than a minute into the contest. By scoring that quickly, Sven's two-minute 'minor' penalty was eliminated. That left the five-minute 'major', which he had to serve in full—regardless of any further goal-scoring.

By the time Sven finished his time in the penalty box, Steve posted another tally, giving Middleton a 2-0 lead. Despite a Brass squad rejuvenated upon Sven's return to action, the score remained unchanged at the end of the first period.

Back in the locker room, two ice packs, along with other first-aid remedies, were being used on Ron. One insulated ice pack was strategically located in the space where his dented athletic cup used to occupy, merely as a precaution. The other pack joined several bandages and cotton packing to help heal his nose. Thankfully, it was not broken. Any injury that serious in nature would have resulted in Ron being immediately whisked to Middleton Medical Center and missing the rest of the game.

Dr. Anne Possible and the medical trainers double-checked Ron with his…lower situation, while Kim took the lead in treatment of his nose. Anne was proud of how Kim took charge of Ron's face, yet discreetly turned her head when the other situation was examined.

There was no doubt about it…Kim was definitely putting her Pixie Scout 'First-aid' badge training to good use. However, Anne also noticed a nurturing look in Kim's piercing green eyes. It was as if she was…content and peaceful…when fawning over her best friend in such a manner.

Anne laughed in thought, 'There's no doubt about it…She's got it bad for him. You know, for such a bright student in every other discipline, she is way too clueless about something this obvious. I guess it's like a great work of art, which shouldn't be rushed in its creation.'

The team members gave Ron words of encouragement as they entered the locker room and passed his location on the trainer's table. After having a few words with Anne, Coach Payne blew his whistle to gain the attention of his players.

"Guys," he began, "Don't worry about Ron. The medical team has assured me that nothing was broken. He just needs a little more time to heal before he comes back out to join us."

Tommy raised his hand and asked, "What about his—"

"I SAID NOTHING WAS BROKEN!!" Coach Payne snapped. After a moment of awkward silence throughout the locker room, his voice returned to normal as he continued, "Look, this is why we started our 'cross-line' training right after that Arvada disaster, so let's focus on the situation at hand. We have a two-goal lead with only two ten-minute periods standing between us and a championship."

He diagrammed some team movements on a chalkboard and went on with his speech. "We may not be as big as that Boulder bunch, but we are faster and smarter than them. Francis…Scott…Keyes…keep up the attack on your shift. That Magnussen kid may be tough, but his line-mates are too slow to be of much help to him. If we continue to exploit this weakness, we can take these chumps!"

He extended his arm forward and declared, "You know what we've got to do, Ice Kickers…"

The players brought their hands on top of Coach Payne's hand and shouted, "KICK SOME ICE!!"

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…The Brass continued their intimidation as the second period began. Their superior strength began to wear down Middleton's faster, yet smaller, roster. While their bruising tactics were legal, the continued efforts were beginning to take their toll on the Ice Kickers.

Finally, with 7:45 left in the second period, Boulder kept too many Ice Kickers from getting back up after those crushing hits. They capitalized on a Middleton turnover and scored to cut the lead to one goal. Less than three minutes later, Derrick McGill fired a shot that bounced off the safety glass, struck the goalie in the back of the head, slid down his back, and rolled into the net.

The Brass players gathered around Derrick to congratulate him on tying the game when they began to hear a roar of approval beginning to sweep across the crowd.

The source of the excitement, along with his red-headed 'mother-daughter' entourage, emerged from the locker room to thunderous applause. Ron was quick to tell Coach Payne he was medically cleared to play.

...As he took to the ice once more, the crack in his right skate's blade continued to slowly grow...

Despite the resurrection of the 'STaR Line', the score remained tied at two goals apiece. Before the teams left the rink for the second intermission, a little more pushing and shoving on both sides caused Ron to fall on the ice.

...This impact with the ice caused a small fissure to start in the blade of his left skate, matching the ever-growing gap in his right skate...

To say the least, Coach Payne was not a 'happy camper' as the team prepared for the third period. Despite his obvious disappointment in his players, he knew they had to rally once more in order to win.

He looked sternly at his players before he wiped away his previous writing and scrawled a number on the chalkboard. He pointed to it as he started the final intermission speech of the season…

"Ten…That's what it's all about, guys…

Ten is the magic number at this moment…

At full strength, ten skaters are on the ice to face a goalie on each end of the rink…

Ten is the average age of a member of this team…

This particular team has not even been to the title game in ten years…

Ten is the number of games we have won this season…

Win or lose, we only have ten regulation minutes left in the season…

And if we're gonna win this game, our performance out there has GOT to be a perfect ten!!"

