Boilerplate Disclaimer: Disney owns everything Kim Possible. Any and all trademarks belong to their respective owners.
The Best Enemies series is the largest Kim Possible series on FF.N, in terms of number of stories. I hope this will provides a basic overview for someone put off by the number of BE stories.
NoDrogs created Kasy and Sheki whose origin I altered - as you'll see if you read this.
Explanation of modification - I had a review from someone who claimed s/he had bullied an FF.N administrator into doing whatever s/he demanded. And the individual had two of my stories taken down to prove the point. (I had removed the quotation from the second story before it was taken down. So the administrator was not using his/her brain but only following orders... I thought that excuse went out with Nuremberg.) So I've taken quotes out of several stories where I knew they existed, and discovered and removed them from some other stories. There still might be some. In all quotations I give attribution to the original source.)
Brevity can improve clarity, or create confusion. FF.N has done both with the brevity of its guidelines. Writers are not to post, "Non-stories: lists, bloopers, polls, previews, challenges, author notes, and etc." A clear guideline, but still often ignored. Also forbidden are MA stories. While one can debate where M ends and MA begins there are many clearly MA stories on FF.N. However one guideline, as given by FF.N, is utter nonsense: "Copying from a previously published work (including musical lyrics) not in the public domain." I had reviews from a couple people with low reading comprehension who thought that meant only lyrics were forbidden. No, it means no copyright material of any kind is allowed (at least as the guideline is worded). And that is nonsense. FF.N is wildly in violation of its own guidelines according to that poorly written sentence.
1. Copyright is to be respected. Fine. But you must say WHOSE copyright law is to be used. U.S. copyright is different from Canadian copyright law, and different from Japan's. Every country in the world has its own copyright laws, and they are all different. Japanese copyright law allows copyrighted characters to be used in ways the US doesn't allow (and explains why some dōjinshi can't be imported into the US - they violate US law, even though in conformity to Japanese law). Kurt Weill's Seeräuber-Jenny is public domain in Canada and some other countries, but has several more years of being copyrighted in the US. The US copyright law in effect through 1977 required formal request for copyright renewal or a work became public domain. Tens of thousands of works are public domain in the US which are still copyrighted in other countries.)
2. Copyright is not an absolute "don't quote". Fair usage exists. In fact several kinds of fair usage are written into copyright law. (At least into US copyright law, assuming that is the law FF.N wants writers to follow.) FF.N is in violation its own guideline with 99.9% of the stories posted here. Harry Potter? Copyrighted - and 783 thousands stories on FF.N. Twilight? Copyrighted - 219 thousand stories on FF.N. Teen Titans? Copyrighted - 40 thousand stories, etc. etc. These are all in violation of the terse guideline to post no copyright material.
But fair use rules, included in US copyright law, explain how copyright material can be used, and/or what is not allowed by other writers/speakers. I always follow US academic fair use rules - the consequence of a quarter century of teaching at colleges and universities. Appropriate? Perhaps not. Those are the rules for what professors can do in the classroom. But at least I follow real provisions written into US copyright law. FF.N guidelines give no indication of whose country's laws to use, or recognize fair use exists, and thereby condemn most of FF.N's own content. US also has review fair use rules, which wouldn't apply any more than academic fair use. (Publishers love favorable reviews, but US law allows quotation of a defined amount of copyright material to prevent any publisher from stopping an unfavorable review with a claim of copyright violation.) Parody fair use is not as well defined in US law. Fanfiction fair use relates to parody fair use. Some companies threaten to sue for parody - FF.N guidelines say don't use those copyrighted characters in fanfiction on the site (found at the bottom of the guidelines). Other fanfiction sites say they want to go to court to establish the legal fair use rules. The publishers who object to parody don't seem to be bringing suit to quash fanfiction (they know they would lose in court). Fanfiction fair use exists, even if poorly defined in US copyright law. Quotation, with appropriate citation, represents another form of fair use in US law (although the length of the citation can be defined – as is the case with review fair usage).
