Disney owns the characters, I'm just taking them for a test drive.
Ron Stoppable was prone to worrying about little things and ignoring the big picture, but not this time. His fiancee Kim Possible was missing, and come hell or high water he was going to find her and bring her home. He had gone to the Lowerton Scrap Yard, the last place Kim was seen, to try to figure out what happened. The Mystical Monkey Power gave Ron an almost instinctive insight to how other fighters thought and responded, and he had hoped that he could use it to figure things out after the fact, but it wasn't working. Ron went back over to the Sloth and sat on the hood. "I don't know what to do," he said to himself.
A small voice squeaked excitedly. "Over here! Found something!"
Rufus was standing beside several broken marble sized spheres. He sniffed one and winced. "Sleepy smoke."
"Knockout gas, huh?" Ron knelt beside Rufus and got Wade on his wrist Ronlink. "Hey, Wade, Rufus found something. Watcha make of this?"
Wade scanned the spheres through the Ronlink. "Knockout gas, alright. This is old stuff, though. I think Hench Co discontinued this about five years ago. Hang on a minute." Wade's fingers danced over his keyboard. "I'm picking up residual traces of some sort of electrostatic charge."
"Didn't you say this dude zapped KP?"
"Yeah, and this is how he did it."
"Can we use it to track him?"
"Afraid not, Ron." Wade saw Ron's face fall a bit. "But I did get some info on our tiger guy." An image of the pale man appeared on the Ronlink. "His name's Anderson Collins, but he's better known as Bengal; probably why he had the stripes done. He's a martial artist and fighting aficionado. A number of years ago he was kicked out of the Supreme Combat Alliance for being too rough. Rumor has it he went underground."
"Doesn't help us much, does it?"
"Maybe it does. Let me see if his credit cards are still active." Wade went back to work on his computers. "If they are, we can see where he's been. And if we find where he's been..."
"Then we can sniff him out!" Ron's funk had dissipated. "Way to go Wade-man!"
"I know," the young genius said. "I rock in stereo."
Kim Possible was breathing heavily and clutching at her right side. That last fight had been rough. How many is that now? Five? Six? I don't know. Kim had been fighting almost nonstop since she went into the fence lined hexagon that they called a ring. All of her opponents had been much bigger than she was, and all had some sort of enhancements. That last one, a seven foot tall behemoth with muscles like Hego, had one of those muscle enhancing rings and the telltale track marks of steroid injections. Kim had won, but only after getting hit in the side with his club-like arm. It didn't feel like her ribs were broken, but they were very badly bruised. Just breathing hurt.
The crowd in the stands was going nuts. Bets larger than any in the Arena of Lost Soul's history were being made either for or against Kim. Several small fortunes had been made or lost, all in the span of a few hours. Bengal and Valkyrie were by the announcer's booth, watching the carnage unfold. Kim's next opponents were a pair of fraternal twins; two women who utilized a pair of throwing axes and daggers. "She's unarmed," the English woman said. "Slice and Dice will live up to their names with her."
"No they won't," Bengal said with certainty. "Possible will find a way to defeat them, and move on to the next fighter."
"How long is this going to go on?"
"Until she faces me and I win." Bengal could almost smell his impending victory. "She is the only worthy opponent out there for me to fight."
"So you're wearing her out with these other fighters?" Valkyrie was losing more respect for Bengal by the second. "Is that the only way you think you can beat her? You're a coward."
Bengal let loose a blow to Valkyrie's face, which she easily blocked. "I am no coward," he spat. "Somehow Kim Possible has learned Tai Sheng Pek Kwar! I once saw a countryman of yours who had mastered that art, and he was nearly unbeatable! I must see what she can do."
While guaranteeing your own victory, Valkyrie thought with disgust. "In case you haven't been following the news for the last few years, Monkey Fist lost to Ron Stoppable more than once."
"Possible's sidekick," Valkyrie with an angry snort. "Don't you know anything?"
"The sidekick doesn't concern me," Bengal said. "If he did defeat Lord Fiske, it was just dumb luck."
Or dumb skill. Valkyrie watched as Kim caught the axes of Slice and Dice in midair and threw them to the floor of the ring with enough force to bury their blades completely. She then saw Kim execute a forward handspring that took her behind her opponents, where she smashed their skulls together, knocking them out cold. Slice and Dice collapsed in a heap on the arena floor, eliciting thunderous applause from the bloodthirsty audience. This isn't fighting, this is a bloody massacre.
"I think that counts as strike three, Ron," Wade Load said from the Ronlink in Ron's station wagon. "He must be using cash for everything. The latest financial records I found on this Bengal guy are from 2002. I've got nothing."
"That's my line, Wade," Ron said in a defeated voice. "Did you get the Sloth back to my place in one piece?"