He put out his hand once again and finished his talk. "As we have done ten times before…for ten minutes more…what do we have to do?"

The Ice Kickers placed their hands on top of the coach's arm and once more shouted, "KICK SOME ICE!!"

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…The third period proved to be the most brutal span of hockey either team has faced all year. No matter what punishment the Boulder Brass dealt, the Middleton Ice Kickers returned with equal force. As the minutes ticked by, minor cuts and bruises were being treated by each training staff. Were it not for the polymerized 'super armor' padding, Ron would have been out of action on more than one occasion.

With less than ten seconds left in the game, Ron finally got a breakaway chance. He took the puck and streaked down the center of the rink. The only one standing in the way of a championship was number 38 for the Brass, a goalie that already showed signs of massive fatigue.

The last few seconds seemed to play out in slow motion in Ron's mind…

…He heard his mother and Kim shout in unison, "WATCH OUT, RON!!"…

…He felt his legs give out from under him…

…He felt a stick as it squarely smacked across his shoulder blades…

…He felt his head hit the ice as he sprawled out on the rink…

…He heard the evil laughter of Sven Magnussen as the referee blew the whistle to stop play…

…He looked up at the game clock and was stunned to see the numbers which stared back at him…

"0:00.1"

Time returned to normal as the referee declared, "Penalty shot awarded to Middleton 49."

The crowd was silent as they watched Ron lying face-down on the ice. Donald and Jean feared a repeat of what happened a generation ago. Even with the revolutionary protective gear, they knew Ron had to be feeling a great deal of pain at that moment.

Their worst fears were confirmed when Ron slowly rose and flashed a smile…with a dark gap where his front teeth were supposed to be located. After a few seconds, their mood brightened as Ron spit out a piece of black 'stick tape' and revealed his full set of teeth once again.

The cheers caused the rink to vibrate as the referee directed him to 'center ice' for the penalty shot.

...Unbeknownst to anybody in attendance, including Ron, the cracks in his skate blades were reaching a critical stage...

The referee placed the puck halfway between 'center ice' and the goal. He looked to Ron and the Boulder goalie as he explained, "Middleton 49…Boulder 38…Here's the situation…For all intents and purposes, this will be the last play in regulation time. Middleton 49, you will get one chance to shoot the puck from as close to the goal as you wish, provided you keep skating toward the goal before your shot, and you do not cross the goal crease before you shoot. If you score, your team wins. If not, we will have a five-minute overtime to hopefully decide this thing. Boulder 38, remember to stay in the goal crease until after the shooter touches the puck. Good luck to both of you."

Once he received nods of understanding from both players, he blew the whistle once more and signaled for Ron to attempt his shot. The Middleton center stared at the Boulder goalie for a second before skating toward him.

As he touched the puck and skated closer, his balance became unsteady. He still had enough focus to deliver a fiery slap-shot before an amazing sequence of events occurred…

…The stick shattered into a few dozen pieces…

…The blade of his right skate ran over the stick fragments and finally snapped…

…That blade slid into the blade of the left skate, causing its final support to give way and break on its own…

…For the second time in five 'real-time' minutes, Ron Stoppable laid 'spread-eagle' on the ice…

…The Brass goalie squeezed the webbing of his glove around the puck…

…He took off the mask in total shock as he found a newly-created hole in the glove's webbing, a similar hole in the back of the goal net, and the puck wedged in the slim gap between the rink's board and the protective glass directly behind the goal.

The referee signaled the goal and caused the rafters to shake as cheers erupted from both the stadium seating and the 'overflow' crowd watching the holographic simulation at the practice rink.

While the rest of the Ice Kickers danced around the rink with the championship trophy, Ron quickly changed into sure-footed boots so he could join his teammates in the customary 'lined handshake' with their opposition.

Once that ritual was completed, Ron accepted the plaque awarded to the game's 'Most Valuable Player'. After shaking the hand of the CJHL official and posing for a couple of pictures, he noticed his parents joined Kim and Anne just outside the locker room tunnel. Ron carefully walked over to the group and handed the plaque to his father.

His voice was weak as he bowed his head toward the man and declared, "This…this is for you, Dad!"

Donald gave an irritated look as he reminded his son, "Ronald, I told you I was proud of you, win or lose…"

The scowl quickly flashed into a teary smile as he finished, "…But…you've always seemed to find a way to exceed even my wildest expectations. Thank you so much, son."

Donald and Jean wrapped their arms around their son as Kim and Anne hugged each other in jubilation.