Quick review: Copyright laws are intended to protect the intellectual property and economic interest of the creator and/or copyright holder. Economic interest: does cited us of copyright material harm profits for the copyright holder? A negative review may harm profits - but quotation is still protected in US law. Properly cited use of lyrics differs. Composers, lyricists, performers, or recording studios profit from sale of copies of the music. Their interest is in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 which deals with electronic copying of music, games, videos, movies, and television programs. Lyrics are copyright under the new copyright law of 1976 (went into effect 1978). The music industry actively works against websites which pirate music - it cuts into profits. File sharing companies lose lawsuits and are taken out of business, YouTube removes videos, private individuals have been sued – and lost. The music industry works hard to stop pirate electronic copying of work because it means a loss of revenue. It doesn't make any effort to remove sites with properly credited lyrics. Use Google to search for the lyrics of a song. Thousands of hits. The music industry treats quoting lyrics as publicity/advertising. Commuters want music for the drive, not to read the words of John Prine's Illegal Smile on their cell phone as they drive down the highway at 75 mph.
Which is not to claim the music industry has no interest in protecting copyrighted lyrics. If you collect all of Dylan's lyrics from the internet and try to publish them in a book (along with crayon drawing by your adorable four-year-old) you will be sued for trying to harm Dylan financial interests. (Economic protection.) And creators don't want anyone plagiarizing their lyrics – copying them with someone else making a claim of authorship. (Intellectual protection – theft of ideas is theft whether there is financial impact or not.)
3. FF.N does not address the real issue, plagiarism. In fact, the FF.N guideline says it is okay to plagiarize public domain works. Want to claim you wrote Tarzan of the Apes, Hound of the Baskervilles, or the Wizard of Oz? Go ahead and post them under your name on FF.N, the guideline says it is allowed since they are public domain. It doesn't matter if a work is public domain or not in terms of whether plagiarism exists. If a student hands me a paper copied from a source as his/her work and argues, "It's okay to copy it and claim it's mine, it is public domain," it receives a zero. Plagiarism is wrong, period. And that is the problem with most so-called song-fics. The writer simply copies lyrics as his/her own work.
If FF.N really cares about copyright they 1: Need to say what copyright law they want writers to observe. Then, 2: They need to write a guideline that explains fair usage – or take down the site because 99.9% of the stories here are copyrighted material. And US fair use law not only accepts use of copyright characters in fanfiction, but also includes reasonable quotation of copyrighted material. (Reasonable includes accurate citation.) Is the real issue copyright law or plagiarism? Plagiarism needs to be addressed - Copying any material from another writer (including lyrics and even works in public domain) and presenting it as your own work is plagiarism, theft of intellectual property. Any quotation requires attribution.
I also think FF.N needs to join other social media sites with a more proactive approach to cyber-bullying. I've seen a few trolls removed from FF.N who delivered obscene rants at inexperienced writers. I thought the cyber-bullying would only apply to the bullying of writers, but if an FF.N administrator/moderator removes a story because s/he has been told to do so - without even reading the story to see if it contains lyrics (with proper attribution or not) when the lyrics have been removed - the problem is more acute than I imagined.
[Lyrics to stanza one of The Year of the Cat by Al Stewart & Peter Wood. originally appeared here]
The Persistence of Memory
Shego's head hurt, badly. When she finally opened her eyes her presence in a hospital room did not seem surprising to her, although she could not remember what she might have done to end up here. The red-haired doctor seemed vaguely familiar and Shego tried to think of who she might be. Thinking hurt. Everything in her head hurt, but the green woman fought the pain and tried to think of why the woman looked familiar. She finally focused on the woman's name tag, and was startled to read, "Anne Possible."
"Sharon! I'm so glad you're awake!"
"Sharon? How does she know my name is Sharon?"
"You really need to leave the hero work to Kim," Anne laughed. "Although at the moment you're very popular."
"Has she lost her mind? Are they trying to mess with my head? What did they give me? I feel terrible."
"That was quite a concussion. I don't want you going back to the office for at least a week, even if everything is fine. But I need to make sure everything is fine. Up for some tests?"
"Office? What office?" "Uh, sure."
Shego didn't remember the date. Given the fact she had been unconscious for almost two days it wasn't surprising. Vision, reasoning, and numerical analysis appeared fine. When Anne questioned her about most recent memories the green woman begged for a break - her head hurt too much to concentrate.
Shego's last memories were of stealing a giant laser for Drakken in order to bore a hole in the earth's crust in Wisconsin, but she didn't think Anne Possible wanted to hear that.