Ron looked down at Kim's engagement ring. He had taken it from its hiding place in the Sloth before he left the scrap yard. Too bad I can't use the Mystical Monkey Power on this to find Kim. Or use the bond we had when I shared the power with her to find her. It wasn't for lack of trying, either. Ron had been concentrating the MMP on Kim's ring for the better part of a half hour. "And you can't, like, boost the signal to her chip?"
"Been trying that, Ron," Wade said. "Wherever she is there has to be some serious shielding."
Ron's car was parked by the abandoned water works in Lowerton; the exact spot where Wade lost the signal. Scans and sweeps hadn't revealed so much as an open air duct, let alone a door. Whatever this place was, if it was here, it was so well hidden that not even Wade's upgraded systems could find it.
Kim clutched her right side even tighter than she did before. Okay, including the twins that's four more. What am I at now, ten? This is so not good. Eventually I'm going to reach the point that I can't even lift my hands, let alone throw a punch. They're wearing me down. I so don't want to know what they have planned when I'm too beat to move.
Bengal watched intently from beside the announcer's booth, totally unaware that Valkyrie had left his side. He was too engrossed in the fight below to care what she did. Just a couple more fights and she'll be ready to face me. He could see his victory looming ever closer. Valkyrie, on the other hand, knew that what he was doing would be considered dishonorable among most fighters. Even if Bengal realized this he didn't care. All that mattered to him was his glorious victory.
"Well, Wade, now what?" Ron had been driving circles around Lowerton for hours, but he kept coming back to the old waterworks. This was the last place where Wade got a signal from Kim; that had to mean something. He was again parked outside the abandoned structure, talking to Wade over the Ronlink.
"Hold on, Ron, I might have something."
"Booyah, Wade!" That was the best news Ron had heard all night.
"Thanks for the gesture, but I don't deserve it," the young genius said. "We just got a hit on the sight from someone who says she knows where Kim is."
"That's still booyah worthy," Ron countered. "Who contacted us?"
"I did," a female voice from behind them said.
Ron nearly jumped out of his shoes. "Don't sneak up on me like that!"
"You'd think the wielder of the Mystical Monkey Power would be less jumpy."
"Say again?" How does she know about my monkey mojo?
"Fighters around here call me 'Valkyrie,' but my real name is Valerie Bates," the blonde woman said. "I believe you met my uncle some years ago."
"Your uncle worked for monkey dude?" Ron didn't see the family resemblance between her and Bates. "Whatever happened to that guy anyway?"
"He got smart and resigned," Valkyrie said. "But that's not important now. Your lady friend is in the ring right now fighting for her life. I can get you in. Come on!"
Valkyrie led them to a door that was so well hidden, not even Wade's scanners could detect it. "Once we're in, you'll be on your own. This place has some pretty wicked signal jammers."
"If KP's in there, then that's where I'm going." Ron, without any fear, charged ahead into the unknown.
Ron and Valkyrie sprinted down a dimly lit hallway. "So why is Kim fighting in the first place? That so isn't her thing."
"Another fighter named Bengal kidnapped her," Valkyrie explained. "He wanted to defeat her in one on one combat. But he saw her using Monkey Kung Fu and he lost his nerve. Now he's having her run the gauntlet; fighting as many opponents as she can until she's too exhausted to fight back."
"Okay, that's low."
"And dishonorable." Valkyrie hit the call button for the elevator to take them to the fighting floor. "We may be underground fighters, and a lot of us may use enhancements, but we still fight one on one, hand to hand. Unless it's a tag team match or a weapon duel. But Bengal is too caught up with being the man to defeat Kim Possible. Even if he wins he'll lose all his credibility. But he might kill your fiancee in the process."
"Over my dead body." Ron was willing to sacrifice his life to save Kim's when they faced off against the recreated Erik back in January, and he was still willing to do it. He stepped in the elevator and hit the "down" button. He could feel the MMP coursing through him, ready to spring forth at a moment's notice.
Kim was facing a lanky man wielding a whip. He was the twelfth opponent she had faced, and she wasn't sure how much longer she could hold out. He had been given minimal water, no food, no treatment for her wounds, and no rest. Breathing hurt worse now than it did before because of her bruised and battered ribs, and her vision was now obscured by the blood trickling from a long cut over her left eye.
Her thoughts were sluggish and hard to string together. Has to be a concussion, she thought ruefully. I've got to end this before I collapse. Instead of waiting for her attacker to strike, she attacked first. She drove her knee into the thin man's stomach and then slammed her fists into the back of his neck when he bent forward. Even as beat up as she was, she still managed to defeat a ruthless fighter in less than a minute.
