Let's take care of some legal and convenience matters before you get into the story. I do not own Kim Possible or any of the other characters from the Kim Possible TV series. I don't know who does, only that I don't. This story is not written for profit but merely the enjoyment gained by telling a story.
This story is the fourth in my 'To the Mat' series. As such, if you have not read the previous three (Ron Goes to the Mat, Back to the Mat, Farewell to the Mat) there will be some plot twists that catch you by surprise.
Big thanks to Joe Stoppinghem for taking time to beta for me, even at the expense of his own writing.
Now, please enjoy the story:
Trudy Dementor wasn't used to her father summoning her to his office. While the mad professor was a ruthless, would-be world conqueror, he was a doting father. As such, Trudy was more accustomed to her father asking her to visit him in his office as opposed to demanding her presence. She wondered if her father would heap some sort of punishment upon her for not winning the recent 'marry Senior Senior Junior' contest. While her father hadn't really approved of her entering the contest, once she did, he expected her to win it. Still for as nervous as she was, she was the epitome of calm and collected compared to her personal guard, Hendle.
Hendle was sweating bullets as he strode next to her. The professor had demanded both of them and Hendle hadn't forgotten that he had caused Trudy to be eliminated from the contest when the eventual winner, Camille Leon, played him. While the professor had already assured the man that he held no animosity towards him for his actions, even giving the man a raise, the mad scientist's moods were as inconsistent as ever. As such, Hendle could easily be facing either a round of thanks, simple reassignment, or a gruesome death.
"Relax," Trudy instructed him. "If papa was going to do anything to you, he wouldn't warn you first."
"You never know," the big man muttered. "While the professor was happy with how easily he escaped his latest imprisonment, his inability to relocate the Pan Dimensional Vortex Inducer has given him a worse hair-trigger than usual."
"True," Trudy agreed. "It's a good thing that his stomach problems cleared up about the same time his songbird escaped, otherwise he would be even worse. He really enjoyed that little bird. Maybe Henchco will send him another one with his next order."
"I'm not worried about the bird," Hendle rumbled back. "Your father is a very intelligent man but he can sometimes figure out cutting edge physics issues faster than he can figure out day-to-day sort of things. By now, he's probably realized that if you had won the contest, you could have influenced Senior to free up enough wealth to fund his creating a new inducer. So, in a way, he might blame me for his inability to play with alternate dimensions."
Trudy frowned when she couldn't argue with the man's logic. While she admired her father, she had to admit that his mind worked in erratic ways. She also had to admit that he was notoriously "short tempered" (a term that was never used in his hearing). While he was actually a very good employer, as far as villainous, mad-scientists went, he was both a villain and a mad scientist so his displeasure tended to exhibit itself in unique, noisy and unpleasant ways.
It didn't take long, far too short in Hendle's opinion, to reach the secure door separating the professor's private quarters from the remainder of the lair. The door opened as the two approached; clearly the professor was waiting for them. Trudy led the way into her father's office, hearing a gulp from Hendle as he followed her.
Men's offices tended to reflect their owners' personality. A former military man might fill his office with military paraphernalia while an athlete would probably fill his with his trophies. True to form, Professor Dementor's office looked more like a research laboratory than a place to conduct routine business. While the mad scientist had a desk, it was a utilitarian piece of furniture, tucked into a corner with a few uncomfortable chairs. The remainder of the room, and the comfortable chairs, were devoted to the various workstations and experimental stations where the man spent the majority of his time. Professor Dementor glanced up from his computer and gestured his guests towards the desk.
"Ah, you are here," he exclaimed, settling into his chair behind his desk. "Be seated, both of you."
Trudy took her seat immediately but her guardian looked reluctant to leave his feet.
"Be seated, Hendle," the professor commanded. "If I choose to harm you, standing will not help you!"
For a moment, Hendle looked ready to remain standing. Realizing that he was already in the lion's den, he shrugged his shoulders and lowered his backside to the waiting piece of furniture. Trudy noted that the man kept his legs tense, as if he were ready to spring to his feet at the slightest provocation.