Anne smiled. "Okay, but we do need to finish checking you over. I guess the rest can wait until later. There are some special people who want to see you."
Shego tensed as Anne walked over, opened the door, and called down the hall, "Girls, she's awake."
There were squeals of delight and the sound of little feet flying down the hall. Two small girls, perhaps age five or six, burst into the room. "Eemah!" "Eemah we love you."
Shego stared at the odd little children. Their skin color seemed vaguely like her own. One had red hair and one dark green. Who were these girls?
"Can we kiss her, grandma Anne, can we kiss her?" the redhead demanded.
"Is she going to be all right?" the dark-haired girl wanted to know.
"Sharon, are you up for a little company in bed?" Ann asked as she picked the red-head up over the railing on the hospital bed.
Before Shego could say, "Keep the creepy midget away from me," the girl had snuggled up beside her and started kissing her.
Shego tensed again as someone who looked like a slightly older version of Kim walked into the room. The woman seemed happy to see her, "Is she okay, Mom?"
"The first tests went well. Her ability to heal is amazing, but she's still in a lot of pain-"
"Kasy, don't hurt Eemah!" Kim warned
"- so we won't be able to finish tests until tomorrow."
"Can we stay a little while?" Kim asked.
"Better not. I'm breaking rules now to let all three of you in here."
"Okay, girls, we need to go," Kim announced, picking up Kasy.
"No fair! I didn't get to kiss her," Sheki protested.
Kim laughed and picked the second girl up and let her kiss Shego. Kisses from the odd little kids seemed somehow acceptable, but after Kim set the dark-haired girl back on the floor she announced, "Mommy's turn," and leaned over.
Shego's eyes went wide with terror and she tried to slide away, but there was no room and moving hurt. Kim kissed her! "Can't wait 'til you get home," Kim whispered, "you're going to get a reward you'll never forget."
"I have to get out of here," Shego thought. "These people are crazy!"
"Scoot," Anne told her daughter and grandchildren. When they were gone she turned to Shego, "Rest is probably the best thing for you. You shouldn't even think about going home. Is there anything you need?"
"I, uh, think I'm fine Dr. Possible."
"Dr. Possible?" The redhaired woman stared at her, "Are you sure you're okay, you haven't called me Dr. Possible in years."
"My head really hurts."
"Understandable. Let me get you something for the pain." Kim's mother went to a small table with various medicine bottles and returned with a large pill and a glass of water. "This will help with the pain. It should help you sleep too. Use the call button if you need anything."
Shego palmed the pill and pretended to take it with the water. She was not going to take any drugs from this woman. She smiled and lied, "Thanks."
"You're welcome. I'm going to go call Susan and tell her you're awake."
"Your mother. She's staying at the house and helping Kim with the twins."
"She knows my mother? What in the hell is going on? What house? What twins?"
Shego tried to figure out a plan of action. The first thing she needed were some clothes, since she did not want to run around in a hospital gown. Options appeared to be to knock out a nurse and steal clothing or hope against hope they had left her black and green cat suit in the hospital room. She pressed the call button and waited.
The nurse was a man, and tall, but she could roll up the pant legs. "Can I help you?"
"My things. I was wondering if they left my clothes."
He opened a cabinet door. "Everything's in here. Did you need something from your purse?
"A purse? I don't carry a purse!" "Yes, thanks." "Maybe there's money in it."
He brought her the handbag and left, "Call me if there's anything else."
She dumped out the contents of the bag and started rifling through them. There was a little more than a hundred dollars in cash. She grabbed that to put in her leg pouch, then remembered that the hospital gown didn't have a leg pouch to complement the fact it didn't have a back. She put the money down on her right and looked through the other items. The makeup she put down on her left hand side as useless to her. The driver's license bore her real name, 'Sharon O'Ceallaigh'. The photo was awful; it aged her. The whole thing made no sense. She would never have applied for a driver's license using her real name; she would have used an alias. Two credit cards carried her real name as well. The police had obviously captured her, but why were they trying to make her think she had lost her mind? Why didn't they just put her in prison? Were they hoping to get information on one of Drakken's plans from her? This whole set up was too elaborate to make sense. It hurt her head even more to try and think about it.