"Kim Possible wins again. She is now twelve for twelve," the announcer declared. "And now for unlucky number thirteen. Kim Possible, the girl who can do anything, will face off against the undefeated Bengal! Place your bets!"
The crowd, now whipped into a feeding frenzy of shark-like proportions, erupted. Even the other fighters were worked up. They won't care how I win at this point, Bengal thought.
Bengal entered the ring and flexed his neck. "And now, Miss Possible, it is time for you to lose to me."
The light went off in Kim's punch drunk brain. "And if...I refuse?"
"I believe their names are Jim and Tim, aren't they?"
"This...was your plan all along," Kim panted. Her legs were trembling from the strain they were under. "There's no way...I can win. You...set this up...so you couldn't lose." Kim looked up at the crowd and summoned as much strength as she could. "Don't you see?!" she shouted. "This guy is such the coward! He had me fight all these other people so I'd be too worn out to fight him!"
The crowd continued their cheers and jeers. "It's no use, Miss Possible," Bengal said. "All they can see right now is the spectacle. They will remember this as the night I defeated you, and they won't care what lengths I had to go to. As long as they're entertained, they won't care."
"What about you?" Kim sneered. "You kinda came off as having some...sense of honor. I mean...no muscle rings or steroids. Why...do this?"
"Because the greatest honor is in victory, Kim Possible." Bengal cracked his knuckles and threw his robe off. "Now prepare to lose."
"KP!" Everyone looked towards the entryway the fighters used to reach the ring. There stood Ron Stoppable, his eyes glowing a violent blue and his dark mission clothes almost blending in with the darkness of the arena.
Kim finally allowed herself to collapse to the ground. She laughed long and hard at Bengal. "You are in so much trouble now. My man is gonna take you apart!"
Ron ran to Kim's side and helped her lay down, the crowd booing and jeering all the while. "Are you all right, KP?"
"I am now." She reached up and touched Ron's cheek. "I knew you'd find me. Now take this jerk down."
"Rufus, stay with Kim." The naked mole rat nodded and jumped out of Ron's pocket and took a guarding position at Kim's side. Ron, meanwhile, stood and sized up his opponent. This dude's strong and fast, Ron thought, letting the Mystical Monkey Power read his opponent like a book. And he's cocky. That means I can use one of my secret weapons on him; my obnoxious personality!
"Yo, tiger dude! I think there's a guy in San Francisco who's already doing the human animal thing."
"You dare to mock me?" No one had mocked him and kept his teeth intact to tell the story.
"Well, duh," Ron retorted. "I mean, unless you're too slow to figure it out. Maybe all that ink messed with your brain."
"Who do you think you are?" Bengal assumed an attack stance, which prompted Ron to drop into a defensive one. Bengal recognized it immediately. "So you think you know Monkey King Fu?"
"Know it? I am da master! Time to get schooled."
Bengal charged at Ron, who didn't move. At the last minute Ron stepped out of the way, extended his foot and tripped Bengal, sending him face first to the ground. Enraged, Bengal scramled to his feet and charged at Ron, only to wind up with Ron's fist in his nose. Bengal staggered back, his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he hit the ground like a puppet with cut strings.
"Booyah," Ron said in a subdued voice. That was quickly becoming one of his favorite moves; it worked on this jerk, and it worked on Rick O'Shea. Of course, in Rick's case, he didn't knock the guy out.
Kim looked up at Ron when he crouched down beside her again. She wore a weak grin, but her eyes were sparkling. "That's my Ron," she said in a weak voice.
"I gotta get you out of here, KP, but I'm afraid to move you."
Rufus made a few worried cooing noises in agreement.
"You won't have to," Valkyrie said, appearing out of nowhere. "The police and paramedics are on their way."
"You called them?" Ron asked. "Why? You'll be arrested, too."
"This went too far, Ron," she said in a somber tone. "This all started as a place for fighters to test their skills, but it turned into an ego factory for some." She looked over at Bengal's unconscious form. "Besides, they won't get me. I'll be long gone before the police get here. Unless you want to try and stop me?"
"We'll give you a three month head start," Kim said. "After that...all bets are off." Valkyrie only nodded and walked off.
"No permanent damage, Dr. Possible," Dr. Sylvia Metzger said to Anne Possible. "Kim has bruised ribs, a minor concussion, and the cut over her eye didn't even need stitches. She'll be sore for a while, but she'll be fine."
"Thank God for that," Anne said. Her husband was right beside her with a comforting arm around her shoulders.
Dr. Metzger looked at her watch. "I need to go tell Mr. Stoppable that visiting hours are over and that he needs to leave."
"That's not necesarry," James Possible said. "We don't have any problems with Ronald staying."
"I'm sorry, Doctor, but rules are rules," Dr. Metzger said. "Spouses and family only. And since they're not married yet, he counts as neither."