"Very well, now perhaps we can talk," the professor began, giving Hendle a hard look. "I want to talk about when the two of you were tricked out of the contest by Fraulein Leon." The mad scientist frowned for a moment. "Of course she is now Frau Senior. No matter! She was Fraulein Leon at the time so I will refer to her as such. Now, what was I saying?"
"You were asking us about when Leon tricked Hendle into attacking her, papa," Trudy pointed out. Hendle gave the young woman a look that was half anger, half fear.
"Relax, Hendle," Dementor told the man. "I'm not about to punish you for being overprotective of my daughter. Now, I want to ask you about the Fraulein's mass."
"What?" Hendle asked, clearly confused.
"Her weight, you nincompoop!" Dementor shrieked at the cringing man. "When she was disguised Fraulein Minated's guardian, did she weigh as much as a skinny little girl, or as much as a burly bodyguard?"
"She, or he, weighed about what he should have," Hendle answered, after a moment's thought. "I tackled him…her…as hard as I could. I've knocked other henchmen off of their feet by using that move in the gym. If she…he…weighed as much as that skinny little girl, he…she…would have been sent flying. Instead, she…he…"
"Just say 'she' you fool!"
"Okay, she and I tumbled to the ground so yes, she weighed about what the guy she was disguised as should have weighed."
"How about her strength? Was she as strong as her alternate form suggested."
"I can't say for sure," Hendle answered, scratching at his chin. "But she seemed very unskilled when I grappled her. I was expecting to tangle with someone just as tough as me but I got the upper hand much faster than I thought I would. Wait a minute! I can remember her lifting me off of her for a short time so yes, she was stronger when she was in her disguise."
"Very good," Dementor seemed much calmer. "Now, what can you tell me about the Fraulein's temperature? Did she become hotter when she reverted to her true body?"
"I can't really say," Hendle murmured, clearly embarrassed by the memory of suddenly finding himself tangled up with the former heiress. "If she was hotter than normal, it wasn't by very much."
"Now, this is where you can help as well, my dear," Dementor continued. "I want both of you to tell me if you remember an sort of light, or darkness, manifesting when the Fraulein resumed her normal form."
Both Hendle and Trudy shook their heads.
"There was nothing like that, papa," Trudy assured her father. "Why do you ask?"
"I will tell you in a moment," the professor assured his daughter. "Hendle, return to your duties. You will tell nobody about the questions I asked you this day, understood?"
"Completely," the big man assured his employer, all but leaping to his feet and sprinting to the door. Clearly, Hendle was relieved to get away from the professor.
"What was all that about?" Trudy demanded, once her bodyguard was gone. "Do you just enjoy scaring him?"
"Oh, allow me a little fun, my dear little Fraulein," Dementor grinned at his daughter. "But something has been bothering me about Frau Senior for some time and it was only today that I worked out what it was."
"What's so special about that little tart?" Trudy sniffed. "She's foolish and spoiled! If it wasn't for her shapeshifting, she'd be nothing."
"Ah, but there may be much more to her shapeshifting than you might think. Tell me, Trudy, what does the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy tell us about her transforming herself?"
"That law states that the mass/energy combination in any closed system must remain fixed," Trudy shrugged. "But I don't see what that has to do with Leon's form changing."
"Wouldn't you call her own body a closed system?"
"Of course not! She, like everyone else, is constantly inhaling, exhaling, eating, drinking and…well… let's just say that the human body isn't a closed system."
"That's true...over time," her father pointed out. "But at any given moment, a human body has only limited energy/mass transfer with the outside world. Now, what do my questions to Hendle tell you about where I'm going with all of this."
"You ascertained that Leon lost mass, a considerable amount of it," Trudy replied, her keen, analytical mind kicking in.
"So where did this mass go?"
"I don't know," Trudy admitted. "That's why you were asking about temperature and light! The mass couldn't have been transferred to energy, at least not that amount of mass, since the energy output would have been…extreme."
"Very good, continue."