Something sleek caught her attention. She thought it might be a makeup case of some sort, but it opened up into a fancier cell phone than she could remember seeing. It even had a background picture - the two small girls who had visited her in the hospital. She wasn't sure how to use the features on the phone, but played with buttons until she accessed the contacts list. "Who are these people?" she wondered at the list of names she didn't recognize - and even odder were some of the names she recognized: Alice - home and office, Anne and James - wasn't Kim's mom named Anne?, Bon, Courthouse… courthouse?, Global Justice - Why in the hell would she have the Global Justice number on her phone?, Justine and Felix, Kim - home and GJ, Monique, Rabbi Ruth, there was even the number for some school. She recognized a single name that might do her any good - Drakken. Of course he couldn't risk coming down to the hospital to break her out - besides the idiot might get a swelled head if he managed the feat. She'd slip past the guards outside her door and call him after her escape.
Shego got out of bed slowly. Standing hurt, and she held on to the bed for a minute until the dizzy spell passed. She staggered to the door to see how many guards they had watching her. Unbelievably the answer appeared to be none. They must think she was going to die.
"Hey, you shouldn't be out of bed," a nurse called.
The woman came over and helped her to the bathroom. The busybody nurse insisted on waiting until Shego finished in the bathroom and helped the green woman back into bed.
"Did Dr. Possible give you your medication?"
"Yes, she did."
"Good, you'll probably be drifting off here in a minute - can I get you anything?"
"I'm fine. Please, pull the door almost shut. I don't want noise from the hall disturbing me."
Shego waited just a minute after the nurse left before getting out of bed and starting to get dressed. The clothes were green and black, nicely tailored, and fit her perfectly, but she didn't own any clothes like these. Shego continued to wonder who was playing with her head, and why.
Standing and moving hurt, but also helped her regain some motor skills. Still, she knew she couldn't make it out through the window or over the ceiling panels. Standing by the door she peered out through the narrow opening. She could glimpse just enough of the nurses' station to watch for a moment when the nurses were all making rounds. She then walked out, found the nearest exit, and went down the stairs to the ground floor and left the building. She congratulated herself on a job well done.
Shego planned to get a mile or two from the hospital before making her call, but found herself exhausted after only a couple blocks. She ducked into a small Asian grocery and got out the phone. Before she could call, a woman left her place by the cash register and came over to her, "You lady in newspaper?"
"Must have seen a wanted picture." "No, I haven't been in the newspaper."
"You look like lady in newspaper. She big hero."
"I'm flattered you think so. But it wasn't me."
The woman moved back to help a customer, and Shego wondered if she had tried to take another woman's identity - but it seemed utterly impossible that there could be another Sharon O'Ceallaigh.
It took Shego a minute to find the contact list again and call Drakken.
"Lipsky and Load," a woman answered.
"Lipsky and Load?" Shego hesitated. "I was looking for Drakken."
"Who shall I say is calling?"
"Tell him…" She couldn't say Shego, she didn't know who this woman was. The green woman remembered an aunt Drakken had once told her about and gave that name.
A minute later Drakken came on the line, "Hello?"
"Drakken, it's me," she gasped.
"Not your aunt, you idiot. It's me, Shego. They captured me and-"
"You didn't even notice I was gone?"
"Look, I escaped, but I feel rotten. Bring a hovercraft and-"
"I'm not using the hovercraft anymore."
"No, not up to FAA code yet."
Shego snorted, "Yeah, right. Like you care. What's the real problem? You can't get 'em to work without me?"
There was a real note of concern in his voice, "You don't sound right. Are you okay?"
"No, I'm not. They gave me some sorts of drugs. They-"
"You were in a lot of pain. They-"
"They're trying to make me think I'm crazy. You've got to come get me."
Drakken put two and two together quickly, and while the answer he came up with was five he realized something was wrong. "I'm on my way. Where are you?"
She looked out the window and told him the name of the intersection.
"I'll be there as fast as I can," he promised.
Drakken used the driving time to think. Shego suffered from sort of delusion, probably brought on by the accident. He knew he should call the hospital, but if she really imagined police were after her she might panic and injure someone - very likely herself. He would try to calm her down.
Shego began to panic as she watched the traffic through the store window. Whatever they'd given her had screwed up her brain, she saw cars that she felt certain didn't exist driving past.