After they broke the embraces of their parents, Ron gave his mother, Anne, and Kim a celebratory kiss on the cheek. The daze caused by the kiss kept the younger Possible from hearing the massive explosions triggered by her father and brothers with their outside fireworks display.

"Kimmie," Anne reminded her daughter, "It's time to go home now."

Kim cooed, "I'll water the ferns in a moment, Mom…I just have to feed my Pandaroo first."

Anne gently escorted her daughter to the exit while Ron quizzically looked at his parents and pondered, "What's wrong with KP? Pandaroo is a plush Cuddle-Buddy…and they don't even have any ferns among their houseplants."

Jean chuckled for a moment and replied, "Don't worry, Ronnie…She'll come to her senses soon enough…I hope."

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A week after that championship game, Ron visited Isaac Martin Payne at his 'day job', working as an accountant at the same actuarial firm as Ron's father.

Mr. Payne looked up from his desk and smiled. "Well, hello, Stoppable! Have you come to visit your dad today?"

Ron shook his head. "Nah…I've come to talk to you, Coach. Do you have a minute?"

Mr. Payne turned from his work, offered Ron a chair, and responded, "Sure. What's on your mind?"

Ron sat down and explained, "I guess you know about the origin of those skates and the stick I used this season."

Mr. Payne smirked, "I…had a few suspicions, yes."

Ron could barely look at his coach as he continued, "Well, I went to the Ice Complex a couple of days ago. I got fitted for some new skates and decided to try them out before buying them. You know…just to see if any of the talent actually belonged to me instead of that gear I destroyed."

"Oh?" Mr. Payne inquired with piqued curiosity, "What did you discover?"

Ron bowed his head in defeat as he admitted, "I…I got nothin'!"

It was Mr. Payne's time to shake his head. "Of course you have a talent, Stoppable. It may not be in hockey, but I know a good heart and determination when I see it. Heck, if you put your mind to it, I'll bet you could even be quite the hero when you get older. Heaven knows you already have the right tools for it."

Ron sat wide-eyed and asked, "Do you really think so?"

Mr. Payne placed his hands on Ron's shoulders and nodded. "I don't think so…I know so! With the strength of your family and the family of that firecracker girlfr—I mean best friend of yours, you can be downright unstoppable, Stoppable!"

Both of them laughed as Mr. Payne continued, "Just remember...if anybody tries to throw you 'out in the cold', be sure to take some names and…"

The two of them finished, "KICK SOME ICE!!"

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CREATIVE CREDIT

'Where the Columbines Grow'

Words and Music by AJ Fynn,

By commission from the State of Colorado.

Wayne Gretzky

I assure you, he had nothing to do with this tale.

His usage is only as a public figure under the First Amendment.

All parody trademarks and character names (things with an ®)

ALL Copyright ©2008 by Matthew Shrader

(Rights agent for Thad Marster, aka "The Samurai Crunchbird").

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Author's ending notes:

Like I have said in the ending notes for every chapter I had posted to date, "The production of this story, like that for any work of fiction, is solely dependent upon the constructive feedback of its readers. If you like it, I will gladly make more. If you think of ways to make it better, I am always open to suggestions. If you really think it's a piece of garbage, stop me before I strike again!!"

I DO wish to address one concern about a quote from the last chapter. When Ron complimented Anne for the terrific waffles, she responded, "Why, thank you, Ron, for the positive peer-review feedback."

Some people have accused me of trying to promote myself with that line. NOTHING CAN BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH!!

I was merely giving a nod to a similar quote Wade made to the Tweebs in "Car Alarm".

This petty carping at me, along with the forum threads and chat room, represent just some of the types of political Bull-Biscuits which compel me to release this conclusion a few days early. I have also decided to skip the normal buffer and just release all the stories I have completed in the span of a few days before taking a break. I may come back in a few weeks, a few months, or a few lifetimes. I don't know just yet.

Let me emphasize this to my loyal readers (both of you)...It is not you! I have four (maybe five) different works left unfinished for the last three weeks, without any hope of resolution any time soon.

This is NOT who I am! This is FAR from my style.

Usually, I have an entire story outlined and/or typed in the span of less than three days. The longest I took in outlining a tale was 'So the Reality: Amazing Race'. It took me five whole days to outline that one!

If I come back, it will be with these unfinished tales first. After that, anything is...well...Possible.

Once more, Review me, e-mail me if you wanna reach me! When you want to 'PM' me, it's ok!

Your friend in writing,

The Samurai Crunchbird®