"Okay, there's always the possibility that the mass could have been converted to an undetectable form of energy, but that seems unlikely. Energy output doesn't work on that narrow of a bandwidth. After all, even high-efficiency light sources produce some heat. Much like this, if Leon had converted several kilograms of mass into energy, even an undetectable form, there should have been detectable by-products, like heat and/or light."
"Excellent, continue to postulate!"
"Knowing that Camille Leon…er…Senior…is either converting mass into energy or she's transferring mass between two points brings up additional questions: If she's transferring mass between two points, where is this second point? If she's converting mass into and back from energy, what form of energy is she using?"
"Almost done, finish off the hypothesis while taking the practical considerations into account."
"Very well, papa. I see you as adding a second level of questioning into this mystery: can I harness this process? You want to know if you can make use of the mass transfer, or the energy."
"Almost complete," Dementor grinned with the great pride a techno-villain feels when his daughter grasps potential for mayhem. "And most impressive for just a few minutes of deduction. I'm actually asking several more questions: First, if Leon is transferring mass to and from another location, does she even know where this second point is at? Secondly, if this is the case, can she transfer other objects along with her body mass? Thirdly, can she alter this other point's location and finally, is this second point in this reality?"
"You think she might be piercing dimensional boundaries with her shapeshifting?"
"I cannot discount the possibility," the professor's grin was absolutely predatory. "She may be a biological version of the Pan Dimensional Vortex Inducer. However, this is assuming that she's transferring mass. If she is somehow converting mass into energy, I have other questions: Can this mystery energy form be harnessed in some manner? Can she alter the form of energy, producing large amounts of heat, light, magnetism, electricity, or other forms? Finally, can she choose the energy source to draw from, such as draining a power grid?"
"I did not realize that the Frau had such…potential," Trudy grumbled. "Too bad there are no answers to your questions."
"There aren't at this moment," Dementor admitted, with a broad grin directed her way. "Finding the answers is only a matter of research and observation. That's where you come in."
"I think I sense an assignment coming my way."
"Indeed you do, my daughter. I charge you with bringing Camille Senior to this very lair, so that I can both question her and study her."
"I don't think I'm going to be able to overcome Senior's security measures," Trudy protested.
"I'm not telling you to do this immediately," the professor corrected her, with a dismissive wave of his hand. "Like you said before, she's spoiled and vain. Sooner or later, she'll leave the island to attend a concert, shop, go to a party, or one of the many other 'young, rich adult' things that she has always done. You, Trudy, are pretty enough and at the proper age that you will be able to fit into her…what do you call it…scene. I don't care how you do it, but you will bring the little airhead here. Nobody must know where she is. You, my daughter, will gain your revenge over her by turning her into my very own laboratory rat."
"So, did you and Ron manage to get frisky while you were away?"
"Mon!" Kim gasped, giving the store a quick lookover to make sure nobody had overheard the question.
"Chillax, girlfriend," Monique snickered. "The mall won't open for another hour. The only ones in this store are the two of us and the only one in the hallways is the security guard. He's down at the other end of the mall so you're free to spill. How'd it go?"
While Kim made some pretense of glaring at her best, female friend, she was actually relieved that Monique had brought up the topic. She really wanted to dish about the very frustrating time on Senior's Island but didn't feel close enough to her mother to talk to her. Looking around occasionally, confirming that they were the only people in Club Banana, she told Monique about the mission's last two nights. Monique, of course, collapsed into a fit of helpless laughter.
"So not funny, Mon," Kim protested, hauling an armload of blouses out of the storage room and onto the sales floor.
"Chill, girl. Of course it's funny!" Monique grabbed a load of jeans and matched her friend's pace. "If I would have told you something like that, you'd be giggling like mad."
"Okay, fine, it's kind of funny," Kim admitted. "It had me grinding my teeth in frustration, but it's kind of funny."
"There you go. Now, have the two of you managed to take care of business since you got back?"