Drakken double-parked and Shego went out as quickly as her headache allowed. She had never felt as happy to see him as she felt at that moment. He was the first thing which had gone right since she woke up.
He helped her into the car, leaned the seat back and told her to rest.
She rambled about her fears as he drove out to the former lair. That scared Drakken. Shego never admitted fears, at least not to him. He needed to calm her down and decided to simply agree with whatever she said, no matter how odd it sounded. It appeared to be some sort of amnesia, but how deep wasn't clear. Wondering if her escape had made the news Shego turned on the radio before Drakken could stop her. "-appellate judge for the seventh circuit. She is President Obama's second nominee to the Supreme Court after-"
Shego turned off the radio. "President Obama?"
"What about him?"
"Did someone assassinate Bush and Cheney?"
"Impeached for incompetence?'
"You got any good news for me?"
"Uh, we're almost there," Drakken told her, glad for the chance to switch topics.
Shego stared at the sign, 'Lipsky and Load,' in front of the building. "What in the hell is going on with the lair?"
"Hiding in plain sight. A new strategy, make people think I've gone legitimate."
She held his arm going in. Several people she didn't recognize greeted her, some calling her Sharon and others Shego.
Two young men, apparently twins, seemed startled to see her, "What are you doing out of the hospital?" one demanded.
"She escaped," Drakken told Tim. "She needs to rest before we take over the world." He turned to Shego, "It's getting hard to find good henchmen."
"I'm calling Mom," Jim said when Drakken and Shego were out of hearing range.
"No way, something's wrong. We need to talk with Doc first."
Shego's room was one of the bits of the old lair more or less intact, although Drakken would not be able to keep Zita from having the walls torn out and remodeling it into office space much longer. The green woman had very little left there, but the bed with its green and black sheets was familiar to her. She laid down and smiled at him.
"Anything I can do for you?" he asked.
"Promise you won't let them get me?"
"Who do you mean?"
"Whoever did this to me, whoever screwed up my head…"
"I promise," he told her. Shego closed her eyes, feeling safe for the first time that day.
Jim and Tim waited outside the door to Shego's room for the blue man to emerge. "Spill it," Jim demanded when Drakken came out.
"What's going on with Shego?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, I haven't seen her."
"She just came in with you."
"No she didn't," Drakken said firmly. "She's not here. And now you will excuse me, I need to go call your mother and ask what I would need to do about her, if she were here - which she isn't."
Jim, uncertain if he should believe Drakken, pulled out his cell phone and speed-dialed his Mom, "Here," he told his boss, handing him the phone.
"Hello, Jim? Can't talk now, Sharon is-"
"Actually, it's me, Drew. Jim lent me his phone."
"Sharon's missing! We need to-"
"I wish I could help. She might have called me, but, of course, she wouldn't want me to contact the people she thinks are hurting her."
"You've seen her? Is she all right?"
"I didn't say I'd seen her. I said it would make sense for her to call me. But she wouldn't want me to call you or anyone else if she had called me."
"How did she seem when you didn't see her?"
"Last time I didn't see her she appeared to be suffering from some sort of memory loss-"
"Transient global amnesia most likely."
"What should I do, if I see her that is?"
"You should bring her back to the hospital."
"Given the state she was in, er, might be in - if she called, I don't think that's a good idea. She thinks the hospital is trying to play with her brain, er, she might imagine that-"
"Get her to lay down and rest, um, if you see her."
"Check… Anything else?"
Anne sighed, "Well, the good news is that retrograde amnesia after a trauma like she suffered is usually very brief. The majority of people who experience it have their memories return in a day or two. There is a good chance she'll wake up tomorrow remembering everything."
"If she doesn't?"
"It is almost never permanent. A few days, a couple weeks, and she should be back to normal."
"Almost never permanent?"
"I'd being lying if I simply said never, but it is rare. She has a hundred times better chance of having her memories back when she wakes up tomorrow morning."
"So, just letting her sleep would be the best thing to do - if she came here?"
"Absolutely… Can I call Kim and the girls and tell them Sharon is not with you?"
"She doesn't want anyone to-"
"They're very worried."
"Fine," he sighed, "call them and tell them Shego is not here. But they shouldn't come out here - and I mean that."