"Let them be for a little while longer, Sylvia," Anne pleaded. "We'll make sure Ron leaves after Kimmie falls asleep."
Kim had one arm wrapped loosely around the Pandaroo that Ron brought to the hospital with him, and one hand grasping that of her fiancee. Ron had brought both her Pandaroo and her engagement ring, so she felt more comfortable than she would have been otherwise.
"You should get some rest, KP," Ron said.
"I know. I just don't want you to leave me is all."
They both knew that Ron wouldn't be allowed to stay overnight, so he made arrangements to crash at his 'rent's place. He had even called work and let them know what was going on; they were fine with him going in later tomorrow so he could spend time with Kim. "I'll be back in the morning, KP." He leaned forward and gently kissed her on the lips. "Besides, you know you can't get rid of me. You're gonna be stuck with me for at least another sixty or seventy years."
"And that's supposed to be a bad thing how?" The thought of living with Ron for the rest of her life was something Kim had gotten used to very quickly; the moment he slipped the ring on her finger, to be exact. "Promise me you'll be back here when I wake up?"
"Promise. I love you, KP."
"Love you, Ron." Kim finally gave in and nodded off. Ron gently removed his hand from hers, and left the room, where James Possible was waiting for him. "Heading home, Ronald?"
"Going to my parents' house, James," he replied. "Closer to Kim, you know?"
"Good man," James said. Very good man. "We'll see you in the morning."
Anne came up beside James, took his hand, and watched Ron walk away. "Everything all right?"
"It's fine honey," James replied, squeezing her hand. "I think the kids have had their last weekend inspection is all."
"Well it's about time." Anne let out a small chuckle. "I mean, what were you going to do when they decide to have kids?"
James sputtered. "Hon, they're not even married yet! It's too soon to be thinking about that!"
Kim was in the hospital for another few days, just to make sure there was no internal damage. After getting a relatively clean a bill of health, she was allowed to go home. Kim was practically stuck there. The Lipskys came by a few times so Kim could visit with her godson, but they didn't let Kim overdo it with the boy, and missions were strictly off limits until she was back in fighting form. That meant Ron was going solo. Most of the time the only company she had was Rufus. It got lonely real fast.
Ron was on one of those missions when Kim when to bed that particular night. Since Ron wasn't there, she fell asleep cuddling her Pandaroo, but at around midnight she woke up. She was sleeping on her left side since her right side was still tender, and she felt a warm body spooned up behind her; much too large to be Rufus. There was an arm draped over her, below the bruising on her right side, and a large hand was resting against her belly, gently holding her.
Kim smiled as she shifted just enough to put the Pandaroo back on her nightstand. She looked over to her side and saw Ron sleeping peacefully. Kim snuggled back into her fiancee's embrace, closed her eyes, and fell into a blissful sleep.
Bengal looked up to see a woman in a black business suit standing before him. "You don't look like a guard."
"My name is Rebecca Coyle," she said. "My benefactor has requested that I make you a job offer."
Bengal stood up and walked to the bars of his cell. "In case you hadn't noticed, lady, I'm not in much of a position to be worrying about my employment!"
"Calm yourself, Mr. Collins," she said, her stoic expression never changing. "We can take care of any...relocation needs you might have." She gave Bengal a hint of a grin. "We could use a man with your unique talents. Besides, we can offer you something better than money or your freedom."
"A chance to get back at Ron Stoppable."
Bengal's face took on a predatory grin, making him look even more like his animal namesake. "I'm in."
"Well, Mr. O'Shea, it's all official," the real estate agent said to a man with long blond hair and a black business suit. "This warehouse, or what's left of it, is all yours."
"Thank you, Ms. Nguyen," Rick O'Shea said with a devious grin. "This is perfect." As Ms. Nguyen drove off, Rick surveyed his new holdings. It was the same electronics warehouse that Smite had taken up residence in at the beginning of the year. Global Justice had already taken all of the gear the android had stockpiled, but it didn't matter. Rick was going to build his own stronghold here; the fact that the place was still heavily damaged from the Lorwardian invasion was actually a plus. He could rebuild it as he saw fit.
Although his father's finances were being held while he was under investigation, Rick's own trust funds were not. Even though he wasn't twenty one yet, he had still found a way to access a small fortune. That money had bought him this warehouse; his new headquarters. Rick's musing was interrupted by the sound of a cell phone ringing in his coat pocket; the device had a stylized letter 'R' on the fold. "Go," he said when he answered.
"We got him," the voice on the other end said.
"Excellent. Extract him at your earliest convenience." Rick smiled as he closed his phone. It was all falling nicely into place.
Coming soon: Kim Possible in "The One That Got Away."