"Haven't had the chance," Kim grumbled. "The week we got back, four different investigative committees grilled us about what we knew about Mr. Loward. If we hadn't been on that island, looking for Felix, things could have really been bad."
"I take it some of the bigwigs are looking for blood?"
"THAT'S putting it mildly. Nobody seems to be gunning for me or Ron, thank God, but a lot of them are looking to use us as a club to clobber political rivals."
"They couldn't have taken up all of your time," Monique pointed out. "I'm sure that sitting through the trash talking was frustrating, the kind of frustration that would make the two of you want to work out some tensions."
"Mon! The Fed's put us up in a secure hotel, and guarded us while we were testifying, to make sure that nobody tried to influence our reports. It's kind of hard to sneak across the hall at night when there's a shade-wearing blacksuit standing right outside your door. The closest we came was sparring every morning. When we got back, Ron wanted to spend some time with Felix, since he's feeling lonely for Yori."
"Which freed me up to spend more time with Matt," Monique nodded. "Okay, that took care of your first week back, what about last week?"
"Ron's 'rents insisted that he go with them on the family vacation," Kim grumbled.
"And he didn't invite you?" Monique looked shocked. "That's awfully harsh!"
"Oh, he invited me," Kim informed her friend and, as long as they were on the clock in Club Banana, her boss. "But his 'rents and mine both shot the idea down. Ron's 'rents wanted to have one, last family vacation, with just their family while my 'rents wanted me to spend some time with my uncle and cousin."
"I forgot about that, you have relatives here from Montana. Didn't you say something about him being here to help with some of the Space Center's newest planetary probes?"
"Yeah, he's a robotics expert so he's actually here on the Space Center's budget. Their accountant is actually a little frustrated because he and Joss are staying with us. That makes it kind of hard to itemize expenses."
"Isn't Felix's mother the Space Center's robotics expert?"
"Sort of," Kim answered. "She specializes in very precise, precision robotics and control systems. Slim has a knack for brute power and reliability. The two of them are spending an awful lot of time with their heads together. That's part of the reason my 'rents didn't let me go on vacation with Ron, with Joss hanging with the tweebs, all sorts of trouble could crop up if someone doesn't keep an eye on them."
"That's probably why your guy spent some extra time with Felix," Monique commented. "Wheels is feeling lonely enough without his GF around, now that his mother has so much on her plate, he's feeling even more alone. I hope you can understand that."
"Yeah, I can," Kim nodded. "I remember how jealous I was back when the two of them started hanging together. I was just hoping that Ron and I could put together some serious 'us' time before college."
"You want to find some time to get frisky?" Monique's smirk was predatory.
"I really don't know. I mean, the moments were so perfect at Senior's Island. Making time to go off and…well…just seems so calculating."
"You're looking for it to be a little more spontaneous?"
"Yeah," Kim admitted. "Partly because Ron seemed a little…hesitant…when we took our vacation."
"That's not hard for me to understand," Monique told her friend. The two girls had discussed the 'Team Possible Vacation' before Kim and Ron left for Senior's Island. "Remember back when you had that freaky mood chip on your neck?"
"I haven't been able to forget it."
"Okay, Ron tried to break up with you because he was scared that if the two of you dated and it went south, it would ruin your friendship. I'm willing to bet he's nervous that if he tries to make an intimate move, and it tanks, it will ruin your romance, which will then ruin your friendship."
"But we talked about it," Kim protested.
"Yeah, and after your talk and he had some time to get comfortable with the idea, he was ready to go, wasn't he?"
"Yeah," Kim was surprised that she wasn't blushing over this conversation.
"There you go. The two of you are taking your time, there's nothing wrong with that."
"How about you?" Kim decided to change the subject. "How are you and Matt doing?"
"We're not ready for that step," Monique admitted. "But he's the best boyfriend I've ever had. So far, at least."
The slight frown on Monique's face, as she delivered her last sentence, wasn't lost on Kim.
"I take it there's trouble in your paradise?" The redhead asked.
"I can't say trouble, but we had the 'what do we do with the rest of our lives' talk last night. He's going to college on a football scholarship, which is just fine by me. He isn't taking some 'gimme' degree, designed to keep him on the field, so he won't be studying Whiffleball Theory, or some other junk like that. Anyway, he has dreams of making it in the NFL after college and that's just fine with me as well. It's what he's planning for if the NFL doesn't work out for him, as well as after his football career is over, that has me doubting."
"He wants to take over his folks' farm."
"That's not a bad plan," Kim frowned.
"Kim girl, I might be a lot of things, but a country girl isn't one of them! Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to buy into the stupid stereotypes about rural people but I don't want to be one, y'know? I'm a city girl, I like to be where the action and fashion are at."
"So what's the sitch between you two?" Kim asked. "Are you going to break up with him?"
"No, he's way too good of a guy for that. I'm just going to see where this takes us. He's going for a business degree so even if the pros don't pan out for him, the two of us could work together, y'know? I just don't want to turn into a farm girl."
"I thought his parents owned a ranch."
"Girlfriend, it doesn't make any difference to me! It still means being ten miles from the nearest neighbor and farther than that from the nearest mall!"
"Okay, fine!" Kim raised her hands in mock surrender. "So what else has been happening?"
"I've been dying to hear someone ask me that!" Monique, the former Middleton High Gossip Queen, was all too ready to fill her friend in on the current, young adult scene. "How about I start with Tara and Josh?"
"Sounds good to me."
"Okay, they're still going good and strong but Tara's starting to have a few doubts."
"Kind of like you with Matt?"
"Sort of the exact opposite. Josh is really into his art so he's really into the art scene, you know, the snooty parties where everyone stands around sipping wine and complaining that the government is wasting money? They seem to think that Uncle Sam needs to quit shelling out the cash for silly stuff like bridges and communications satellites and spend it on more worthy causes, like subsidizing artists. Anyway, Josh isn't big on getting subsidized since he has the talent to make it on his own, but he really likes the urban, sophisticated scene. Tara's a lot more basic; she just wants to hang with him and have fun. She'd rather do a picnic out at the lake that rub shoulders with the cultural elite."
"The two of them aren't going to break up, are they?"
"It's nowhere near that point," Monique told her friend. "Josh is a good guy and Tara's a good girl, but the fact is they're comfortable in different settings. They're going to have to deal with that if they want to take it to another level."
"Maybe the two of you should trade boyfriends," Kim snickered. "Tara seems to want to be rural, like Matt while you want to be urban, like Josh."
"That's not funny," Monique retorted, although she chuckled. "Tara and I haven't been with our guys for as long as you've been with Ron, so we're not ready to think about weddings yet. Still, I thing Tara and Matt would look good together and I know I could clean up Josh a little more. Now, about Hope's new boyfriend..."
The two girls continued to prepare the store for the day while Monique filled Kim in on their former classmates' social and/or romantic lives. Kim idly wondered if Monique was more efficient than Wade when it came to digging up information.
"Please remain seated, Miss Minated," Senior Senior Senior instructed his guest. "And thank you for returning to my humble island."
"Of course, Mr. Senior," the young woman replied, remaining seated in Senior's comfortable den and trying not to flinch at how much the old man's voice had weakened since she had left his island. "My father asked me to hear some sort of offer you had given him."
"Indeed, my dear," a servant helped the elderly man into a chair and left, following Senior's waved instructions to leave the room. Elly's bodyguard rose to follow.
"Please remain, young man," Senior instructed him. "I understand that propriety demands that, if I'm willing to dismiss my guardians and servants, your client should follow suit. However, at my age and in my condition, there is very little left for me to lose. Therefore, I ask you to stay and provide your client with your own wisdom."
"Now," Senior continued, as the guard returned to his chair. "Let me be perfectly straightforward, my dear. Those of us who indulge in a bit of villainy tend to keep an eye on each other. Even though your father contents himself with smuggling harmless items, I know a great deal about him. For a long time, I've been very impressed with your ability to manage his enterprise; this is part of the reason I invited you to compete for my son's hand."
"I had hoped that you would win," Senior confessed, his expression growing sour for a moment. "However, Miss Leon proved to be very clever at manipulating her competitors. Unfortunately, she has not proven anywhere near as clever at managing the great wealth I will shortly leave behind. I also must admit that my son, although I love him dearly, is not well suited to managing such wealth. This is where you come in."
"You want me to manage your criminal empire?" Elly interrupted. "Surely you have a staff of professionals to take care of this!"
"Indeed I do," Senior smiled indulgently. "These professionals are intelligent, capable and utterly without the imagination and flair that I used to build this financial and villainous empire. Miss Minated, the flair and style that you have shown on the Baltic, as well as the ability you showed during the competition, are what I want making the decisions when I pass away."
"But your son!" Elly protested. "He will surely protest this arrangement. I do not wish to cause a rift between the two of you!"
"You will not," Senior assured her. "For all of his faults, my son realizes that he has no skill at manipulating and growing wealth. I told him of my intentions before I made my offer to your father. However, we have been only speaking about how my son will benefit from my proposed arrangement, we must discuss what you will gain from taking on this responsibility."
"First of all, you will be safe here," Senior told her. "My security measures can easily repel the thuggish bands that have shown interest in taking control of your father's illicit activities. With your safety assured, your father will be free to sell off his holdings and retire to a comfortable, secret location he has already established."
"Secondly, you will be very comfortable here. I know that you are acclimated to the Baltic's chill but I am sure that you, a beautiful frost rose, will be able to thrive here in the warm, sunny Mediterranean. In addition to my island's climate, you have seen that I have made this island a comfortable mansion, in addition to a safe fortress. As the financial manager, you will be more than a simple employee. You will have access to all facilities outside of the private, family areas."
"Finally, there is the wealth for you to gain," Senior concluded. "You will earn a percentage of the amount you grow my empire. The exact percentage is still negotiable but you will find that I am most generous. My empire is a strange mixture of villainy and legitimacy, a mixture that you have proven to be most capable of managing. This means that you will be able to generate great wealth while establishing your own, private fortune."
"I must ask if this is the sum total of your motivation," Elly's bodyguard interrupted. "My client is, indeed, a brilliant financial manager. However, she is also a very attractive young woman. This isn't some sort of a concealed effort to establish a harem for your son, is it?"
"Indeed not, young man," the elderly villain protested with a harsh tone. "I would say that I am offended by your question but I am impressed with your concern for your client. I want my financial and criminal empire to endure long after I am gone and your client represents by best chance of assuring that this will take place."
"My guard brings up a good point," Elly pointed out. "I did attempt to gain your son's hand in marriage. My presence, with the authority that will come with it, could prove irritating to his wife."
"Let me assure you that my daughter-in-law will learn to adapt," Senior told her, in his cultured voice. For a moment, his polite demeanor took on a calculating, cunning air. "And perhaps a bit of irritation wouldn't be a bad thing. However, Leon is a realist, in her own way. She will understand that you will be generating wealth for her to utilize. She will learn to appreciate your presence."
"What about me?" Elisabeth asked. "Like my guard said, I am a young woman and I enjoy my social life. While your island is very hospitable, it isn't the best place to meet someone. Not only that, but what happens if I do meet someone?"
"First, young lady, let me assure you that you will have ample time off and easy access to most of Europe. Should you meet someone, you will be welcome to bring him here, after he has passed the security checks. If your relationship should thrive, you will find that your quarters are large enough to support a spouse and a family." The elderly man smiled. "Elderly gentlemen tend to like to see the attractive, young women around them happy."
"Very well," Elisabeth Minated nodded. "We will have to hammer out the final details but I agree."
"I will want to meet with your financial advisers within the hour," she continued. "I need to get a grip on your assets and expenditures. Based on this, we will be able to set up an allowance for your son and his wife. My father didn't build his empire by sitting around," she informed her employer, in response to his surprised look. "And I don't intend to, either."
"Miss Minated," Senior declared. "I think we are going to get along just fine."